Balance {mom-day}

He wanted to know why there weren’t more pictures of him on the blog.  Here you go buddy. 🙂

So, to say the last couple of weeks were crazy would be an understatement.  Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off crazy would be a bit closer. 😉

Today’s post isn’t going to be me waxing profound- but rather a plea for wisdom, ideas, insight from all of you wonderful ladies who stop by to read this blog.

As we’ve discussed before, motherhood is hard.  VERY hard.  And the ratio of “Hallmark” moments to moments of utter frustration is not what I thought it would be.  With a lot less gratitude for my efforts than I’d like.

It’s easy to get distracted.  Sucked into blogland/ crafting/ reading/ anything to escape the chores/ whining/ struggles that are a mother’s daily life.

I want to be the full-time mother.  I have given up a lot to be able to stay home with my children.  We sacrifice many things people consider “necessities” in order to allow me to be in our home full time. 

So my question is- how do you maintain the balance between being the mother, fulfilling the needs/ desires of your children, teaching and training them and preparing them for life; with still being a human being who needs encouragement and validation and well, something to keep them from going crazy?

If you’re in the middle of raising young children, how do you cope while still keeping your primary focus on your family and home?  If you’re past this stage- what advice would you offer to those of us in the thick of it?  Is there anything you’d do differently?  Things you did that you loved?

I don’t want anyone to think I’m not happy with motherhood.  And I don’t want all these “mom”-day posts to have a negative tone to them.  But, I also want to acknowledge the fact that it’s not all walks to the park and ice cream and parties.  There is a lot of hard work to be done in the trenches.  Things that aren’t pretty or glamorous, or easy.  But- they are where the good stuff happens.  In reaching beyond what you think you can do, and discovering that you are stronger/smarter/more capable than you ever thought you could be- Motherhood changes you in the very best of ways.  And I especially want to make sure that any mom out there who thinks they are the only one who struggles with the day to day of motherhood knows that they are NOT alone.

So, ladies- let’s hear it.  How do you find a balance between being a mom and being a person?  If there even is such a thing. 🙂

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  • Lively Luckinbills
    September 13, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I guess I will be the first to comment! I have an 18 mo., 4, and 6 year old and babysit another 18 mo. old. I challenged myself to make a schedule and broke it down into 30 minute increments to detail what I wanted/needed to accomplish each day. I included chore duties, preschooling my 4 year old, shopping, exercsing, meals, etc. I also scheduled time to do what I wanted like craft, coupon, blog, watch TV, etc. I refer to the schedule throughout the day (sometimes I'm ahead and sometimes behind). It makes for a lot less stress. Everyone knows what needs to be done. I feel accomplished and rewarded at the end of the day. And if the day is a disaster…I start fresh the next day!

    I have not involved my kids in too many projects or extracuricular activities, so downtime is family time and we can actually relax.

  • Karen
    September 13, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Date night. Girl's night outs. Phone calls with sisters. 🙂 Pray constantly and listen to the promptings you receive. Be brave. Be happy. Go with your gut.

    Love you!

  • Kelly
    September 13, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I am so glad to read this. I guess I would be one of the moms who feel the same way as you, and guilty as h#ll for feeling it. I have to admit, I am not doing too well with it all. Pregnancy hormones make me fly off the handle a little too much, and I get super frustrated fast. Of course that could be the lack of sleep too due to the 9 month huge pregnant body and the terrible 2s my boys seem to be stuck in. I am going to try and do better, I like your idea of scheduling time in for myself. I just wish hubby understands when I dump the boys on him after a long day, that it's not personal… I just need that time to relax. Things will be a whole lot different soon, when #3 arrives! Thanks for letting me vent!

  • Kristie
    September 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    After having number 3 a couple of months ago, my world of all the things I was able to do collapsed. It drove me nuts not to get as much done. But little by little the things I am able to get done are increasing with every day.
    I also have a very small part time job, that gets me out of the house for 1.5 hours a day. And this forces me to really get stuff done, so I can go and do my job. But I have noticed that having the job also helps me feel like I am getting something done every day. And that feeling is great.
    I don't think anyone has it all, does it all. But I think you just work hard to figure out what works for you.

  • Linds
    September 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    We all certainly have our moments for sure. Some days are better than others and some are just flat out hard. I have to have personal time. Sometimes it's every day, sometimes I only get it once a week, but ultimately I am happier and feel like a human being again.

  • Gwen @ Gwenny Penny
    September 14, 2011 at 1:12 am

    I don't have any answers for you, Amy. I can't seem to give equal attention to everything that needs it (including myself). The scale always tips in one direction for a while, then you bring it back to center for a split second before it tips in the other direction. Lately I've been feeling like I need more time for myself to recharge, and I feel extremely guilty about that. I've been feeling like I'm not doing enough for my girls and that I'm not getting enough done each day. It's tough. Don't get me wrong… I know I am very lucky that I get to stay home with my girls right now, but it's definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. There are good days, and there are bad days. I really wish there was a formula or a cheat sheet to explain how to do it all and be everything to everyone. I think you just have to do your best… sometimes you'll drop the ball, other times you'll score a touchdown.

  • Caroline @ Artfully Caroline
    September 14, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Dearest Amie,
    Being a mom is a tough job, regardless of whether you stay at home with your kids or work outside the home. It took me a while to find my balance. And sometimes the balance goes off. It doesn't take much to go from "on target" to "over your head". I was sick for quite a while this spring and summer and over my head for a good long while.

    What I found out though is that you NEED to make time for yourself. If you do not then you will be feeling a bit more overwhelmed every day. You need to have time to be you to be able to give out some of you to your kids, your hubby and to your friends. If crafting and/or blogging is what makes you tick then you have to find time to do that.

    The way I have been dealing with the housework is pretty simple: I break down house chores in little jobs, 15/20 minutes each, and I try to get 3-4 little jobs done every day, a total time of 1h to 11/2h. I make myself pick out one of my least favorite each time. For instance, one load of laundry, sweep and mop the kitchen floor, clean 1 bathroom one day, vacuum the bedrooms, fold and put away the laundry from the previous day and dust the living room or the office the next day. As I go about my little chores, I always have 1 trash bag and one basket with me, dispose of the trash and put all the things that need to be returned to their proper location in the basket (and do that last). At the end of the week, everything has been done at least once, sometimes more (like the kitchen counters or the ever popular laundry). I usually only have minor pickup and maybe a load of laundry left for the weekend.

    I also plan the menus one month in advance, with some wiggle room of course. That way I can make my grocery list in minutes and I always have all the ingredients I need. I try to make one double batch of something every now and again and freeze it for the days where the idea of cooking dinner makes you feel exhausted.

    In the evenings, once my little miss is in bed, it's ME time and hubby time. Weekends are all for the family with a bit of crafting time too: while Bug draws, paints or plays with play dough or beads, I sew or play with beads too.

    You might not succeed every day, the same way not everything will be spotless in your house everyday, the same way you will not be a perfect mom to your kids everyday, the same way you will not be a perfect wife to your husband everyday. But if you neglect what makes you YOU, you'll end up succeeding less and less, feeling frustrated and it will impact everything.

    I hope this helps