A Balancing Act
About three years ago, I thought I had it all figured out. An adorable infant son, a sweet fifteen year-old step-daughter, a husband with a rapidly growing small business, and a challenging yet rewarding career of my own. My life felt balanced, and manageable.
Fast-forward to 2019 and our cozy family of four is now an even cozier family of five. My sweet fifteen year-old is now eighteen and away at college, and if she’s home she’s got to squeeze her slim hips in between two massive car seats on family outings in our SUV. Like our life now, it works, but it isn’t always comfortable.
Now, I’ve got a tiny (8-month old), a toddler (3-year old), and a teenager (eighteen), and life seems to present new challenges each day.
The idea of work-life balance seems to be laughable sometimes. On certain days, when all I’ve eaten is rejected food crusts, cold coffee, and wine, I yearn for a simpler time (read: fewer kids). Certainly, all mothers experience these aptly named “growing pains,” whether it is going from zero to one kid, one to two, or in my case, two to three.
A shift in family size requires a shift in perspective. Previously, I may have taken a birds-eye view to my week or my month, evaluating how well time was spent. Did I exercise weekly? Spend time with my girlfriends? Cook dinner regularly? Date night with my husband? If these boxes were checked, I felt my life was well balanced.
But, a bird’s eye view can prove overwhelming in times of transition. While the planner in me loves checklists and calendars, seeking balance can be more easily achieved on a micro scale. Instead of analyzing how I’m doing overall, I’m learning to take it day-by-day, and accepting that the scale will tip back and forth all the time.
Today was good. I ate some veggies, kissed my husband, and took my kids to the park. Tomorrow I might lose my temper, eat chocolate for breakfast, and overdose on cartoons.
For me, the beauty of learning to parent, means remembering each day resets the scales, and they never need to balance out.
Kate Heidecker is a 30-something mom to a tiny (8-month old girl Indy), toddler (3-year old boy River) and teenager (18-year old Ella). She lives in the beautiful Hudson Valley, New York and spends winters in California. Currently on a year-long maternity leave from a career in public relations, Kate is an active board member of her local YMCA and enjoys writing and travel with her family.