A couple of weeks ago my husband Woody and I had the great joy of taking care of our two grandsons, Soren (4 ½) and Nils (14 mos) for a week while their parents were taking kids to Young Life camp. It was a great refresher course in parenting. We had a blast. Really—it was so much fun!
I wish I could tell you more, but I have to be honest here: I had anticipated coming home with a notebook full (or at least a head full) of hilarious comments and antics and incidents with which I could entertain blog readers. I thought this to be a realistic expectation. Soren frequently says absolutely hilarious things. He has a vivid imagination, a memory that is positively scary, and he is very verbal. Nils is a clown. He loves to get you laughing, and he mimics everything he sees his big brother do, which leads to some pretty funny entertainment.
But here’s the glitch. Life moved too fast for me that entire week. I never got to write anything down. Not even a list for each day (my usual practice)—and certainly not witty sayings or doings in the small journal I had (how hilarious!) brought. Both my daytimer and my journal are completely blank for that week. Most of the time I think my mind was, too!
We did all kinds of fun things: we went to playgrounds; visited a children’s museum; played pirates in the basement (Woody and Soren did, anyway—I was a little worried about Nils around the pirate sword); went out to lunch one day and out on another day for ice cream; even had a visit from a friend who surprised the boys with a new scooter for Soren and a push-trike for Nils. And yes—we made a visit or two to the pediatrician. I told you this was a refresher course on real-life parenting. How could it not involve middle-of-the-night fevers and unexplained crying?
But here’s the thing: I had expected a break in the action now and then. A time to reflect a bit. Take a deep breath. Write down a few of the wonderful things my grandsons did—and there were many! But all I did was take a nap when they napped—and collapse on the couch after they went to bed. Even though we were two-on-two (two adults there full-time, two kids), Woody and I pretty much just sat side by side and stared into space every evening.
So here’s my question for the week. How do you keep your life balanced during these busy busy years? Do you find time to do anything—anything at all—beyond the absolute necessities of each day? If so, what’s your secret?
Don’t get me wrong: What you’re doing each day for and with your kids is huge—the best job in the world. Feeding, rocking, changing, bathing, and playing with your kids is a huge accomplishment in itself. In fact, if you wrote it all down on a “To Do” list, you’d be pretty impressed. (As recommended on my friend Jill Savage’s blog post the other day—great idea!) I loved getting to do all that again.
But I seem to remember that when I had three pre-schoolers, I did manage—at least now and then—to read a book, complete my Bible Study lesson (some weeks), and find a few words left for my husband (on a good day) when he came home late at night. I’m trying to remember: How did I do it?
Can you remind me? I know many of your days feel like sheer survival. But I also know some of you actually do read books, find time for personal devotions, blog, facebook with friends—at least now and then. I even know some of you who are crafty and actually make things after your kids go to bed (quite beyond me even now, I must admit)!
So I’d love to hear from you. What tips can you share about how you find time to create balance even in the midst of your mom-life? Or maybe how you come to peace about not doing that right now!