Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The elusive search for balance

I knew the day would come eventually, and today it arrived.  The day where the honeymoon ended.  The day where I looked around my kitchen and wondered how in the world other mamas and papas have juggled educating their children and the pressures of everyday.  The day where I wondered how they would learn anything.

Yes, it was this morning as I was staring down a pot full of cherries cooking on the stove, a bowl full of them ready to be dumped into a pie shell, two gallons of cucumbers ready for pickling, two bags of apples that need to turn into apple crumble, and a mess in my sink.  One child contently playing with her kitchen as I worked.  Two others happily playing with one another.  They are as tired of cherries as I am and want no part of them!  I wondered what I would write in the log I'm keeping to demonstrate our "progress".

And then, this afternoon, as I hung a load of laundry to dry (what a nice activity for some deep thinking!), I found myself considering that the hectic, defeated feeling inside me was really a cry for balance.  Balance between work and play.  Between acceptance and gently pushing for more.  Between working for others and taking care of myself.  What a gift!

I know that balance is elusive.  The ebb and flow of life naturally means that "balance" is fleeting.  It's there for a moment and then is gone the next, like a drop of rain falling into a stream.  There is always change or activities or accidents that give us opportunities to grow, and growth in itself causes balance to shift.

For me, I'll ask myself many questions over the next little while to get closer to balance, and perhaps even encouraging it to stick around for a few moments longer...slowing the stream if you will:

  ~ What can I simplify so less effort can be spent on those everyday pressures?
  ~ What can I delegate to others, and how can I delegate it so those helpers feel empowered instead of burdened?
  ~ How can I structure the days so that all of me...hands, heart, and head...are nourished?
  ~ How can I connect with my children so their entire being feels nourished as well?

What do you do to find balance for yourself?

Before I started writing this post tonight, I considered what my children did do today.  My youngest started repeating two- and three-syllable words, like "cougar" and "butterfly" and "hummingbird".  She's getting better at matching shapes.  My other daughter learned a new game at a friend's house.  My oldest helped a friend with a lemonade stand, then effortlessly divided his earnings between his "spending", "saving" and "sharing" pots.  Yes, they will learn.  They are perfectly equipped to do so.  It will be okay.

P.S.  You may ask...why do I insist on some of these old-fashioned ways - canning our food, hanging laundry, making handmade gifts.  I do this work for a couple of reasons.  One is that it is satisfying to see the fruits of my labour...the joy of opening a jar of peaches in the middle of February.  The delight of a home-baked pie for a birthday, even if it's runny.  The simple pleasure of smelling nothing on our clothes.  The other is that I equate my labour as being in lieu of bringing home a paycheque.  I reduce our power bill by hanging the laundry.  I reduce our grocery bill by buying fruit in season and putting it up for the winter. 

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