Today is my son’s first birthday! I’m still in shock that this little man has been around for a year already. I still remember chasing my three year old around Chuck E Cheese’s at 38 weeks pregnant like it was yesterday. It was actually a full year ago. That lovely trip to visit the mouse was exciting enough to entice our little man out of his cozy womb. He rushed into the world just a few hours later. It was such a whirlwind of a day. I really did not expect to be holding my son before bedtime that night. I figured he’d be early, but was thinking I had at least a few more days to prepare.
Adding in a second child has certainly shifted the balance of our family a bit. It hasn’t been quite as hard as I was expecting, but going back to diapers, sleepless nights, tons of baby gear, and remembering all of the newborn tricks and quirks is definitely not a walk in the park. My sweet son still sleeps very similarly to a newborn (up every 1-2 hours all. night. long), so that alone has made this year exhausting. My daughter has been amazing through all of this change. She definitely has her moments (like this morning when she did not understand why she needed to let her brother play with his birthday presents) and she struggles to be gentle sometimes when she plays (so glad he’s a big boy), but she loves having a little brother.
Last week, I spent many hours reading, researching, and then launching this blog. And creating an associated Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and even a snazzy Pinterest profile. It took a ton of work. I knew it would be a lot, but wow, I had so much to learn. Then I had my small group, went out of town for work, hosted my boy’s big 1st birthday party, and then on Sunday we had his baby dedication at church. I’m so thankful that my husband and I decided to take a vacation day today so we could just stay home and relax.
The craziness of this past week has certainly caused the balance of my life to swing way out of whack. I had so many things to do that I was afraid to sit down and even create a to do list since it would have meant wasting precious minutes that I could have actually been doing things! It has reminded me that balance in our busy lives, doesn’t work like a shiny scale. We can’t just place a perfect match of minutes on the scale of each responsibility, relationship, or priority of our lives and find a perfect balance that leads to peace.
Balance in our lives generally looks more like an acrobatic show. There are multiple people and levels, there is a fluid motion involved, the balance is constantly shifting and changing as each day is different. If the balance of my life was a perfect selection of minutes for each responsibility, I would have never launched this blog. I had to shift some things to a different level for a couple days and put my focus on learning the ropes of creating a blog. That is why I ran a whopping one mile last week! Exercise dipped way low on my priorities list. So did dishes and laundry and even a few meals.
Toward the end of the week, I realized I had a big birthday party to plan and prepare for and kitchen full of dirty dishes. My balance shifted again as I moved the blog down the priority list and spent my energies washing dishes, buying party food, and of course, loving on the birthday boy!
What I’ve learned about this kind of balance though, is that when you’re talking about fluid motion, balance that shifts and changes many times throughout the day, it can look absolutely beautiful at times. It appears that we’ve got it all together, we make it look easy, at some point we can settle into a routine and our muscles kind of take over. They’ve been trained well, the processes and the patterns have been programmed into our brains and muscle fibers so that we move through our lives with grace and ease. But not everyday is like this. And this grace and beauty of motion could never happen over night.
I’m still learning much about being a parent of two small children, but now that I’m a year into this thing, we’ve figured out some processes and routines for handling our family of four. I had people comment at the birthday party that “it looks like you’ve done this before”. This was the fifth time I’ve hosted a family birthday party for my kids so I’ve figured out how to make family birthday parties simple for me to host! This 1st birthday party was so much less stressful than the first 1st birthday party I hosted when my daughter turned one.
Just like acrobats, things don’t always go perfectly. And unfortunately in life, there is no opportunity for the months and years of practice that acrobats get before their performance. In life, every single day is the performance. This means that there will be stumbles, there will be falls, there will be times when the choreography doesn’t look all that put together. There will be times when we miss our cues, forget the moves, and fall flat on our face. But all acrobats know, when you fall, you get up, bandage your wounds, dust off your shoulders, and try again tomorrow. The beauty can only come when we continue to lift up all of those arms of responsibilities and relationships and priorities, and learn to move with them, to build the strength, to take the time to learn the steps and find the balance required for each new move.
What tricks have you found to help you change your balance of priorities and responsibilities each day? What struggles do you have as you learn how to keep everything moving smoothly? Please comment below.
If you struggle with figuring out your priorities, setting goals, and getting things done, I would highly encourage you to take the Make Over Your Mornings online course by Crystal Paine. It is very affordable and was extremely helpful for me to make some adjustments to bring my life into better balance.