Finding Balance in 2018
Some people find New Year’s resolutions to be stupid. Some think they’re a great way to start anew in some way. Personally, I side with the latter. I love the annual tradition of reflecting on the past year and finding opportunities to try something new, change old habits and set personal goals. Even if they fall through by February, at least it was an attempt at self-improvement, which I don’t see as a failure at all. It’s the philosophy of “Internal Locus of Control”, which emphasizes one’s own influence on one’s outcomes and experiences.
Anyway, as I was reflecting over the past year, I thought about our transition from a family of three to a family of four. There were many changes in our routine, our roles, and our priorities. Most mothers (and fathers) can probably empathize with the feeling that there is just not enough time in the day to accomplish what was planned. Most days, my husband and I feel like we’re in this vicious cycle of early waking, late bedtimes and chaos in between. Whenever a person feels overwhelmed in their life, it is usually because the demands of their roles and routine stretch beyond what time allows. Sometimes the problem is that one role gets priority treatment and the other roles get neglected. My roles include being a wife, a mom to two boys, a dog owner, an occupational therapist, a friend, a daughter/sister/cousin/niece, a blogger and a Christian. I don’t feel overwhelmed yet, but there are two transitions in the next week that will up the ante: Chase starts preschool full-time, and I go back to work full-time. I know that these changes will drastically change our routines and off-set already established, tenuous balance in our lives.
Finding a balance with one’s roles and routines can significantly affect a person’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Feeling productive and fulfilled can make a person happier overall. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I can’t seem to find the time to ____”, or “I’m so tired, I need to go to bed earlier” (but never do). When you’re a parent, most of your time and energy go towards taking care of your family and your home, with not much time for yourself. As Michelle Obama once said, “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” She’s right! I never work out anymore. I haven’t picked up a book or newspaper in God knows how long. My long-distance friendships have felt even longer-distanced, even though all it takes is a text, call or email to reconnect. I’ve read about and heard many other moms utter the same lamentations, so I know I’m not alone.
I don’t feel guilty or bad about what I’m sacrificing to be a good mom. I know this is only the beginning of a lifetime of sacrifices. However, I know I can only be a great mother and wife by taking care of myself too. I know for a fact I won’t be able to exercise everyday, or make home-cooked dinner each night, or spend the whole evening on the couch with my husband watching Netflix, or talk to God as long I want to before bed without falling asleep. My goal is to feel fulfilled in most of my roles every week. I’m not trying to do it all, everyday. I’m just going to find a happy medium…keyword: happy.
As the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey, said, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
Here are a few resources I’ve found for anyone else with similar goals for 2018:
Working Moms Against Guilt – An awesome blog with a ton of great articles, including Work-life balance for the working Mom
5 Ways to Find Balance in your Life
Wishing you a healthy and happy start to your new year! Make this year count! As always, count your blessing & count your miles!