I just had a baby! While I am out on maternity leave for a few weeks or so, I have begged some of the bloggers that I
stalk most admire to contribute guest posts to this space so it won’t be lonely. The posts are so awesome that I am afraid you won’t want me back.
The goal of these guests posts is to bring new and different insights to this space. Viewpoints that I am unfamiliar with, advice from those who have been where I have not been, and ideas that might seem foreign to myself and my readers but are important to consider.
Galit Breen is currently freezing her tushy off in Minnesota. On any given day she can be found juggling her husband, three kids and new-ish puggle. She has an affinity for chocolate, mojitos and books. Indulging in all three at the same time is a dream come true. Galit writes monthly columns at TC Jewfolk and World Moms Blog. Her writing has been published at fabulous places such as Scary Mommy, Jewesses With Attitude and Bring Me The News. You can find her blogging at theselittlewaves.com, e-mailing from firstname.lastname@example.org, tweeting at @galitbreen and facebooking at http://www.facebook.com/galitbreen. She is excited to be here at Jenny’s place with you!
A few weeks ago I announced to the world, well my Facebook world, that I had just had the most perfect weekend. EVER. My wonderfully amazing girlfriends immediately asked the obvious question: What happened?!
Feeling more than slightly embarrassed, I realized that it did indeed look like I had wanted everyone to ask so I could announce…something. Something amazing. Wonderful. Life changing, even. Except, you know what? I didn’t actually have anything to share.
I did have a perfect weekend. A girls’ night. A date night. A big, huge messier-than-necessary project with the kids. A day filled with good food and good friends enjoyed together as a family. The house was clean(-ish). We had eaten healthily(-ish). And I felt totally and completely content. Not in-want or in-need of anything. At all. I didn’t have any big news. What I did have, was balance.
It really is that rare to find balance that it warrants the words BEST and EVER. In all capital letters. Life balance, where your schedule, mind and heart are all filled with the right proportions of absolutely everything that you need. That can be tricky to achieve. But it is within reach, within grasp. And you know what? I want it.
I’ve been striving for balance for a long time now. Before we had kids, Jason and I were the quintessential co-dependent couple. Before you roll your eyes at us, remember that this was post-what had seemed like forever of being long distance; so we clung close. Teaching was the other part of my identity that I threw myself into. Late nights, deep attachments, creative projects, homemade gifts. And when Kayli was born, I followed the same throw-myself-in philosophy. I just wanted to be a mom and truly didn’t think that I needed anything beyond Jason and Kayli and didn’t seek a whole lot else out.
Fast-forward just a few short years later, and today our family is probably a bit over-committed. I’m still really protective of our family time. I feel truly rejuvenated with it and completely depleted without it. But I’ve learned how to carve out time to read books, go out with friends, volunteer, connect with our family and outside of it.
But it doesn’t come any more naturally. I actually have to consciously do it. Allowing ourselves balance is a necessary life skill. Especially as women, as care-takers, we don’t often gift ourselves the time to find our spark. We push our energies to support everyone around us. There’s so much give and take with time and commitments, that sometimes, we lose ourselves.
I also wonder about Jason, and his balance. He works long hours and when he comes home I hardly hand him a drink and the remote. More like a kid (Or two!) and the plea for help with dinner.
By the time our kids are asleep and there’s a semblance of order to our home, we’re both ready to pass out. It’s hard to peel ourselves off of the couch and go out with friends. Or each other. Or curl up with a book. Or craft. Or write. Or exercise. But I do know that when I dig deep and find that energy, I have two-fold the next day.
I hope my kids find balance. With friends and significant others. Family and community. Must-dos and want-to-dos. As I’m learning this skill, I hope that I’m also modeling for my children that it’s okay, that it’s a must, to sometimes put yourself first.
While still a work in progress, for sure, I’m so much more aware when I’m sans balance. On days when my house is spotless, but I haven’t played with my kids. When we’ve been outside all day long, but no one has any clean clothes to wear. When I’ve been out late with friends, but I have no idea how Jason’s work day was. I know, and I refocus.
So far, today has been a good, balanced day. I won’t make that my Facebook status, but I will tell you. Chloe, Brody and I splashed around in rain puddles and they played with worms (I, however, did not). We made air-pop popcorn, cuddled up and read oodles of books in our comfy-cozies. They played cars while I put the laundry away. We picked Kayli up from school and ate lunch. Now, they’re all napping or resting.
I’m completely by myself.
Writing and enjoying a chai latte.
And no one is trying to dip their nuky in my cup. Nope, no one at all.