Monday, February 3, 2014

On Balance

{Carts and me, celebrating Vday.  Party re-cap forthcoming!}

You know what the hardest thing is? Balance. And not just in the obvious sense--balancing time with four children, getting all the chores of life done, making time to meditate and exercise, squeezing in service, helping with homework, nagging about piano practice, driving to basketball... That type of balance is a whole series of discussions in and of itself. It would include questions like 'how do you prioritize and fit it all in?' and suggestions like, 'I clean the bathroom and put on my make-up while supervising the toddlers in the bath. Awesome multi-tasking!' But there is another kind of balance that I have deeper worries about.

I am constantly concerned about the balance between needs and the best use of my time. Here is what I mean:
I am an ambitious human being. I always have been. I load up my plate--heaping full-- all the time. I want to learn more, accomplish more, serve more, be more. Even if I had no job or children, I could fill up my whole day, every day. I would run, read, clean, write, cook, bake, sew, photograph, and...and... You get the picture.

If I had the time, I would pour myself into growing Penny&Tillie.  Jessie and I have grand visions and big ideas for our little hobby to become a big business.

But my life doesn't look like that. I have a husband. A dear, hard-working, awesome fun, loving husband. And, as June Cleaver as it sounds, I expect myself to keep the house a beautiful place and put good food on the table, because, dang it, he works hard for me all day every day. I also have four children. Four energetic, loud, brilliant, beautiful, demanding, loving children. And they're not just mine. They are God's. He made them. They come from Him. And, though I highly value the agency--in other words the freedom to choose--that God has granted all of us, I also hold myself responsible to teach my children and give them the tools they need to succeed. And, heaven help me, if one of my children wanders or struggles or feels unloved, and I haven't given him the best of me, I don't see how I can live with myself.  

I've said before: I don't believe in being a martyr mother. I have to have my own interests and identity. But I don't want to look back at this mortal life--this amazing, beautiful gift of a life--and realize, 'I wasted the best days I was given on selfish, secular, mundane interests.'

And there it is. The balance struggle. How to give everyone (including myself) enough of me. I doubt I will ever really feel like I'm winning the balance battle. But I am constantly reevaluating my life. Like every single day.

I hope to the heavens I am getting it at least sorta right.

{This has got me thinking today.}


families are forever said...

Always a treat to read your posts! Tahnks for sharing!

Amy Jean said...

Thank you! You wrote this for me today. I am on the treadmill wondering if I should start a non profit organization or forget it for awhile and do five loads of laundry today. I guess it just means I am grateful for revelation :-)

Connie said...

I love you, Anne. Your words, that is your gift.

Kate said...

i bet you do a better job then you think :) having four kids is mind boggling just to think about for me. the fact that you even get dressed is amazing! let alone all the penny&tillie you do!

it's funny because i'm sitting here thinking i'm the opposite of you! i don't like to get my plate too full. i like to have some breathing room to do nothing but sit. too many hobbies overwhelm me (i've learned i get overwhelmed easily). forget about throwing a party! total anxiety! the older i get it's like the more i'm drawn to quiet and simple. but you are an inspiration for me to bust out of my bubble a little and do a little bit more.

and yes, learning how to balancing kids and family takes lot of practice!

sarita said...

I think the fact that you are diligently concerned about it speaks volumes to the caliber of mother that you are! Thanks for the Elder Maxwell link. I'd never listened to that talk before and it is giving me a lot of food for thought.

You are an inspiration! Thank you for being such a positive influence for other moms like me!

Joan said...

Self reflection is one of your many strengths, Anne. That's one of the keys to being a phenomenal Mother and disciple of Christ. Keep up the good work, dearie!