Monday, March 22, 2010

Off Balance

{Photo credit Michelle Meiklejon}

Balance is hard for me. When I start working on something I throw myself whole heartedly into it not stopping until it's done, and done right. I also have a problem saying no. I don't want to disappoint people and I truly do want to help. When these traits are combined they leave me in a place where I scrambling to get things done and none of them are for me, it drains me instead of fulfilling me like my life and activities should.

It's almost April and many things are winding down for me. Winding down in my time being involved in them not in the amount to do. The amount to do is coming to a full hilt for many of these activities, which of course is leading to the stress and overwhelmed I am feeling. I am on two boards for mom/parent groups, there is preschool obligations, family, kids, house, friends, doctors appointments, deadlines, birthday parties to be planned, fundraising to do, oh and than there is me and the stuff I want to to do. Just thinking about all that needs and wants to be done leaves me gasping for air like I am drowning in a sea of needs.

I went back and re-read some of my posts on this, it's not a new struggle. I read The Balanced Mom {affiliated link} last year and I loved it, I think I should read it again as a reminder. In one of them I wrote this:

Letting go of perfect is hard, but when you do life is so much more rewarding. I long ago accepted that with two kids, two cats, a sloppy husband and my un-domestic abilities that we would have a messy house. I would focus on a happy house because it was easier to achieve, and more fun. But I find that the internal stress to be perfect, to do all the “right” activities, to look a certain way, to keep the kids behaving in a certain way, yada, yada, yada is almost harder then keeping the house clean. I need to remind myself daily to slow down, put on blinders to the mess or turn the volume down on the internal critic and just live life.

I know that's part of it, I need to turn down my inner critic learn to let go of perfect. But I also have to focus on what I'm doing and why. If it's not fulfilling to me and my family, why are we doing it? Is it worth rushing out of the house and fighting with the kids for a 9am class or playgroup, or outing if none of us are enjoying the process? Of course the answer is no, but how do you get there? How do I back out of things I already said I would do without more internal conflict? How do I balance my needs wants and desires with those of everyone else around me, how to deal with the pressure?

Deep breath, prayer, and thought.

I need to take the time to re-organize, re-prioritize, and eventually relax. We will be going on vacation next week, which while it posses it's own stresses and "to dos". However it also will put me int he middle of the woods. Limited connectivity. Limited availability of all the things that distract. Distraction is everywhere, it adds to the chaos and the feeling s of unbalance. I can't clean up one room without finding something that needs to be fixed, or worked on or cleaned up, or done. Its true of everything in life, every action leads to another and another, the big hamster wheel of life. What I need to learn to do and work on is not just running, running, running on that hamster wheel, but to learn to stop, rest, and ride that wheel around every once an awhile, maybe even get off and enjoy the view.

For today, I am going to start with reminding myself to let go of perfect. To allow myself the ability to say no, cancel something, and not make an excuse to myself or anyone else. I need to catch up, catch my breathe and refocus. This running and running and running (without actually getting time to run- but that is a whole other issue!) needs to stop. I am going to step back, step aside, not just ask for help but truly accept it and accept that someone else can and will do something.

I know what I need to do and it's so easy to type it out and say it. It's so much harder to actually achieve it. To step back and step away from something that you may be enjoying right now simply because it doesn't really fit with where you want to go or what you want to do in the future. I wonder if it's even possible with my type A personality to step back and relax. Clearly I have tried before and it has worked for while but here I am back wobbling and swaying feeling off balance and off kilter and it has to change. I am shortchanging my happiness and things, people in my life are suffering.

How do you do it? How do you balance all the needs and wants and desires in your day/life?


Heather of the EO said...

Oy. I don't.

I just can't. Maybe because I'm me, but maybe because it's truly impossible. So what I work on is accepting the inevitable IMbalance of life. That's hard for me, as a perfectionist too. But I have to do it or I lose my sanity. The other thing I'm working on is simplifying. Simplify is my word for life these days. I don't sign up for things, I don't volunteer more than just enough to be helpful without "doing it all." I long for simple days, a bit idealistic, I suppose, but I do think it's more attainable than I once believed. Much of my stress is my choice. If I keep the schedule lighter, it frees us up for that more easy-going, contented existence I really want.

End of rambling comment.

Liz {Learning To Juggle} said...

This is the hardest thing for me to figure out. I am just not sure - and everytime I think we've got balance, schedule, control to the chaos a monkey comes by and throws in a big ole' wrench!! The only thing that has ever worked for me in the past has been a schedule, but an organic one. One that grows and changes as we do, but has a good solid core.

Erin said...

I definitely don't have a balance. I try to put away my computer when the kids are up and wanting to play. I try to do little things at a time (5 minutes to do the dishes here, 10 to do the laundry there). Little buckets instead of big pools of chores. I think this is something that a lot of us have to work on! Have fun on your vacations!

Brooke@Brooke'sBargains said...

I'm working on it EVERY day! I don't feel balanced at all and I'm constantly trying to please everyone! You said it best, it's draining and hardly fulfilling!! We are going on vacation the end of the week and I'm a little overwhelmed with all the things that will entail! Goodluck to you and I hope you have a GREAT vacation and come back relaxed and rejuvenated!


Amber Page Writes said...

Balance? I have none. None at all. It's perpetually on my to do list, but like most things on my to do list, I never seem to have time to get to it...

Shell said...

I don't balance it all. I've stopped trying. I do what I can and then go to bed. ;)

No, really, it's impossible to do it all, so I just do my best to stay calm through it all, knowing that my freaking out about things or worrying isn't goig to change anything anyway.

Hyacynth said...

Pefectionism and dedication = a deadly combination. I'm one of those, too. It's rough. I ask my hubby to help me quite a bit. And I try to keep my priorities in the forefront of thought: God, marriage, kids [everythingelse].
It's a challenge, but I love challenges. Is that why I let myself get so involved? lol

Billy Coffey said...

I think the desire to be a good parent, a good spouse, a good EVERYTHING, can get overwhelming at times. But to desire to be perfect at all of those? That can get overwhelming all the time. So I'm going to take your advice and stop trying to be perfect and be more me.

Loved this post.

Becky said...

It's the hardest thing about being a woman I think. We have so many roles it's feel impossible to balance it all.
Lists! I make a ton of lists. Seems to help me.

and when all else fails, I throw my hands up and surrender.

Unknown said...

Oh I understand that desire. I am trying to balance finishing my degree (2 weeks to go!) with raising my family and become a better blogger. I schedule. A lot. And use lists. And sometimes, I just take a bath and drink a large glass of wine.

Hugs mama. Hang in there and keep being you- because you rock and quickly became one of my favorite bloggy friends!