Life and Health

Finding Balance: The Ultimate Quest for Failure

I have been out of the blogging game for a few months as my life has gotten even crazier and messier than before.  Shortly after my last post we entered the settlement of the new house, a full 6 months before I was mentally prepared to do it (which also was in danger of being postponed), then the fixing of the house, and the moving of the house.  All while still working full time and trying to be the mom to a toddler.

I have known for a very long time that “balance” doesn’t really exist on a day-to-day or even a week-to-week basis when you’re an adult.  There are periods of fruitfulness and famine for all the different pieces to the adult puzzle, add in the addition of the Munchkin who depends on us for everything and then there is even more calculation that goes into managing life.

There are three things needed for everything in life: energy, time, and money.  Some activities don’t necessarily use all three things at the same time or to the same degree but ultimately they are needed to make life’s activities go.

For instance, if I want to take the Munchkin to a park:

Energy – the energy to get the toddler dressed, out of the house and either into her car seat or stroller depending on how far away the park is.  She has started to enjoy running in circles around the new house the “escape” so getting out of the house takes way more energy than when she couldn’t move.  At least she has also yet to learn that running into corners is not a good way to escape and she hasn’t mastered the idea of always having an exit.  (Note to self: Must improve her Zombie Apocalypse training.)

Time – Always need to make sure there is plenty of time to accomodate the 1 hour round trip it takes now between wrestling the munchkin out of the house, wrestling her off the playground equipment and back into the car/stroller and then whatever time we happen to spend at the park.

Money – This one isn’t too intense on the money aspect, just gas, and having the obligatory money for the ice cream truck if it appears.  She has become amazingly aware of the ice cream truck and can hear him a full 5 minutes before I do so this is a battle we are currently losing.

As with everything in life there are these three legs, almost like the fire triangle (oxygen, source, and fuel).  You need to have these three components to make your life work, both for the fun and the mundane.  As a modern-day, working mom there is some myth being peddled about “balance” in life.  The balance of having enough of these three things to do the things you need/want to do in life.  And let me tell you that trying to find the elusive balance is a waste of time and if you’re focusing on finding the balance you can feel like a complete failure.

Life comes in seasons; sometimes they’re predictable and cyclical and sometimes they feel like they came from out of the blue.

Currently I have entered my season of rest (summer); since I am a teacher I have finished up for the year and settled into 2 months of relaxation and un-structure.  I still have a basic routine with the toddler but I’m not fighting with her (most days) to be out of the door on time so I can make it to work.  We spend a little more time in our jammies in the morning eating breakfast or a little more time outside in the afternoon.  Of course as a teacher, I’m also sweating the budgeting bullet…did I put enough away for the summer?  How can I do fun things with the munchkin without it costing an arm and a leg?  This is the first summer that I’m not sure if I did well enough with the money since we have the new house and are fine tuning all of those bills, but all in all these couple of months are way more relaxed than the previous ten.  I can find more “balance” now because I’m not under the gun of performing a job so I can relax, work on the house, have fun, read a book, or lounge on the couch and not feel like I’m wasting all that time because during the past ten months, nine hours of my day were already accounted for and I had to squeeze the rest of the responsibilities (and sleep) into the other fifteen.

Sometimes there is a season of stress, like settlement and working on the house.  We settled on the house, under the threat of postponement because of another snow storm targeting the northeast and some seller communication problems but we were able to make it to the table, get the keys and begin this phase.  Of course with the keys came work to be done.  We chose the settlement date because I would be on spring break the following week and could really tackle a lot of the easy cosmetic work first.  I painted three rooms (albeit the BFF and I have done better paint jobs), stripped wallpaper out of one bathroom and painted it, attempted to strip wallpaper in the kitchen and then decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation just yet, cleaned, got a couple of rugs.  We also hosted the Munchkin’s second birthday party here two days after settlement (which I’m still not sure whether it was a completely brilliant or stupid idea…).  The Mr. put in a bar top for a breakfast nook (which so far has been my favorite thing we’ve done to the house), re-did some electrical and plumbing, and basically moved us in the entirety with a pickup truck loaned from his mom.  Right after we moved, I also ended up contracting bronchitis and then pulling a muscle in my back.  While this litany is not to do anything other than to say for the past three months I’ve been busy.  I’ve been doing a lot of necessary things that required time, energy and money leaving me very little energy for this.

My season of stress has started to level out and the house is in a much better state where we can work on the projects as time (and Munchkin sleeping) allows but the house is also completely livable.  Of course we still have boxes, and one of the rooms in the house is filled with stuff waiting on the master suite to be completed but I can deal with it.

If you’re questing for some perfect idea of balance it doesn’t really exist on a day-to-day or even a week-to-week basis.  Sometimes if the balance is out of whack for too long I get cranky so then I readjust to make sure I get a little of what I’m missing even if that means I need to spend a little more energy, time, or money.  Sometimes you have to spend a little to get a lot in achieving that elusive “balance.”  It may be off this week or next or even for a few months and that’s ok.  I felt like I was failing in so many areas the past couple months because my attention was focused on a few things and the rest were left to the back burner but now that the season has changed I’m ready to pull them from the back burner and topple the scales a little bit.


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