In Search of Life Balance

I have to confess that I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed for the past few weeks. Or maybe months. The feeling comes and goes, but striking the right work/life balance has been tough, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. If you’re not familiar with my story, I’m a SAHM who has the working bug in her soul. I want nothing more than to be with my kids on a daily basis — to watch them grow, document their journeys, listen to their needs, and help them blossom. But I also love the work I do and I’m compelled to show up every night to spread the joys and importance of arts education long after my kids are in bed. I’m quite certain that many of you are in the same boat as me, which is why I’m sharing all of this with you. I saw my own mom struggle with this tension between parenting and working that was so prevalent in the 1980’s, as highly successful working women were equally compelled to succeed at domestic duties. She had her own business (based at home, of course), which enabled her to always make time to show up as the room mother, bake sale goddess, and birthday party organizer. Frankly, I took all of this for granted since it was my life and she was amazing, but I now understand why it nearly tore her apart.

So tonight, and tomorrow, and probably the day after that, I’m going to do those long overdue dishes, de-clutter my closets, toss out the random odds and ends that fill up the gaps of my consciousness, try to go to bed early (since a 5 am waking child won’t let me sleep in) and spend a little bit more time dealing with the other details of life that I’ve been neglecting.

This child is one of the two main reasons that I write here, and I need to make more time for sleep so that I can fully enjoy these precious, fleeting moments. I have so many projects to share with you, but I know I need to step away from the computer for a little bit in order to organize myself and clarify the rhythm of my days, so that I can come back to work with a fresh mind. And I expect that you’ll understand, so thank you!

What does the rhythm of your day look like and how do you find your balance?

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for this post. Lately I feel like I am neglecting things a bit too. I have many ideas and pictures and wish they could magically appear on my blog, but then there is always other things to do! I think all Moms understand your dilemma…. so do what you need to have balance and just know I’m working on that too. Take care.

    • rachelle says

      Thanks for the support, Melissa. There’s always work to be done, isn’t there? I guess the answer lies in prioritization.

  2. says

    Yes. I resonate deeply, and am constantly on the hunt for elusive balance. It’s still all a changing landscape for me, but I do find that taking breaks from work (complete, weeks or month long breaks) helps me organize my space and my mind enough to be re-inspired. Sooner or later it starts to become exciting and inspiring again, but I need the breaks to refresh my soul (and clean out my fridge).

  3. says

    I totally get that and appreciate it too! I have been taking time away as I need it too to make sure I have my personal life cared for. Go get that house clean and your daughter a big hug:)

    • rachelle says

      Thanks, Deborah! The laundry room now looks a-mazing! And I managed to make an apple pie, hang some art, wash all the dishes, fold laundry, and play with my kids at the park. It’s just one day, but it’s been good to unplug.

  4. says

    Finding balance is a daily task. I don’t think it’s ever the nature of yin yang to strike a perfect chord and stay that way. As a mother of young children especially, the equation of every day challenging is always changing, as is the way a mama can balance it all. I recently started taking care of 2 other children, besides my two, and while the things we do day to day haven’t changed much, the balance has to be reevaluated for sure. We have a little more structure, still a lot of open play time, but I have days where I struggle, when I struggle, we all struggle.
    I try to make my priorities and cross the stuff off the list that don’t matter so much, and sometimes, those darn dishes make it to the end of my list, after taking care of myself, my relationships, community stuff, blogging, then housework…blah. Focusing on what the kids are up to and SLOWING DOWN usually helps to center me, makes me feel satisfied…usually slowing down my physical pace, the way I talk, breath and listen, slowing my drive, which tends to be at full speed if I’m not sleeping, really helps with my feelings of balance. I have a tendency to speed up when I’m overwhelmed and life begins to feel chaotic. Having that little mantra, Slow down, one of the best things I’ve ever learned. I think taking time to physically and mentally get yourself in “order” is part of the process of finding balance. Go you for taking some time to do so.

    • rachelle says

      Awesome words of wisdom, Jena! While the kids climbed around me today I found myself stretching and moving into some yoga poses, and it definitely helps. I’ll try your mantra on for size and see if it brings me freedom from some of the craziness. I’m hate it when it feels like I’m dropping balls, and I’m certain it happens when I’m zipping around without being as mindful as I could be. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. MW says

    Amazing timing on this post. I work full time (and then some), but I am lucky enough to work from home so I can see my son more than many other working moms. But, on Friday’s I don’t have any help. Just a few hours ago after struggling to keep up with answering my work emails and my little one’s questions, I got choked up – grabbed my little one and held him tight – whispering in his ear that I was sorry and wish I could find a way to be his all day. Not feeling very balanced lately!

    • rachelle says

      Oh, I hear you! My daughter asked me the same question 5 times tonight and the usually patient me snapped at her. Not too friendly. I caught myself and was conscious of her feelings for the rest of the evening. Kids are just being kids, after all! We all make sacrifices in one way or another, and do the best we can to make our experience work. I hope you can also find some time to search for your balance. xo

  6. Bronwyn says

    Nothing truly to add here. Need balance too. I’m going to work on focusing more on the kids and our relationship. Thanks for this post. Loved the “child prodigy” video – breathtaking. My son watched a bit of it and said, “Pretty and look at her messy room, I wanna do that!” :-) Thanks!

    • rachelle says

      It’s an age-old problem, isn’t it? I love your son’s reaction to the video. Good luck striking your own balance, Bronwyn. Hugs.

  7. says

    I wish I had some suggestions! I struggle each day as well. I would love to go back to work, but my field is very difficult to find part time work or work from home. I sometimes think I should look a bit harder, but my kids will only be this young once.

    • rachelle says

      Part time work can be so hard to come by. But if you’re equally satisfied being at home with your kids (and reading between the lines it sounds like you are), then you’re in a great place! Taking a little breather really helped me out (although I could really use more of them!) and I hope you’re able to find the same.

    • rachelle says

      Oh no, Christie! I’m sorry I missed this comment until now. Hopefully you’re all better now. It’s so important to be good to ourselves, and I often have to slow myself down when I’m staying up late for “just one more night.” Because it’s never just one night, is it?

  8. says

    i just saw this post rachelle (don’t know how it was the only one i missed lately! my mind must be more cluttered than my rss feed!) and it really resonates with me in a big way. as you know, i, too, struggle to achieve this elusive balance, and i so appreciate your sharing your experience here. nothing much to add, but wanted to offer support and echo your point that it’s important to step back, relax, appreciate, and enjoy!

    • rachelle says

      no worries, jen! my feed became part of my overwhelming problem a few months ago and now i don’t even bother. information overload! thanks for the support, and hopefully we can both breathe a little easier before the craziness of the holidays is upon us!

  9. says

    Definitely relate to your post. There are days that seem to be filled with errands and chores. I’m trying to let go and ask for more help. Learning that not everything needs to go my way. Hang in there my friend. You are a great mom.

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