Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Struggle for Balance

Instead of the baby shower on a budget post that I had promised I have decided to write about something a little bit different.  If you were looking forward the post, don’t fret.  It will be coming soon!

I had a meeting out of town this morning that gave me 2 hours to sit in the car and think.  By thinking what I really mean is I was listening to Oprah-Radio.  It’s one of my guilty pleasures!  Anyways…  a show was being replayed from the early 2000’s and it was about how Moms are continually feeling drained (emotionally, physically and mentally), but refuse to admit it based on the idea that they would be admitting that they are less than perfect at being a wife, mother, employee, housekeeper, and etc. 

A woman was telling her story and explained how she continually feels overwhelmed and no matter how hard she tries there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.  She discussed her inner struggles with depression and how she would try to put on a “mask” so the rest of the world would think that she was the perfect wife and mom.  Internally she was struggling to keep it together on a daily basis and always felt guilty that she wasn’t able to devote the amount of time she wants to spend with her children.  Between the housework, her job, coping with financial struggles, and having 4 children under the age of 8 she just couldn’t handle it.  She went on to explain that her consistent struggles with getting everything done causes her so much stress that sometimes all she can do is breaks down and cry.

A therapist was also on the show and explained that the feelings that the aforementioned woman is having are becoming more and more common and it is due to what she was referring to as an error in our “inner operating system”.  We as a society are so interconnected with technology, work-emails, texting, and social media that we are never disconnected long enough to be present in our own lives.  In essence, our “outer operating system” is not compatible with our “inner operating system”.  In today’s society women are trying to raise children and keep a home on the same ideals that our grandparents (June Cleaver!), but also have a career and stability like our parents instilled in us.  Bottom line is to do both perfectly is nearly impossible.  She explained that it is all about balance.  Sometimes family time needs to take precedence over the pile of dirty laundry.  No one will notice if you have crumbs on your kitchen floor or an unwashed dish in the sink.  Her overall message is to let-go of things that are pulling all of the excess energy from you so you can have the energy to be happy.  The happier a person is, the more energy the body naturally stores.  It’s a cycle that can only begin by making a change!

Of course this is all easier said than done so she challenged everyone to make a list of the things in their lives that are pulling energy away and prioritize them.  What pulls the most energy (what stresses you the most?)?  Look at the list and figure out how to eliminate some of them.  After a month, reevaluate things.  The list should be smaller and you should feel a lot better.  

I can absolutely relate to the desperation that the woman on the show was feeling.  I also try to do it all: work, baby, clean the house, cook, finish grad school, maintain friendships, talk to family, and spend time with my husband.  There truly isn’t enough time in the day to get it all done.  I have decided to go forth with the suggestion and make a list of the things that pull energy from me. 

At first I was thinking that I should spend some real time to think about what belongs on that list, but knowing me I will get caught up in something during the evening hours and I will never get to it.  So here goes nothing – These are the big energy suckers in my life:

1.       Grad School:  My thesis has been haunting me for the past couple of years.  I think about it on a daily basis but never seem to devote any time to finishing it.  I just think about it and it stresses me out.  Well, the only way to get rid of the stress is to FINISH!  Over the next 30 days, I will be devoting time to finishing my thesis.  My goal is to graduate in May.

2.       Mommy Guilt:  I feel terrible that I my son goes to daycare.  It feels like he is being raised by daycare providers rather than his parents.  On a good day, I get to spend about 2-3 hours of time with him and during that time I am usually trying to clean up the kitchen after dinner and then when I do get to sit down and play with him I spend time on my phone checking emails and etc.  This has got to stop!  The dishes can wait until after he goes to bed and my phone, ipad, and computer can stay away.  If I spend quality time with my little boy every evening I think I am less apt to feel guilty. 

3.       Lack of Quality Time with My Husband:  Bottom line is that my husband and I don’t get to spend time together where we are allowed to reconnect and actually have a conversation.  Our evenings are spent chasing our little guy around the house and then he heads off to work. In the past our excuse has been that it’s difficult to find a baby sitter that we feel comfortable with or our schedules didn’t allow time for a special evening for the two of us. To alleviate this stress my goal is to have one date night a month with my husband.  If we set a date in advance we will be able to line up a baby sitter and also have a chance to be able to look forward to our evening together.

4.       Housework:  I always feel like my house isn't clean enough so I stress about having everything perfect and tidy.  This is clearly unrealistic!  There is a certain level of disarray that is a given when you have a toddler. My goal is to accept that my house won’t be clean all the time and that the crumbs on the counter can wait. 

I will keep everyone posted on the progress with these goals and will revisit this post at the end of September to reevaluate.  

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from The Modern Day Juggler!

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