Our life has been too full lately. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, because it's full of good things. Things that we've chosen to be involved in. Things that we made a priority. Things that didn't sound or seem like too much of a commitment at the time. Things that we look forward to and enjoy once we're there.
Nevertheless, it's too much.
I don't know how it crept up on us, but it did. We actually expected this month and next to be calmer and quieter, but so far they're not. Outside chores and projects have been neglected because there just isn't time. Jamey and I have been trading off evening-kid-duty back and forth like a ping-pong ball as one of us runs here one night and the other somewhere different the next.
I've come to a realization that many households are either driven by kids' activities or by the grown-ups' comings and goings. We've made a deliberate choice not to over-schedule our kids, but we haven't been protecting ourselves in the meantime.
When we had a baby in the house, we had an excuse. They generally liked to nurse before bed, so I needed to be around. Babies can be exhausting so Jamey gallantly opted to stay home and help me. Our baby is now three and half. And she's been done nursing for awhile. So, without an "excuse" in the wings, we started saying, "Yes."
We could stay home every night (I'm already home during the day) and spend quality time with the kids, but we try to walk the fine line between wanting our kids to feel incredibly special and loved and not wanting them to think the world revolves around them. It doesn't. We fear it will be a rude awakening when they head out on their own and discover every person they want attention from might not be willing to provide it. And we don't want them compromising themselves in any way to get it (this may seem extreme, but I've seen it). Instead, we want to set an example and show them that there are other things in life that are important to us that are worthy of our time and attention- taking some of the focus off of them and putting it on other's needs. Drastic thinking these days, right?
But, over-extending ourselves to set an example isn't the answer either. We want them to see the joy that comes from finding balance others' needs and enough rest to go out and do it again. That's what we wish for them when they grow up. We don't want them chasing activities that don't bring them (and others) Life. We also don't want them sitting around doing nothing- that doesn't bring life either.
I wish I could wrap up this jumbled post with some pat answer, but I don't have one. All I know is that we'll continue to try to guard our time, thinking twice before we say yes- even to something very worthy. And we'll make being at home a priority for rejuvenation.
How does your family find balance?