Thursday, February 24, 2011

Words on Balance :)

Because we all wish we had it, and none of us will ever achieve it to perfection.

I am absolutely wiped after a day of maintaining. It was a morning of furious cleaning for the water heater guy (or water softener guy or whatever guy - I'm not quite sure what he is); but he's also known as "the guy who never showed up." And every mother knows that once the house is clean, it is a constant battle to keep it clean. Since I also happen to be juggling the beginning stages of potty training and a baby who loves her mama so much that she cannot bear the thought of being separated from me for one minute (okay, so that's kind of cute) I was slightly frazzled that this dude was coming over in the first place.

But I did it. I juggled with gusto. Then when Eric walked through the door and said, "Oh, it's possible that he may have said he's coming tomorrow afternoon...I could have misheard him," my delicate house of cards which I had been fostering and protecting all day long finally toppled over. Now as I look around my home, I see that hurricane Evie has once again blown through leaving absolute devastation in her wake. *Sigh* So we get to start all over again tomorrow...which is actually today for all of you. :)

I know I am not the only wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend who struggles with keeping it all together. But I honestly think that most of this problem usually lies in the fact that we're all pretty sure that someone out there does have it all together and if we could just tap into whatever magic elixer they're drinking we'd be golden. And while we all know somewhere deep down that the perfect person hasn't existed before or since Christ himself graced this world with his presence, we still trick ourselves from time to time by thinking things like, "Well, that woman definitely has it more together than me!"

It's in the mom you see walking through the mall with her stylish haircut and perfectly pressed clothes, clutching her crocodile handbag while her two smartly dressed children tag along behind her licking ice cream cones and skipping merrily along. Surely she knows what she's doing?

And it's in the friend who always has a story of the great adventures she's had with girlfriends over the weekend and is busy planning vacations and shopping at Pottery Barn and who sickeningly seems to be on-trend all.of.the.time. What in the world is her secret?

The truth is, I can almost guarantee that the perfectly poised mall walking mama has a house full of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes waiting for her at home. And that friend? Ask her family if she's really "present" all of the time. I bet she's not. Wanna know how I know that?

Because in order to have every single area of your life balanced in perfect harmony at one time, you would literally have to be super-human. Something always has to give.

I'm no math wiz, but I'm fairly certain that 100% of something equals one whole something. There is no possible way for you to be more than 100% of you. That's it. That's all you have to work with.

So we go throughout our days "divvying" ourselves up among all of our responsibilities and our relationships, and moms especially have a lot of divvying up to do. We may give 30% to our kids and 30% to our spouses. We spend 20% of our time keeping our house in order and take 10% of our time and give it to our friends. So let's see...that leaves 10% just for having time to ourselves. Alright, that doesn't seem so bad.

But wait. Some moms work outside of the home...for seriously like half of the day. There's 50% right off the top! Leaving only half of "yourself" to give to your kids, your husband, your friends, yourself, and any other family members who like to see you now and again. Oh yeah, and the housework. Oh yeah, and the errands. And the bill paying. And the play dates....

Many of us spend time volunteering and doing church activities, room parenting at school, organizing events, planning parties, dealing with neighbors, long daily commuting...the list goes on and on, and every single thing that demands one second of your time throughout the day takes one more sliver from your pie chart; one more percentage of you. It's maddening when you really break it down.

So what happens when your kid gets sick and demands MUCH more than that 30% of your time that you ordinarily allot for them? What if they take 70% of your time that day? (Holy cow! And we all know it happens.) Well, gee, that sure doesn't leave a lot of time for everything else. Ding ding ding! Something is going to have to give that day.

I think you get the picture. :) So what's the answer?

Well I can assure you that the answer to being a great mom does NOT mean giving 70% to your kids every single day. The answer to being a great wife does NOT mean giving 70% of your time to your husband at all times. The same could be said of your friends or your job or of running your home. Sure, your children may demand the majority of "you" for a day or two, but eventually the scales are going to have to tip the other way. Neglect your husband for too long and there's going to be some major issues with your relationship. Totally cut out your friends, and you'll have none.

So I'm gonna go with this: I think the answer for me is to spread the love around a little. Know what I mean? One day Eric will be my main focus, because we definitely need date nights now and then. I'll do my hair and say things like, "Oh this little thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look." Name that movie! And there will be plenty of days where I carve out time for my girls to do something super special, where my main focus will not be distracted by housework, but will be only on them. And once in a great while, I'll even make myself the focus. I'll fill up each area's tank so we can keep chugging happily along.

And above everything else, I will realize that I cannot have it all, all at once. That's how I know that mall mom must have neglected her morning chores to spend so much time in front of the mirror to look so gosh darn cute. Well, either that or she's changing her cape in telephone booths...which would be pretty stinkin awesome, but highly unlikely. :)

Just knowing that the pressure is off, that's it's impossible for anyone to "have it all together," makes a huge difference. So whatever you're facing today, realize that you cannot do more than you can physically do. You are human. You are 100% of you and nothing more.

And now, as I step down from this soap box, I'm going to take a huge breath, close this laptop, and recharge for another day. Another day of maintaining. Another day of struggling for balance that will never see perfection. And I'm going to do it with a style and flair all my own. And lots of baby carrying. And pee puddles.

Okay. Over and out.


Anonymous said...

I am already amazed at what you, Eric, Amy, Terrel, Denny and April do with your times. Each of you do an amazing job managing yourselves. Just remember to keep GOD #1 and the rest will work itself out.

Grandpa Greg

Cassie said...

It's hard!! It's hard as heck!! Especially with working. But some way, some how we manage to make it all work out. Trust me, there are PLENTY of days I go without cleaning my house (ok, sometimes weeks, whoops) but when the weather is PERFECT and taking a walk with my bambino is WAY more important than swiffering the floors. Just remember everyone has a story. And that picture perfect Mom walking through the mall could be SCREAMING for her husband to pay attention to her, or in debt so far she can't see the light of day. NEVER EVER wish you were someone else. You will never truly be happy until you are happy with yourself. Dirty floors, crunchy hair full of baby yak, mismatched clothes and all!!
Keep up the good work Momma!! You have no idea what kind of inspiration you are to other Moms!

Babysteps23 said...

I really liked this post. The more I talk to other wives/moms the more I realize how true this really is. I have been really taken back when the women I have always thought "had it all together" tell me about their struggles in certain areas of their lives. It is definitely a balancing act that requires a lot of patience and flexibility.

Sarah said...

Adrien, I love you :)


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