I wonder how other moms find this elusive balance and the answer came to me about 2 weeks back when I had a private message on the Kaboutjie facebook page from a mom. She was writing to me personally to ask me how I balance being a mom, working, being a wife and being a housewife.
What I found amusing is that she actually thought I was superwoman. I was quite flattered, but more so I was laughing out loud when I read this. I have no idea where she got this idea from that I have balance in my life. I suppose sometimes a person just gets that perception?
So what was my response to this message? I told her the truth about my life. I am not sure if she was relieved that she is normal or disappointed that being a mom and having a balanced life is probably impossible. If anyone has a secret recipe to this balance I would love to know it (along with how to get your baby to sleep through the night!).
Sometimes I see a woman in the shop with a baby on her hip, holding another child’s hand and pushing a trolley looking all serene while doing her shopping. Me, well I can’t even hold my one child and push the trolley straight! When I look at this other woman I somehow think she has it all together. Just because she looks serene at that moment, her babies aren’t fussing and she has no baby puke on her perfect clothing does not mean that is how her life is all the time.
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I had an awful experience in the mall about 2 weeks ago. My daughter was sitting in the trolley and I attempted to buy some cupcakes. I had my hand on my daughter and I was just handed the box of cupcakes when my daughter suddenly stood up in the trolley and fast as lightening launched out. She flew right over my shoulder! I caught her one foot so that the end result was me holding a box of cupcakes in one hand, my daughter was upside down behind my back with me holding her with one foot and of course I was shouting “Oh shit!”…. Is this not a completely different vision to the serene mom and baby on a day out shopping?
Becoming a mom has changed my life in profound ways. I often find myself wondering what exactly it is that I did with my life before I had my baby. I was always busy and always occupied, but what on earth was I doing? It couldn’t have been anything truly meaningful.
I do know one thing; my life has changed from being very self-involved to in most cases putting someone else’s needs first before my needs.
The example is the typical morning of getting up, changing my daughter’s nappy, dressing her, giving her breakfast, packing her lunch for the day mother, packing her bag for the day mother, making my hubby lunch for work, brushing my daughter’s teeth and washing her face. All this is done in my pj’s and only when hubby has walked out the door to go to work do I have a chance to change out of my pj’s, brush my teeth and wash my face.
The first thing I do when I get home from dropping my daughter off is make a cup of coffee and enjoy 5 minutes without anyone needing anything from me before I start work for the day – this is my daily “me-time”. It is not much, but it is all I can usually get.
There are some days when I feel like Bilbo Baggins when he said he felt like butter spread over too much bread. There is only ONE me and I just can’t get to everything – there are not enough days in a week, not enough hours in a day and if there were I would need the extra energy to get through those hours and days.
So what advice do I have to other moms about balance? I often think of my life like a juggling act. The fact is that I cannot keep all the balls in the air no matter how hard I try. If I try and keep all the balls in the air either they all fall or the one I drop will be the worst one of all. What works for me is I choose which ball to drop while I still have a choice in the matter. This is why my house is often messy, my hair is often not brushed. I usually have my baby’s breakfast on my clothes when I walk out the house and I hardly ever wear make-up.
The truth is that yes, sometimes I long for the days when I could go out or do whatever I wanted without a care in the world, go to bed late and sleep in on the weekends. The truth is also that I wouldn’t change anything in my life, even the bad days. I have a beautiful daughter that lights up my life and an amazing husband.