A balancing act

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

As a working mom of a two and a half year old son who strongly believes in attachment parenting, it’s not always easy to achieve balance in my life.   Throw my pregnancy into the mix (currently at 29.5 wks!), and there is not much time left for ME at the end of the day.   However, there are some things that I do that help me stay centered and calm.  They are as follows:

  1. Exercising – I’ve been trying very hard to carve out time to exercise lately.  It’s important always, but especially important now that I’m pregnant.   Going for a walk outside for 30 min is restorative to both my mind and body.  I try to go every other day.  I’ve also been trying to be more disciplined about yoga – I try to practice yoga for 20 mins a day at home and then attend one group class a week.    I should add that I don’t always meet my exercising goals, since life (and my desire to sleep) can get in the way.   Part of balancing for me is not beating myself up when I don’t exercise!
  2. Honoring my interests – One of my passions is helping breastfeeding moms.  I became involved with La Leche League about two years ago, and have since become a leader.  Becoming accredited as a leader and now being a leader has been a great way for me to pursue my interests in parenting and breastfeeding issues.    Leading meetings has been a great way to meet other moms and to learn from them, in addition to helping them.
  3. Adopting an early bedtime – In the last month or so we have dropped Dylan’s nap, which leads to a wonderful, heavenly, struggle-free bedtime.   This early bedtime leaves time for me to enjoy a few hours of quiet time in the evenings before I go to sleep.   I have spent this time watching movies on the couch with Jake, going for a walk, going out for dinner, cooking and doing laundry.   Now the cooking and doing laundry don’t sound so exciting, but I actually enjoy doing both in peace and quiet in the evening without a toddler hanging on to my leg, making everything take 3 times as long.  Plus, when I get these things out of the way, I have more quality time to spend with Dylan when he is awake!
  4. Asking for help – I truly believe that we are not meant to raise children alone.   Every mom needs help from others in order to stay sane, as demands from children can be extremely overwhelming.   I could probably be better at asking for help from others, especially since I love spending time and taking care of Dylan.   Some ways that I ask for help include the following:  asking Jake to wake up in the morning and play with Dylan while I catch an extra hour or two of sleep, asking my mom to watch Dylan for a couple of hours while Jake and I go out for dinner, going over to my parents’ house and having Dylan play with my mom and dad while I read the newspaper or just watch TV.  The wonderful thing is that when I actually let other people help me with Dylan, they nurture their own relationship with him, which is truly enriching to Dylan!
  5. Sharing household and child-related work – Jake and I both work, so it’s only fair that we share household and child-related work.   I am truly blessed with a wonderful husband who helps me with the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, amongst other tasks.   I should add that Jake also is a wonderful father who takes and picks up Dylan from school most days, plays with Dylan, gives him a bath each night and much much more.  I definitely wouldn’t be sane without his help!

 

Dylan exhausted after a busy nap free-day...I love early bedtimes!

 

All in all, I believe that I retain some semblance of balance in my life, despite our sometimes crazy and hectic work and life schedules.   There is always room for improvement in any of the above mentioned ideas, and I’m sure when baby #2 enters our lives my balance will be thrown out of whack for a while.   However, an integral part of my personal mental balance is enjoying the time I spend with Dylan, rather than seeing it as a chore.   I know now how fast the first few years can go by, and I hope to enjoy each (or maybe most!) moment with the new baby, knowing that the time when my kids are little and needy is both precious and fleeting.

 

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Balance — Sheila at A Gift Universe has put her baby first — and has no regrets. (@agiftuniverse)
  • A Moment for Mama — Starr at Earth Mama has learned how to recharge on the run, so she doesn’t miss a moment with her children.
  • Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses the merits of taking small daily breaks to maintain balance. (@DebChitwood)
  • Achieving Balance — In a guest post at the new Natural Parents Network, Heather explains how yoga has helped her find balance in her personal and family life. (@NatParNet)
  • TITLE — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn’t realize she needed “me” time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch)
  • Attachment Parenting and Balance — Michelle at The Parent Vortex believes that the last item on the “attachment parenting” list is both the most important and the most overlooked. (@TheParentVortex)
  • Little Breaks Bring a Little Balance — Jen at Grow with Graces finds balance – some days! (@growwithgraces)
  • Finding Balance — Are you a Type A mama? Dionna at Code Name: Mama is, and she needs your help to find balance. (@CodeNameMama)
  • (high)Centered — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has had a spa gift certificate sitting on her nightstand since last year, a symbol of her inability to take time for herself.
  • Taking Time for Me — Marita at Stuff With Thing takes refuge in the world of books, with her daughters immersed in reading beside her. (@leechbabe)
  • Writing as a parent: October Carnival of Natural Parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama didn’t let parenting put her passions on hold. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • The Dance of Balance — Balance isn’t static. It is dynamic, it is a dance, it is about keeping in touch with you. Read this wonderful bit of wisdom from Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Rest Hour – a Primer — Do you get 15 minutes to yourself each day? How about an hour?! Mrs. H. at Fleeting Moments shares her tips on how to incorporate a “rest hour” for adults and kids.
  • Separation Is Critical — Only through enforced separation with the end of her marriage did Jessica at This is Worthwhile realize she should have taken time apart all along. (@tisworthwhile)
  • Bread, Roses, and a Side of Guilt. — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy isn’t ashamed to admit that she enjoys a pint once in awhile, or that her daughter recreates it during pretend play.
  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband’s commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)
  • TITLE — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)
  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.
  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.
  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.
  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)
  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.
  • TITLE — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)
  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)
  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some “Me Time” — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants “me” time that includes her daughter.
  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)
  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those “non-necessities” this year. (@kellynaturally)
  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)
  • About these ads
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

    21 Responses to A balancing act

    1. Pingback: Carnival of Natural Parenting: Attachment Parenting and Balance

    2. I think you lay out such helpful, practical ways to stay balanced. I’ve found exercise, or even just being outside, to be one of the best ways to get out of my rut and my head and feel rejuvenated by the fresh air and change of scenery. I love, too, that you mention asking for help (sooo many parents, mothers especially, think they have to stay balanced with no help from others while doing it all, which is well nigh impossible for most!), and having the support of a co-parent and household partner. I absolutely agree!

    3. Pingback: Achieving Balance | Natural Parents Network

    4. Pingback: Taking Time for Me | Stuff With Thing

    5. Pingback: Rest Hour – a Primer « Fleeting Moments

    6. Pingback: The Dance of Balance « The Practical Dilettante

    7. Pingback: October Carnival of Natural Parenting: A stitch in (quiet) time saves Momma’s mind. | Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma

    8. Isn’t it nice when you figure out what works? It would be interesting to see what everyone would put on their own list of “necessities for balance.” One that I would love to establish is a date night – I wish our parents were closer! I know Kieran would love to spend time with them. We’ve tried swapping date nights with another couple, but something always seems to come up. I suppose it’s time to find a good babysitter ;)

    9. Pingback: Little breaks bring a little balance /  GROW WITH GRACES

    10. I wish the no-nap worked for us…my son doesn’t nap but seems to be inexhaustible at bedtime.

      I’m about to add exercise to my list for balance too.

    11. Pingback: (high)Centered « very, very fine

    12. Pingback: Finding Balance Amidst Change | Breastfeeding Moms Unite

    13. Melodie says:

      I didn’t learn to ask for help very well during the first couple of years. But I think the fact that people said “no” when I did ask also contributed to that. Since we’ve moved it has become much easier to ask for help because we have willing helpers around us. It all depends on who you know and who wants to invest time in supporting one’s family, I think. Im so glad for you that you have the help you need!

    14. Earth Mama says:

      I agree that it requires phenomenal strength to parent without a community. Tapping into that strength is the greatest challenge of mothering. What wonderful steps you are taking to find balance – adopting an early bedtime…! This is where I ALWAYS fall short.

    15. Pingback: Uninterrupted Parenting

    16. Pingback: The World from Within My Arms

    17. Amy says:

      It’s funny, I found time to exercise most days when I was pregnant, but now I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. I wonder if it’s more about how it’s easier for me to do something nice for someone else (my growing baby) than it is to do something nice for myself. I totally agree with what you said about asking for help from those around you. We were not meant to do this alone!

    18. Pingback: KellyNaturally.com | Aspiring Towards Libra

    19. Jen says:

      I hadn’t thought of asking for help as a way to achieve balance but you are SO right. I’m also a firm believer in the idea that we’re not meant to raise our children alone. I wish it were more socially acceptable to ask for help. I always feel like I am imposing on people when I ask for help. It doesn’t help that my mother-in-law once blew up at me for “ignoring” my baby to be on the computer “all weekend” while we were visiting them. The quoted parts were a total exaggeration but now I feel like I have to be attending to the kids 24/7 when she’s around instead of letting them have time with their grandma.

    20. Pingback: Supermom syndrome – at 35 wks pregnant? | Little Snowflakes

    21. Pingback: Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break | LivingMontessoriNow.com

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s