Balance – How Do I Do It?
A fellow mom emailed me a while back asking how do I find balance? She thanked me for getting back to writing, telling me she enjoys my posts and asked, with everything I do, how do I find emotional balance and when do I know to just let things go?
Two years ago, they moved from their Oklahoma City home to a country home to live their dream of owning land and having a little farm with a cow and some ducks. She was a stay at home mom, homeschooling, chauffeuring, making meals, taking care of the animals. She was living her dream and her passion. But life threw a financial curve ball and she had to go back to work at a job she hates and the kids are in public school for the first time ever. She is having a hard time finding balance. Her husband has taken over dinners (which she misses doing because she loves to cook and is tired of his chicken nuggets and mac and cheese) and chauffeuring, public school has taken over educating the kids and she hardly ever sees her ducks! Do I have a trick to finding balance?
I read the email in one of my coffee shop offices (see facebook for more details on my coffee shop offices…and like it while you’re there, please) and cried. Then, I took a day to respond briefly (as you’ll see below) and until now to respond fully.
“I appreciate your email. I’m so glad you felt comfortable asking and I don’t have all the answers and what insight I do have, I’m finding, is taking me a little time to create. (Because as you probably read the other day, I’m a processor…).
The biggest thing to know is that you aren’t alone. Last year, we closed our farm for business and both took off farm jobs, for health and financial reasons. I knew it was the right thing to do, but didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t immediately available to my kids. One kid had a severe allergic reaction at school and I was at work 45 minutes away. Ugh. It was awful.
So, you are not alone. I will put together more thoughts and email them to you. Your email made me cry, both in understanding of what you are going through, sadness about what you are going through and gratefulness that you are enjoying what I do.
Just remember, you are not alone. Put one foot in front of the other today and pretty soon those steps will lead you out to see the ducks!”
As for the questions, how do I find emotional balance and how do I know when to just let things go? I work really hard at it but don’t always get it right, that’s for sure. Here are some suggestions:
- Figure out three things you value most. Make sure you do those every day if possible. If it’s not possible, don’t be hard on yourself about it, just work little by little to make it more possible to do them every day. For me, it is my kids, running and writing. My kids will only kids for such a short time and I’m not going to miss it. Because they are one of my top three values, I work the rest of my schedule around their activities. Running keeps me sane. Literally, it is the best medicine for my mental health. I run every day my body physically is able to do it (i.e. something doesn’t hurt). Writing is my passion. It is my “happy place”, where I get lost in my own world and forget to eat.
- Cut yourself ALOT of slack. You are a mom. You are working (at a job or as an entrepreneur or as a mom). You did 15 things before breakfast that you didn’t get paid for. Does that make them less valuable? No! It was good use of your time just like getting paid at a job is! (Could you hear me talking to myself just then?) Take a minute to pat yourself on the back at all you did accomplish today instead of focusing on all you didn’t. Did you go to a job you hate so you can earn money to dig your family out of a financial hole? Well then, Good Job Mom! You are working toward a good goal. Did you wash and dry and fold and put away four loads of laundry and make breakfast and get dinner ready and make two doctors appointments, and return seven library books and brush your teeth before leaving for the soccer carpool? Well then, Good Job Mom! Did you get 2 things finished on your 20 item to do list? Good Job Mom! That’s two more than were finished before you got up this morning! Give yourself a break.
- Make the bed. When my house is a total disaster but at least the bed is made, I just feel better. If the bed isn’t made because my back is out, I go…”overlook it. let it go. it’s ok. baby steps. priority now is to heal.”
- Notice what’s missing that seems to be knocking you out of balance and work on incorporating that. The glaring thing missing from my answer to #1 is my husband. I love my husband. I need my husband. I value my husband. But for years I’ve left him out of the balance picture. I am working to be better at opening up to him. Spending time with him. Being vulnerable with him. Sharing my ideas with him. Listening to him. I’m getting better at it.
As I mentioned, my passion is writing. I love sharing these ideas with you and don’t want to stop. It’s possibly the only thing that would make me miss going to my son’s basketball game that starts in an hour and forty-five minutes and takes an hour and twenty minutes to drive to. But, because I too am always seeking balance, I’m going to take my own advice and do one of my other three values today.
Adios….going to my son’s basketball game!
Good Job Mom!
P.S. Forgive any typos…I was hustling to get out the door for the big game!