it is so refreshing and darn right comforting to read that it's ok to feel stressed at this phase of life. we have a one year old, two full time jobs, and a couple of businesses and still try to find time for volunteering, extra curricular activities, date nights, girls nights, etc. and that is only on top of all of the things we have to do: laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking... AND just in case jared greer reads this... i do clean even though someone helps out every other week... and i do cook, even though it's mainly just making a good dinner for bennett and then having cereal while jared eats egg whites ;)
anyway, the article below sums up how our child's needs should come first... i used to think, before i was a mother (back when i knew everything about being the perfect mother), that i would get a babysitter all of the time so that we could go out on dates... i would say.. 'yes, we will definitely do a date night each week.' and 'i will still be involved in just as many groups/committees...' i think that you plan for those things in the fear that having children means you lose a sense of self... but that's just it... if you aren't planning on losing a sense of self, then you need to make sure you are on the pill ;)
it comes with the territory... in order to be a mother, a good one at least, you do lose a part of yourself. how could you not when you have a little person that depends solely on you? in reality, (the world that happened after i actually became a mother) we don't get a sitter every week... and i'm not as involved in 9 million things like i used to be. i still do some of the things that are important to me outside of my family and jared and i still have time to ourselves.. but ultimately, i have found that i am happy when bennett is happy. i want to be with him instead of out at a busy bar, or even a fabulous tropical destination without him. i want to put his needs first, above ours. and i want to savor each and every little second with him as a child.. if that means that part of 'the old me' or 'the old us' is a touch different now, so be it. we have a child that needs us, and we need him.
this article made sense to me because it's human nature to want to find a great balance. what i have found over the last 13 months is that it's very give and take, and forever changing. sometimes i feel like my job is going extra great, or my marriage seems to be absolutely perfect... other times i feel like everything is on hold because bennett is sick, or just needs extra time from me for any reason. the lesson i have learned is similar to the girl that wrote this article... stop trying to find a 'happy medium' that will last because if i have learned anything... nothing stays the same for long in parenthood.
article from the times colonist...
I remember almost the exact moment I stopped reading most Canadian women's magazines. It was the month about seven years ago when it seemed they all began to be inundated with articles trumpeting "It's all about balance!" as the key to happy parents, children and families.I had a two-year-old who never slept, a baby son who nursed constantly and a busy job waiting for me after maternity leave.My house was a wreck. I was looking for a sitter for my kids six months in advance. I was trying to lose my baby weight. My husband was launching a business.Let's face it, I was feeling a little frantic - but all these articles kept telling me I'd be serene if only I could find "balance.""What the heck do they mean by balance?" I thought. "I just want to sleep six hours straight and go to a movie on my own. And right now, that is not going to happen."Seven years and some perspective later, I've come to this conclusion: There is no such thing as balance when you're parenting, and telling parents to find this elusive non-entity is yet another way of blaming us for not being perfect.What does the term "balance" even mean, anyway? It could refer to work-life balance, that goal of the modern worker to make sure they have a life outside of work.I think that's a laudable goal, but that's not what I'm referencing, since even stay-at-home moms are urged to find balance.What I mean is the exhortation to make sure you have a full life outside parenting - exercise, date nights, nights out with the girlfriends, etc.Here's the problem: Little people have a lot of needs. Sometimes, those needs can be filled by grandma or the babysitter, but sometimes they can't. Sometimes, they just need their mother or father. For some kids, especially little babies, that "sometimes" is all the time.All the urging in the world to get mommy to go out on a date night is not going to matter when a baby with colic needs its mother.Second, if you add up all those nights out and "60 minutes of exercise three times a week," it adds up to a lot of time. If you're already working outside the home, that's time you'd most likely prefer to spend with your kid, even if he or she drives you a little bonkers.My first solution to all this was simple: Bring the baby. Alex and Isaac were carted around as I went to matinées, met my girlfriends for lunch and walked the frozen streets of Yellowknife pushing a giant stroller. But then they grew into toddlers and weren't as portable. Plus, I was working full-time and I missed them when I went out.That's when I discovered something so much better than balance. I discovered needs.The kids' needs come first: food, water, love, a clean and safe environment. My needs and my husband's needs come next. The family's wants are third - everyone's wants. Frankly, the adults' wants generally are given a little bit more priority than the kids' wants. They're my kids, not my bosses.Isaac's need to be comforted after a nightmare trumps my want to watch my favourite television show. But Eddie's want to have me put him to bed every night comes after my genuine need to practise yoga a few times a week.Some of you may be thinking, "But that's just balance all over again!" I'm telling you, it's not. This is not about having a serene life.It's about getting a grip about what is really important and what is extra. It's about surviving the early parenting years. No amount of "balance" will make this season of life simple or stress-free.And no matter how hard you try, sometimes the kids' very basic needs will trump yours. You will go without food or sleep or a bathroom break because they genuinely need you.But once their needs are met, it's OK to meet yours. And it's OK to say no to their wants so you can. As for balance, it's the luxury of the childless and parents whose kids are grown and gone. It doesn't exist in this season of life. Let it go.
Cindy.MacDougall@gmail.com© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times ColonistRead more: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/search+balance/6424936/story.html#ixzz1rl9p9AEX