Little breaks bring a little balance

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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This month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting asks how we stay centered and find balance rather than focusing our entire lives on our children.

Seeing as how this is my first blog post in more than three weeks and I have previously written about trying to prioritize the million things I’m pursuing, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I don’t have the answer.

I know some of you think I am completely on top of everything and run a well-oiled machine. I know some of you think I would forget  my head if it wasn’t attached. Both are true – depending on the day.

I know some of you think I am a devoted mother who reads stories, plays board games, sings songs, builds forts and bakes. I know some of you think I spend all day sitting on the computer letting the TV babysit my children. Both are true – depending on the day.

I don’t think there is any magic formula. I just keep plugging along, grabbing a break when I can find one and demanding one when I really need it. Some breaks I have been finding/making/taking recently include:

  • Stopping at Caribou Coffee on the way to work. Yes, I can make a latte cheaper at home (now that I’ve finally mastered my espresso machine) but it’s not quite the same. And if a $2 coffee a couple of times a week keeps me sane, that’s much cheaper than therapy! ;)
  • Watching “The Office” during my pumping break at work.
  • Running errands with Ellie while the other two are at school. Believe it or not, this feels like a break. And my anxiety levels decrease when my to-do list does.
  • Going to monthly Heritage Makers meetings. They are so energizing and inspiring. I just need to work on carrying the energy through to actually doing something with my business!
  • Making one-on-one time with the kids. This is good for them and me. It’s so much easier to enjoy them when there aren’t three vying for my attention. This might mean truly focusing on Ellie while nursing (which I do around midnight each night), playing “baseball” with Connor (which I did halfway through this post) or taking Grace to the closing ceremony of a Girl Scout camp (which I did Oct. 3).

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband’s commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)
  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)
  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.
  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.
  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.
  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)
  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.
  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)
  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)
  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some “Me Time” — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants “me” time that includes her daughter.
  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)
  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those “non-necessities” this year. (@kellynaturally)
  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)

5 comments for “Little breaks bring a little balance

  1. October 12, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I think finding one and one time with each kid is so important. It helps maintain that bond and it definitely helps my toddler to be more independent later when I need a break or have to attend to the baby.

  2. October 12, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante had a wonderful post about balance being dynamic – a dance. Balance can’t be static, because life isn’t. Sometimes, balance might be vegging out in front of the TV. Sometimes it might be snuggling up on the couch with books for hours. Sometimes it’s just coming to the realization that today was off-kilter, and tomorrow will be better. I think we’re all in the “some days it works, some days it doesn’t” boat with you, Jen :)

  3. October 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    sometimes stopping for coffee is the best way to stay sane! I always tell my husband that driving anywhere in the car is sometimes the best way to unwind because everyone is strapped in and I don’t have to do anything but sit and chill…!!

  4. Amy
    October 12, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Ooh, I miss Caribou Coffee! That’s definitely a great way to take time for yourself. And I like how you have such great perspective about how some days you do the ideal things, and others you don’t–and both are just fine.

  5. October 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks so much for admitting you’re both kinds of mother! I know that’s so true with me, too. And I think the strategies you’ve listed are brilliant: concise and doable and reenergizing. I hope you’re able to prioritize your many pursuits, but continue to find balance even in the midst of the uncertainty and upheaval.

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