Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Balance Beam.

Yesterday, I had Dr. Drew's TV show Lifechangers on in the background while I was doing some cleaning and getting ready to get Lizzy and I out the door. They were talking about moms, and how sometimes we have a tendency to think of ourselves as either doing it perfectly, or failing. For a lot of us, there's no middle ground. Then, one of the experts said something to the effect of, "Sometimes, I feel like moms are competing with each other about whose to-do list is longer, but that's not what being a mom is about--it's relational."

Yeah, I'm totally aware of that. Heh. I think most of us moms get that--we need to talk to our kids, and read to our kids, and play with them. I know that, and I can do that.  I want to do that. I'm cool with building blanket forts and coloring all day long, actually. For me, the issue is about how do we balance that relational aspect with the other aspect of having a household where things just need to get done as well? I feel like the cycle for me is that I spend a couple of weeks playing and having fun with Lizzy all day, and then I spend a week spending 85% of the day "catching up" and cleaning the house, and not playing with Lizzy very much. And then I'm irritated, because I *hate* cleaning, but I also need the house to be clean in order to be able to relax. And I know that people are all like, "Oh, you never get these moments back, don't worry about the house, you can fold laundry later." But the thing is, that we still need to have clean dishes to eat off of, and clean underwear crumpled up in the drawer.We all still have to do both.

There are seasons of my life where I feel like I'm doing it a little bit better. There are seasons in my life where I feel like I'm balancing. Juggling. Multi-tasking. And then there are seasons where I feel like, "Who IS this woman who forgets to go get her allergy shots, and can't even return a simple email in a timely manner?" Like I have a million things on my to-do list every day, but I'm only accomplishing half of them, and of those that I actually accomplish, I'm only doing half of them well. LOL.

And sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed, all I want to do is curl up on the couch during Lizzy's naptime and watch Parenthood. But then, when will I do the 100 other things that need to be done during that time?

What about you all? What do you think? Any tips for keeping that balance? 

18 comments:

  1. as crazy as this may sound, this post is a big reason why i'm OK with being a full time working out of the house mom. during the day nobody's home so there's no messes being made, yet Lovie is having a blast playing and drawing and playing and running around and climbing and..you get the idea. so when we get home, she watches a show and i quickly get her dinner together (from the freezer or leftovers). she eats and i load or unload the dishwasher (i eat w/ the H after she's in bed). then she watches another show or colors or reads, etc, and in the same room, i tidy up. i'm right there with her though so if she needs me to read her a book or wants to sit on my lap- DONE. during her bath, i clean the bathroom. on weekends, i do laundry- or toss in a load a couple nights during the week. nothing is ever perfect or spotless, but that's how i do it w/out losing my mind. ;D

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  2. I'm not going to judge 'cuz I'm not a mom, but I will say this: I LOVE DR. DREW!

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  3. Meredith, I was just lamenting this while putting Ella down for her nap. I am constantly torn between my to-do list and the relational aspect of being with Ella. It's so hard, and I feel like I largely fail about half the time. But I don't know what to do!

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  4. Concerned FeministOctober 5, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Your daughter will never get her role model back - a mother who didn't WASTE her time at home - instead of having a career to be a POSITIVE role model.

    What so disgusts me about your post is its espousal of degrading traditional gender roles. Cleaning is no where near as important as having a career - and if you had a career you could hire someone to clean your house - or, "crazy idea" why not have your HUSBAND contribute equally to household tasks, as opposed to taking on a degrading role as you are.

    Being with an infant is completely insignificant compared to the impact you would have with a job and career - just think about it.

    It also boggles my mind that you and your "mommy blogging cohort" define yourself first as a wife - and I am married. The way you define yourself is truly a step backward.

    Until women like yourself and the other "mommy bloggers" out there stop wasting their time at home, you will continue to make equality more difficult for women everywhere.

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  5. Concerned Feminist-

    If you truly believe that all women *must* work to have any value or worth, then we've made no progress in terms of gender roles at all. It's the ability for both women and men to *choose* whether they'd like to work out of the home or stay at home that truly indicates progress in terms of gender equality.

    I have no doubt that this comment was left with the sole intention of being inflammatory and hurtful. The anonymity makes us brave, doesn't it? Thus, I'm not going to debate the merits (or lack-thereof) of your response any further at this time. If you'd like to actually have a conversation about my personal decision to stay-at-home, you're welcome to leave a non-anonymous comment, and we can continue.

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  6. Meredith-

    Amen to both what you've written in your post, and your response.

    I can relate 100% to what you have written about, and yet, can offer no great advice. It is a vicious cycle isn't it?

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  7. @Concerned Feminist: Totally agree. If your mother had been a better role model, you would've turned out to be a better person. You go girl!

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  8. Kudos to you for your post and your comment back to the anonymous poster. I wouldn't/coulnd't have been able to restrain myself.
    You know I work full time, but I work long hours so I have at least 4 days home with my girl. Everybody is different, and obviously those who judge, and don't walk in a SAHM shoes, or a working Mother's shoes don't understand. I deeply respect any Mother who is able to stay at home with their children, and I deeply respect those who work. There is no right or wrong way...I don't think I could be a SAHM, I think it's difficult. But as a working Mom, I struggle with my neverending list, because I too cannot relax unless the house is clean. Just because you don't work does not mean you are a horrible role model. I think you are an amazing Mother, Friend, Person...I have seen how you are with your daughter...and if anything, she will appreciate all that you have sacrificed so that you could be home with her..<3 :)

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  9. Meredith, I get ya. I'm such an "all or nothing" person which I hate. I struggle all the time with finding a balance, especially when it comes to raising Eli, keeping the house clean and running a business. If I'm slipping at one, I feel like a total failure. We as women and moms are too hard on ourselves!

    To the Concerned Feminist - For a "feminist", your point of view is rather narrow. And quite frankly, your anonymity is humorous. Surprising? No. But very, very humorous. Raising an infant isn't insignificant at all. It's actually the hardest job around because, well...the whole point is not to raise morons like you. And clearly if that was an easy as pie, your mom would have done better. Kudos to you for apparently having your act together...might I add, your husband sounds like a lucky, lucky man.

    And with that, I'm off to watch some soap operas and eat a bon bon or ten. We SAHM's have priorities, you know.

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  10. Hahahahaha, Andrea, that was perfect.

    Like I said on FB, just remember for every 1 negative comment there's hundreds of friends/women/mommy's that know better than to believe the lies that came out of "Concerned Feminist's" mouth... what a bunch of garbage.

    What you do on a daily basis is beneficial, important, and needed. You're not only making an impact on Lizzy's life, but in the Kingdom of Heaven as well.

    <3

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  11. I work full time and find Concerned Feminists post to be offensive. She obviously has her priorities straight doesn't she?

    In response to your question Meredith, I struggle with the balance. I find that I only have limited time in the evening with my son and I am constantly thinking "I need to do dishes" or some other chore.

    I have an overachiever personality so I feel like everything needs to be done with perfection RIGHT NOW.

    I try to get most of my cleaning done during the week and weekends are spent playing with my son. When he naps, I get in some extra cleaning.

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  12. I am feeling a little in over my head right now... so no tips.

    I do hope that the feminist isn't a mother or didn't mean what she wrote. Infants and children are precious and whether you are at home or working (I have done both) raising an infant, toddler or child is most significant thing you can do.

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  13. If you find the perfect balance, please let me know. Because between being a daytime stay at home mommy... and a evening time waitress... I am running on fumes ALL THE TIME.

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  14. I found this neat list on Pinterest the other day. It had a weekly cleaning schedule (i'm sure you could search). I'm going to try it. I feel like I play with Sarah and then one day every two weeks I spend the day cleaning. I'm going to try this next week to see how it helps me manage my time.

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  15. I try to balance the day (I work out of the house and at this time don't have care for Thomas other than my neighbor 2 hours a week), but I seriously am so overloaded right now I can't even begin to give you my thoughts. Except to say that I try to do 3 intentional activities with Thomas a day - if it's going to the park, reading together for 30 minutes, and stacking blocks. We spend all day together, but I find that I feel better about our day when I can say "I intended to work on this today and we did it". I would love naptimes to be me-time, but right now they're work-time. I'm working on a balance, but I'm no where close to it yet.

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  16. I like Emilys idea of doing 3 intentional activities a day- I think I might try to do that. Girl, I struggle too. I mostly sah (I have a VERY pt job) but it's harder now to find balance with 2 kids in the mix. If the kids are both awake, I'm usually playing with them, or getting stuff done if they are within eye sight. When Kylie takes her morning nap, I usually turn on a DVRd episode of Diego while I start a load of laundry, take a shower, dinner plan or whatever. I give myself that 20 minutes for "me". I take care of almost all the housework but Jon is always happy to chip in when he is home. Its hard, but being a wife and mother is difficult whether you punch a time clock every day or you don't. I guarantee all moms struggle with balancing priorities.
    Anyway, you pretty much rock. Love how you handled that ridiculous comment.

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  17. There seems to be a feeling that if we aren't playing with our kids all the time, then we're doing something wrong or harming them. It's actually fine for our children to see us working around the house. It's good for children to be able to play by themselves for a period of time while we say, "Sorry, mommy can't play right now." I really like the idea of having deliberate time with our children each day.
    The term "homemaker" used to be a negative term for me, but now I feel that it's the perfect way to describe my role. I don't just clean the house. I don't just play with children. I'm making a home- a place that my children can play and learn and grow. A haven for my family. So whether I'm cleaning or playing it's contributing to our home.

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  18. I try to have deliberate time with Brayden, and time where I am doing chores around the house. I think it is important for kids to see what makes a household run, even at a young age. Brayden likes to help put things in the dryer, pick up toys to vacuum, etc. He also will sit at the kitchen table while I do dishes/cook and play by himself. It's not easy to keep the balance BUT it is essential.

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