Finding Balance

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
As the school year draws near, I've struggled a bit with the mommy guilt.

"Crap. Henry's going to kindergarten. Have I done enough?? It's only two weeks away."
"I wish we had gone to the library more."
"I wish I had done more educational activities with him."
"What have I been doing with our summer??"
"I use to be a teacher. What is my excuse for slacking??" etc. etc. etc.

And then I flip through the blog articles that tell you "Nope, you indeed aren't doing enough. Get off your phone". More guilt.

But then there's the opposing article that says, "no mama, you're good enough. don't feel guilty that you need me time or that you didn't do enough." ok. less guilty.

And then I realize that me being home is no longer just about me being home with the kids. I'm not a SAHM. I'm a WAHM.

I run a business out of my home (one that's grown extensively this year requiring more work and time), and when I'm not sitting in front of my desktop during nap time or after the kids go to bed, my business runs off my phone. It's always there. There are always facebook messages, emails, questions, and proofs that need to be sent out.

I love these little ones with all my being, and am grateful each day that we are fortunate enough to not need to send them off to daycare each day. But as things get more busy and the nagging feeling of "that email needs a reply", and "I only have a handful of images left to finish for that gallery", etc. etc, I've been feeling more guilty over finding that perfect balance between work and kids.

Both need my attention. Along with the laundry, the dinner prep, the dogs, and the dishes. oh. the dishes. i swear some days they magically make themselves dirty and pile up. because i blink and the counter is covered.

I read two of those above articles today and I think fall right in the middle. with judgement on no one on either end of the spectrum, because everyone has their own way of moving through life and that's totally cool.
I don't want to be the mom always slightly absent, checking emails, facebook, etc.

I also don't NEED to be the mom that spends every waking second playing, talking, watching and entertaining my kids. I just posted a picture of the three of them yesterday "playing" with our little tikes dollhouse. It sort of happens sometimes, and it's awesome.

I think it's all about finding balance in the middle ground. Being at home is tough. Being at work is tough. Trying to do both at the same time is tough. Every mama, whether working in or out of the home needs and deserves a break to maintain sanity.

I try my best to reserve my "me time" for when the kids are completely content and occupied among themselves (so yes, I might be sending an email, or checking facebook). I'm not doing these things when my children are off in the playroom fighting. I'm not doing these things when my kids need their lunch made. I'm not doing these things when someone is crying they are hurt.

As much as I enjoy the fleeting times when they occupy themselves quietly so that I have a few brief seconds to actually think (you know, about what the house is running out of, what's for dinner, what appointment was I suppose to make, etc.) what I've also found myself doing this week during their "completely content and occupied time", (as I get a little more emotional about Henry going to school "for good"), is using that time to just watch them. I just take it all in. Smiling at their sillies, and how blessed we are with these three great kids. And then other times, yes, I do check facebook. and pinterest. and email.

I also make it a point to actually get on the floor and play with them at least once in the morning and in the afternoon. Or sit at the table and play a game, color, whatever.

As has been almost exclusively true since this business started 5 years ago, my actual work (editing, posting, blogging, uploading, etc.) is only done while the kids are sleeping. If that's not what you do, I'm not judging. That's just been my informal rule to myself and I make it a point to continue to follow it.

So after I gave myself a little slap in the face to snap out of the "I'm not good enough." mood, I realize I DO do enough.

My kids are fed. We have fun. I'm there for them when they are hurt. I'm there for them when they need a diaper change. We play. I play. We have dance parties. My business is booming, and my clients are happy. 

At the end of the day, Henry always tells me he "Loves me so much and I'm the best mama there ever was." His love for me is not conditional on how many Power Rangers coloring pages I did with him, if we went anywhere fun, or if we stayed home all day. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if I made him last night's leftovers or if I took them to McDonald's for lunch. They love me no matter what.

And with all that being said, the emotions of "OMG, Henry's going to school 'for good'", are still getting to me. So I'm on a quest to do as many fun things as possible before that big day on the 25th.

Today, we went to "The COOP" in downtown Frisco. Highly highly recommend. Clean, bright, fun, and completely perfect for the under five crowd.

Find that balance mamas. The one that works for you and your household situation. Not the one in that one blog post or that other blog post. The one that works for you. We all have hard jobs and know it will all pass too quickly and these kids will be teenagers.

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1 comment:

KellyH said...

The COOP is great! My cousin, Elizabeth, is the owner. You met her last year at Braden's birthday party.

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