autumn days

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

fine balance of parenting (part one)

It continually amazes me how little things can knock us off our fine balance.  Give me a month with only a few hours away from my children (instead of a few hours each week) and I realize how valuable time alone has become.  Add to that hormones, a heavy work schedule, breastfeeding trouble, 20 unread library books, a week without naps, many unfinished projects, and cold weather, and the days get a bit harder.  The pressure and the snippety attitude were building.  I wasn't on my best behavior for my beloved family.  Finally I could hear the disequilibrium screaming that some changes were needed to make my inner mama and my family happy once again.  My family could hear it too.

Sometime last week, after a month of having my children attached to my body in one way or another, I got out of bed around 3am with my congested uncomfortable little boy and drowsily paced around the kitchen with him in my arms.  Somewhere in that darkness I saw the light at the end of the discombobulated tunnel.  I found some relief with a simple thought.  The pressure finally gave way and burst like water gushing from a water balloon when I thought one simple thing: "I finally made it to my weekly bath day!"  And there was more personal time on the horizon for the coming days: dinner and movie date, babysitting time, and lunch with my spouse.  There was once again a little time for myself, enough to reinstate a bit of balance.  I could make it day to day with these precious hours of personal time.

Despite the moments of balance and relief, each day feels like an amazing roller coaster.  There are so many ups and downs, joys and sorrows, challenges and solutions.  I continue to look to some moments alone, a few minutes with my journal, a few quiet moments each day.  And I hang on and feel the movement of the unpredictable roller coaster.  And I search for more patience and forgiveness for myself.  I am a limited individual.  I can't run on empty.  I don't know what I need or how to ask for it all the time.  I don't have all the answers.  I remind myself I cannot be everything to everyone, no matter how hard I try.  One day I will miss the all-consuming territory of being a full-time parent, though for now I will try to laugh and smile and appreciate this time with my small children.  And I can fantasize about someday having a couple nights all by myself at the beach.  I breath easier just taking time to cherish my children and knowing more personal time is on the horizon.

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