I don't know much about balance although I am desperately seeking it. Sometimes I think I wouldn't even recognize it if it was right in front of me begging me to utilize it. I share all of the inspirational quotes about seeking balance on social media. I make charts and schedules and plead that chaos is a thing of the past and I will force balance to weave it's way into my life no matter what. Maybe the only thing I know about balance is that it doesn't work like that. Not even close.
Like probably every other parent on the planet, I am desperately wishing for more hours in the day. More energy to fill those hours would be great, too. An added bonus. My declarations of productivity are nothing against the way my eyes feel heavy and my mind switches off thanks to a sleep deficit I probably should spend less time ignoring.
Once the doctor cleared me to exercise after giving birth to Wylie, the first thing I did was join Orange Theory. For the first few weeks I went all of the time. I would wake up at 4:45 in the morning, throw on my clothes and shoes and burn 500 calories before the sun came up. It was great but there was also a switch-off. Waking up so early caused me to go to sleep earlier which caused me to neglect our tot school curriculum plans which caused me to neglect my blogging which caused me to feel overwhelmed, sad and frustrated in my inability to do it all. Swap out "Orange Theory classes" for any of the aforementioned things -- blogging, tot school -- and eventually something gets pushed under the bed when something else gets the main focus. Somehow I'm supposed to organize things into neat little groups and balance it all, although I'm not quite sure how. The same thing happened a few weeks ago when I declared that I would begin reading again, ashamed at how little time I'd devoted to what once made me happiest. Somehow as I sat in bed reading, my eyes would lose focus of the words in front of me and my mind would remind me of all of the things I should be doing instead.
I mean, let's face it: my only time to accomplish much of anything are the hours in which Ethan is asleep. Working out, writing, tot school curriculum planning, reading, meal planning -- it's a lot to shove into such tiny pockets of time and I've learned the hard way I can't cut sleep completely out of the occasion.
There is definitely a misconception with how much time and energy that homeschooling your preschooler entails. People are frequently under the impression that I simply do cute things with my child on a whim and then post pictures on the Internet. Tot School is fun, don't get me wrong, but so much more goes into it. There is so much planning, creating, setting up that goes into creating our curriculum. It is a commitment I took on because I want to and a commitment I'm taking on even more of with my plans to homeschool Ethan exclusively next year and redshirt him for Kindergarten. But with all that focus, something else slides. If I'm up until two in the morning working on lesson plans, I'm certainly not getting up a few hours later to get my butt handed to me at Orange Theory because there's a good probability I haven't slept in a week and even a venti latte doesn't make you invincible. I wish it did. Believe me, I've tried.
Every three months I get my hair cut and say that I want it shorter because, that's it, I'm going to make time to style it. I know I'm lying even when I say the words but somehow I convince myself that this time will be different. Of course, it never is. My hair is all but permanently molded in the shape of a "mom bun." Things like this I've accepted. I'll do my hair when my kids are grown, I'll wear make-up when my kids are grown and I'll wear clothes without stains or frays when my kids are grown. My focus is on the now and finding some way to balance it all. As I write this, my husband took Ethan to Jamba Juice for a smoothie to give me some time to try to knock out some projects. He did this on Saturday, keeping Ethan occupied so I could get some work done. Instead, I fell asleep in my bed with my laptop. That's probably my first cue I should try sleeping once in a while. But it's just so quiet at nighttime...but there's just so much time being wasted when I could be productive...
As of now, I've limited Orange Theory classes to twice a week. This gives me two crack of dawn wake-ups for the time being. I've also tried to plan our tot school curriculum out a few weeks ahead which allows me some time to slip up without falling completely behind. On the nights where I don't have any writing to do, I am making a promise to myself to choose one of the following: go on a jog, read a book or wash my hair. (Hey, don't hate. Hair washing is always the lowest on my "mom priority" list.) I'm refusing to allow myself to stare at my Erin Condren planner and sob anymore -- it's way too pretty for that. Maybe this isn't so much balance as forced productivity but, still, I'll take it.
Do you have balance in your life? How do you do it?