Monday, February 11, 2013

The swing of things and balance

I always hear moms talking about trying to find that balance between husband, kids, work, cleaning, activities, cooking, etc. I really think that balance as most of us think of it is impossible. Because really, if you give your kids everything you want to, your house will suffer. If your house is as clean and sparkly as you want it to be all the time, your kids will miss mama playing with them. If you spend time with your husband every night after your kids go to bed, you might not get that blog post written. It's just not possible to do it all.

So what's that leave us with? Well, it used to leave me feeling
1. useless and
2. overwhelmed.

In case you miss it, those are both bad things.

I read something a couple weeks ago (don't ask me where- I can't remember!!) about how stay-at-home-moms need to train to be a SAHM. How it's a job like any other job and thinking that you can just jump in and do it is as stupid as thinking you can be an accountant without any schooling (this is definitely paraphrased).

The main thing that I kept thinking while I was reading this was "man, I wish someone would have told me this two years ago".

When I first stopped working, I sat on the couch all day and watched NCIS. I cooked dinner and vacuumed and that was pretty much it. I was (in a word) lazy. But because it was just Chuck and I and the dogs, the house stayed fairly clean and I was able to get away with it. Then all of a sudden (at least it felt like all of a sudden) I had this other human being to take care of and oh my goodness the house was not staying clean. Laundry piled up. Dust gathered. Dog hair took over. I struggled.

Almost three years later, I finally feel like I have a decent handle on things. This has taken me realizing a few things:
1. I must get up before the kids do and be in the Word
2. Naptime usually does not equal break time for mama
3. My husband deserves more than a grumpy wife throwing kids at him when he gets home
4. My home does not have to be perfect
5. Comparing myself to other people will get me nowhere

I've always struggled with perfectionism. And because I've also almost always struggled with depression and anxiety, I was often in a horrible cycle. If I couldn't do something perfectly, I didn't do it at all. Well, that doesn't work around here any more. I've had to realize that my home is not going to be perfect. And that not perfect is ok. If someone stops by unexpectedly (which used to be my worst nightmare), it will be ok. Partially because I've got a better handle on house-keeping than I used to and partially because I've realized that people aren't going to inspect my house. And that most of the time, if my house is dirty, it makes them feel better because theirs is too. And I love making people feel better :)

Problem is, it's taken me almost 3 years to figure this out. To learn how to clean efficiently and not feel like the dog hair is going to take over my life and also have kids that get some good play time with mama. Please hear my heart: I am not saying I have this figured out. I currently have a guest room you can't walk in, a laundry basket with clothes that have been folded and not put away for 5 days and Chuck's desk corner of the office hasn't been organized since we moved in. I have curtain rods I bought before Thanksgiving that haven't been hung up. I certainly do not have all the answers. Not even close. But I'm ok with that because I no longer constantly feel like an overwhelmed failure.

I just wish I had known some of what I know now 3 years ago. I wonder if it's my fault for being so ignorant and not looking into parenting at all before I was a parent. I wonder if there were signs around me forever that I just ignored. I know my mom had a very good handle on things and I still wonder how she did it. Maybe *gasp* I should have paid more attention. I want better for moms that follow me. I want moms to know that they need help- just talking to other moms about how they do things has helped me so much. They need more than just a jumbled brain- they need lists and schedules and calendars. Because this is a job, not a vacation. Homes don't run themselves and figuring this out has been far harder than my job in the Air Force was (which was really hard, for the record).

So if you've been wondering where I've been for the past 2 months- this is where. Figuring things out. Making lists and schedules and trying to be more on top of things. Deciding which activities need to stay and which ones need to go. Digging into the Word for wisdom and grace. Finally doing some things I've always said I was going to do. So I let the blog slide- because balance is a myth and some things have to ebb and flow.

1 comment:

Kristin Roberts said...

i love this post! It reminds me somewhat of my latest "freds" entry where I finally concluded that I will never figure out my baby. haha.. and yes, BALANCE is like this completely unreachable goal. I guess the balance comes in more when we mentally accept the fact that we will always be excelling somewhere and failing somewhere else, and we are patient with ourselves.