My Own Balance Beam

Balance. We learn balance as preschoolers, tottering along curbsides and play structures. At that age we practice a different kind of balance too – work some, play some, sleep some. Someone else looks after us and takes care of our needs, and we have no need of looking after others.

Fast forward to adulthood, to motherhood. We may still be able to walk down a balance beam or lead our kids in a follow-the-leader along the curb, but not many of us continue to work some, play some, sleep some. It’s more like work lots, sleep a little, play? Maybe.

In case you hadn’t already clued in, I’m a single parent. Solo parent, in fact, as the other genetic contributor thankfully has limited his contributions to just that, genes. While I love being Cameron’s Mommy, his focus, his world, it means that there’s not a lot of me time going on. I’m getting further and further off balance, teetering on that beam. I’m staying up later and later, creeping into bed in the wee hours of the morning, just trying to get some alone time when I don’t have someone needing me. This isn’t balanced at all. It’s not even quality me-time, just hours spent on the computer, and is leading to some pretty negative behaviour patterns.

So how does one restore balance? Just as a preschooler learns to balance physically, this other kind of balance is something that has to be learned and practiced. As with everything else, recognizing that there is a problem is the first step.

So here it goes. I’m having balance problems.

The next step is to devise a plan, of course. This plan has to incorporate several different aspects – I need to reduce how mommy time feels like work time, reduce the amount of work I need to do, change some thought patterns, and get to bed earlier without sacrificing my feeling of time on my own. I also need to find some things to do that are just for me, for my own feelings of well-being.

I have a plan. I’m working on getting Cameron to play independently while I do chores when we get home, giving me a bit of space. We’ve started 1-2-3 Magic, sort of. I need to reduce the amount of work I need to do by actually doing it (what a novel concept), and doing my ‘housework diet’. I’ll be doing the Mama Renew thing again, to set change in thought patterns in motion. Getting to bed earlier is just a matter of getting mad at myself for wasting so much time.

The big things I need to focus on this year are also looking after myself. I have my list of 65 in 365, and a number of those items are aimed at taking care of myself. I’ve already spoken with my neighbour about arranging some time, a weekend, for me to just take off and have a holiday on my own. A night away from Cameron. I can’t even imagine it at this point. I’m reading again, two and a half new books in one month, another one started.  The products of several new recipes are in the freezer, ready for easy and quick meals. I’ve started going to the gym again. Dating? Ehn. We’ll see.

Of course, I’ll keep writing my happiness posts here, reflecting on the simple things that happen in daily life that make me happy. If you focus on bad things, you’ll perceive your life as being full of them. I aim to focus on the happier details, so that when I look back on a day I’ll remember those instead of the rest.

Think I’ll be doing handsprings along this balance beam come next year?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by BOCA.


5 responses to “My Own Balance Beam

  1. This I know to be true! Balance is so hard. I understand the staying up too late just to be alone, sigh. Hugs!

  2. i’m part of your village – hit me up for toddler-free time whenever you want. i’m responsible for saying no when i can’t do it. i’m a little far, but weekends are better.

    But as someone who’s intimately familiar with the need to get a break, i’m happy to hang with the kidlings from time to time.

    I have a thing where every once in a while i get to wander aimlessly around a bookstore and i *love* that.

  3. On weekends if Cody is with me, he goes to bed at a ‘reasonable’ time somewhat to his dismay. Because I need the noises to stop! That right there saves me every time. Ya gotta grab what you can!

    Another thing that helped me in toddlerhood is I traded kids with another mom. I’d take her kiddo for a day to play with cody and then next weekend visa versa. Ohhhh magical!


  4. Pingback: One in 36 Million·

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