Monday, September 17, 2007

Balancing Act

I took this picture of this little guy this evening as he (she?) joined me in my afternoon
chore of gathering in the clothes from the line.

Oh, I'm just tired tonight. I knew it would hit me sooner or later. Don't you find that you really need to adjust to new schedules? Especially fall schedules? Everything starts at the same time and then, wow!, you're just going again.

I am not a big fan of going and my schedule is nothing compared to some - and for good cause! But I do like the new fall season - the new faces, the new activities, the new friends. So, now I am needing to re-look - again - at finding a balance.

When you have children, you are always juggling and rearranging things and ways of doing and being. Just when you think you've got a regular nap routine down, all of a sudden naps are not needed anymore. Or just when you've got a good rhythm and routine down for bedtime, suddenly the bath and the stories just aren't cutting it. Or dinner was always at 6:00, but now tummies are growling at 4:00. Or the favorite meal has become passe and a new menu is needed - somehow, some way.

As it is with children, I think it is with adults too, but it just may be more subtle. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's blatant: a new job, a move. But sometimes, as it seems to be in my case, it's the change of seasons and schedules and I'm needing to look at - to reevaluate - and figure out what needs to go.

It wasn't that long ago when I didn't recognize this. I just kept adding and adding things in and pushing myself until I could go no more. I know plenty of folks who do this. But one anxiety attack (2 years ago now) is enough for me, thank you very much, and I simply be a fool not to learn from my mistakes.

Most of the time my biggest problem is me. Do you have high standards for yourself? I think so many of us do. I was listening to The Big Boo Cast yesterday and I just had to laugh (which I do, repeatedly while listening to that one! It is funny, y'all. So funny, it makes me want to talk with a southern accent which I do not have) when Boo Mama said, when asked if she had things she wishes she could have done or would still like to do with her life, "You know, I've never really been an ambitious person." Oh, I do WISH I could have that attitude sometimes!

Often times I wish I was not as serious as I am. I wish I could just relax a bit more... relax without feeling guilty. I wish I could just drive to the grocery store and not think something like, "I really should have ridden my bike," or feel bad when I want to - and then buy - that wonderful papaya from Mexico, but feel bad, because I think about all the petroleum that was used to ship that little piece of fruit here. Oh, you all do NOT want to go shopping with me.

But here's the thing. I tried so hard to buy locally this summer, but I just don't think I have it in me to keep it up during this school year. I think about it and then I say to myself that I just do not have the energy or time to drive to the various farmers markets and I am sorry, but Barbara Kingsolver was not trying to homeschool her family at the same time as she was writing her latest and greatest book.

So, I'm letting it go for now and perhaps will be able to pick it up again in another season of my life. I know that we still do a lot of things for the environment. Way more than some folks do. I just have to remind myself that its okay that I don't do everything perfectly.

Certainly, I'm better than I used to be. I used to have to leave my house to relax. When my children were really small and I had the house to prove it, I had to actually leave my house and go hang out with my friend so that I wouldn't be bothered by the dishes and the various undone things. I would go to her house and she would answer the door in her pajamas - and it might be 2:00 in the afternoon! Now, she didn't always live in her pajamas, but sometimes she would just have a pajama day. This is something I don't think I have ever done. Maybe when I was sick. Maybe. I don't really think so, though. She is the only person I know who, when all of us moms in the early childhood class would talk about limiting or not having any television and the evils of television, who boldly said, "I have 7 t.v.'s! They're all over my house!" Oh, I love this woman!

I just wish I could have maybe an eighth of her cavalier attitude. Friends of ours - and even we - would laugh at such an odd couple of friends we made, but I need people like her and Boo Mama and Big Mama in my life. I need them for balance and to teach me to cut certain things. To give myself a bit of a break - if only for a season.

So, I'm working at getting at balance before it gets too thrown off. I have learned more about my own boundaries and limits in the last few years and I hope to continue to understand these things about me.


Kelli said...

I'm trying to find the a good balance too. My goal is to manage my time better and cut out things that aren't necessary. We started our new schoolbooks today so there were lots of new and unfamiliar things. This is a fun time of year but it does take some getting used to!


Tara said...

I need to bookmark this and come back to it over and over. Balance! Something this mama needs to remember. I'm the same about shopping. For me, it's the everloving debate of ethics vs. frugality. Thanks for another great post!

Andrea said...

That is a great post. I think you might have been reading my mind last night, for I was thinking the exact same thing! What do I *cut out*!!? All the things I do are "good" things, what do I cute out? You've given me much for thought.

Laurie said...

Good post. Even more things we have in common. ;) I do make a big effort to say no to things at this point in my life. I am currently debating joining a Bible study on Weds mornings. They have childcare so my kids will get their "socialization" in (loved that post too!) but I wonder how much is too much for them even more so than how much is too much for me.

I'm just amazed at our schooled friends schedules these days!! I know I don't have the energy for all the activities - how in the world can the kids have it? And how much integral family together time are they missing? As homeschoolers, we get a LOT of family time but with the baby and 2yr old, I have to remember to take it slow in this season of our lives. There will be time for more activity as they get older. But yes, it's always there in my mind - are we over or under scheduling? Many times I like to start new classes in January when things come to a crashing halt in our schedule as opposed to super-busy Autumn/early Winter.

Jessica C said...

Love the photo and I can't wait to listen to that podcast. I LOVE new podcasts :)))))))

Aimee said...

Right there with you! Learning lately that saving the environment isn't all up to me! :) I have had to forgo my cloth napkins as of late...too much laundry...too much stress...back to paper for awhile! I just have to realize that there is rules! Just do what I can when I can with what I have.
Great post!

bluemountainmama said...

loved this! i think we moms sometimes think we have to be super-mom.....and maybe this is somehow society related.

it can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you are trying to live a somewhat 'conscientous' life on top of it all. i'm glad you have your friends,as you said 'to balance you out', we all need those.....

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