The older I get, the more I realize that life truly is a balancing act. We are always balancing work life with home life, healthy eating with “cheat days,” or hours at the gym with “couch potato status.” Now that I’m a mom, I’m also juggling kid time with chore time, mommy/daddy time with sleep, and my list goes on. However, despite this circus act, I have resolved to make a change in my life. And even if it doesn’t end up being a physical change, I have resolved to make an attitude change, but more on that later.
#Chase2015: Finding Balance
First off, if you have been reading our blog for the last couple months, you will have seen my posts about completing the Whole30 challenge and the diet changes we made in the months following it. Here we are in September, and for the most part we still eat a diet that avoids grains, legumes, dairy, and sugar. We love the way we look, and feel, but when it comes down to it, eating this way is just plain pricey. If you’re like us, and most other young adults these days, student loans are in repayment and money is tight. Throw a couple kids in there and a mommy who stays home, and pennies get squeezed a little tighter. So we have found a balance for our diet; if we have dairy or grains, we try to stick to one serving in a day. That not only helps stretch our budget, but it also keeps those grains in moderation for us. Sugar is limited to when we go out or the weekends when we get a craving for something sweet. Peanut butter is one thing we have made a firm decision on though: it is definitely a staple in our house. And we love it.
Secondly, I have been trying harder to really be present with my kids lately. By that I mean, putting down the phone and staying off the phone/iPad/computer unless absolutely necessary or its nap time, being selective with what chores really need to be done while kids are awake, scaling back my DIY hobbies, and making simpler dinners that don’t take one-two hours to prepare. One day I realized that I wasn’t truly giving my kids the attention they need and deserve, instead I was saying “hang on a minute” way too often as I searched Pinterest for another recipe or toddler activity, or checked another status on Facebook.
Writing all this makes me feel like such a horrid mommy, but if you are a mommy then you know exactly how it goes. When you spend all day and every day with little ones who can’t communicate at your level, it’s all too easy to get enveloped in worlds (aka internet or texts) that actually do. I thought about what my kids would remember me as when they were older and realized that if I was honest, it would be a mommy who was always distracted with other things.
I don’t want to be that mommy. I want to be involved and interested in my kids’ lives! I want to be remembered as a mommy who took time to look at the bug that was on the windowsill instead of saying “uh-huh, that’s cool honey” with my nose buried in my phone. So my first step to being the “new” mommy I desire, was to take Facebook off as one of the tabs in my browser. This way, when I open my browser, I’m not immediately sucked into reading about a friend’s adventure that leads me to a distant cousin’s wife’s brother’s fiance’s bridal shower pictures (know what I mean?).
The third area is balancing my personal time; what do I do when it’s just me? I don’t get a lot of time to myself but there are moments for sure. I’m aiming to include a small work out into my days a couple times a week, and my husband usually wants to join so that doubles as “hubby” time too. I also have joined a MOPS group which so far has been wonderful for my overall well-being. It’s quite amazing what some adult time can do for a mommy’s brain. I have been more focused on getting chores done in a timely manner so that I do have bigger chunks of time that I can choose to do what I want with. I am a big crafter/sewer and so that is usually what I spend my time doing. However, lately I have been striving to reduce stress in my life. And sadly, a lot of my unfinished craft projects cause me stress because I’m trying to “schedule” them into my personal time to get them done. I have been learning to say “no” a lot more and have been reaping the benefits of not feeling rushed or stressed all the time.
Overall, I have been striving to change my attitude towards all aspects in my life. If a day doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay; life will go on, and I can try again the next day. My house is a mess? It’s alright; we LIVE here. Baby didn’t sleep well last night so now mommy is tired and toddler is asking for milk….again….and again…and again….? I choose joy. I am choosing to smile and to live a life full of joy and involvement and free from “mommy guilt.” “Mommy guilt,” if you didn’t know, is this ugly thing that makes you feel bad that you didn’t give your child the perfect lunch, or have the house sparkling clean when daddy comes home and you’re been chasing 2 -year-olds all day. It is also a nasty weed that will grow and grow if you don’t catch it before long and deal with it. Avoid it like the plague.
I want to live a life of purpose, one that is filled with things I chose to do, instead of things I ended up doing because I wasn’t paying attention. What about you? What things have you found a balance for/need to balance in your life? Let’s make the rest of 2015 a great one, and learn to balance our lives. No one is perfect, so lets stop expecting perfection from ourselves and live with joy.