Thursday, January 19, 2012

Balance


Its been over a month since my last post. I'm having a problem currently with "balance". As you know I'm a restless stay-at-home-mom. I can't just be. I have to do. Its not entirely bad because my entire world doesn't revolve around my kids, just most of it. I'm just not very good at finding the appropriate balance. I juggle things and drop things and forget things and neglect things. There are a few main points I need to get right.

*Daily kid duties: This is the general grind that I have down fairly well. Get them up dressed, off to school. Lunches made or fed, sports practice, homework, bathing, etc. The only problem with this is that one sick or crabby kid can derail this well oiled machine and put us all in a tizzy.

*Housework: This is just all drudgery that has to be done. The laundry bin always has clothes in it. I can wash, sort and put away all of it and then magically be half full in an instant. In general my house is pretty neat but its not clean. And even if I did wash the floors daily they would still just get dirty instantly. Its so defeating to clean. It really is. Plus Heidi might be quiet for a few minutes and you find her putting an entire tube of toothpaste on the wall. Yes, she has done that multiple times recently. Its FUN! Or I have the problem where I start something only to leave it half finished and then it hangs over my head. Might as well not start if you can't finish right? Then there is the financial end of everything. I do all of it and that's a job in and of itself.

*Business : I do have my own business to run, so I have to find time to create, market and ship the products. This can take as little or as much time as I want but I get frustrated when life makes it impossible. I would like to spend more time on it but said time is very limited. I resent the part of my life that doesn't let me get *away* to work. I've tried to set aside time on a regular basis to work on it but its difficult b/c then something else slides. I have time in the afternoon while Heidi sleeps but Colin is home not sleeping. What usually happens is that he plays some computer games or watches TV. He helps me sometimes but that makes my work harder at the same time and less productive. I feel guilty b/c I'm torn and he's neglected etc etc etc. Vicious cycle, no?

*Exercise: I've been putting an honest effort into getting regular, good exercise into my schedule. I go to the Y semi-regularly but I need more than just 30 min on the AMT and a little strength training. I recently ordered a set of DVDs. I've failed in the past with DVDs for home exercise but I think this one is different b/c its finite. Don't laugh...well, laugh if you must its ok. I laugh at myself as well. I ordered the Brazil Butt Lift. Whatever, I need to tone my ass and this does the job! I also started running again. After a 15 year break (I ruined my legs in high school and quit running. Just taking a hard step hurt my shins for years so no need to run). I figure I had healed enough so I could run again. I did just fine for the first few weeks, then I stepped on the tread mill last week and that old pain was back on the first step. I have friend who is a physical therapist along with her husband. She treats MS patients and he works with runners and athletes. He met me at the Y, creeped and watched me run. Turns out I have bad form and some weak muscles. I took my shoes off and ran with him and he showed me how to step...more prancy less banging. Voila! No pain at all. Amazing right? And, mock my butt lift DVDs but they are strengthening the muscles I lack in my hips that contribute to my pain. So, now I can start out very slowly (he said no more than 1/2 mile at a time) while I develop a new set of muscles and train myself to run differently. I will get stronger and be able to work myself back up to the distance I was already running and beyond. Plus I will have a nice tight ass and abs from the DVDs!

*Meal planning and groceries: This is always a struggle for me. I want to save as much money as I can yet buy good quality food. Plus our kids have various food allergies and are a general pain in the ass to feed. Mike and I are following the diet plans with our workout routines which is good but requires lots of high quality food. Good, but again expensive. In addition to the regular food stuff we are really making a concerted effort to have our kids eat as normally as possible. Seems stupid but its not. When your first born has numerous food allergies they learn to eat very differently. You can't just feed a baby a little of whatever you are having. It all has to be special and separate. Then even though he has outgrown his allergies (save peanuts) he's spent 7 years NOT eating certain things. He has real food phobias and rightly so. Then there is the trickle down effect when Colin came along with no allergies. "How come Raph gets X and I have to eat Y?" Then you have a third kid with even more restricted allergies and it all goes to hell. So. I'm left with 3 kids eating 3 different things plus I get bored with food and try new recipes all the time so Mike and I have something different? I don't think so. We've been gradually forcing the issue and there are less and less complaints and tantrums about food. You eat what I give you or you can have breakfast tomorrow. Eat everything and you can have whatever you want afterwards. Dessert is occasional. Anyway, its going well and hopefully if Heidi ever outgrows wheat we can actually eat out as a family. Crazy right?



*Kid time: You know, quality time with my children and discipline the other side of the pendulum. It seems that half the time, when you aren't super involved in anything they are busy with their own thing and when you are busy they are up your butt. Like dinner. Dear children STOP IT! Do you want to eat dinner?? Then there are the times when you have a little down time but you have 8 million things to do but really you should just spend it with your kids. Its hard b/c you still have to pay bills and make dinner and whatnot. Not to mention discipline is a lot of work. If you want well mannered kids who aren't overly self involved it takes some real effort. Sometimes you just don't even care anymore b/c you are tired of the fight. But, I will have you know I have one kid (Raph) who regularly says "Yes Ma'am." or "No Ma'am." Woohoo! The other two are a work in progress.

*Husband time: We are married and a couple. We've been together for 15 years but sometimes life is such that you are kind of like two moons orbiting the same planet. You wave hello now and then but you are always moving in different directions. This week has been like that and this morning I started my quest for a sitter. (BTW, WHY are good sitters so hard to find and never available on a whim?) I told Mike I was getting a sitter for Saturday and he asked where we were going. Don't know, don't care. Out. We can't swing the regular Saturday date night but we try to go out once a month or so. Sometimes its more and sometimes its less. I just feel the need for it now. Time to focus on each other not what needs to be done.


*Friends and Hobbies: I have friends. I'd like to keep them. I'd like to make new friends even. I had someone bring up a dinner club with them and some other people. I loved the idea and yet I was immediately filled with dread. That would require feeding MY children. Pickiness aside, eating the wrong thing can have serious medical consequences for Heidi. Raph obviously can't have peanuts but that's easy enough to avoid and most people are cautious when you tell them. So, for now, dinner clubs are out. Just too hard. But on a smaller scale it can work! I like BBQ season b/c the kids can play outside and the grown ups hang out on the deck while the food cooks. Winter sucks.

I have hobbies too. I like photography. I take lots and lots of pictures. I'd like to take more and I'd like to edit them more. I downloaded a free trial of Lightroom and I'm in love. Now I just have to justify coughing up the money for the paid version of my own. I have a hard time paying for stuff like that when it could buy a lot of groceries. I have a stupid number of started or yet to be started scrapbooks. As with most people in the digital era I have thousands of pictures on file but few printed. Why is it just so hard to print them?? And along those lines I have lots of decorating ideas for our house. But they, like my pictures, remain ideas. The expense and time just seems daunting. But those ideas hang over my head as does everything else that is unfinished or never started.

I have a blog. I have ideas for it but when can I write? Even this post took about 5 attempts to finish. Its hard for me when I can't sit down and finish something so why start??

This is what is on my mind. How do you balance all of that in a way that is good for everyone involved. I feel like I'm stretched very thin and a sneeze might knock everything over. I could do ONE thing really well but if I have to do all of it? Its all done in a half hazard way that isn't very good yet I don't know what I can take out and still be whole.

As my friend Erin stated recently, its all just a bunch of first-world, middle-class sob stories. It feels good to get it out though. Oh and today while Heidi napped Colin did the Brazil Butt Lift with me. He's going to have a toned bootie and abs too!

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