Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
As a working mom of a two and a half year old son who strongly believes in attachment parenting, it’s not always easy to achieve balance in my life. Throw my pregnancy into the mix (currently at 29.5 wks!), and there is not much time left for ME at the end of the day. However, there are some things that I do that help me stay centered and calm. They are as follows:
- Exercising – I’ve been trying very hard to carve out time to exercise lately. It’s important always, but especially important now that I’m pregnant. Going for a walk outside for 30 min is restorative to both my mind and body. I try to go every other day. I’ve also been trying to be more disciplined about yoga – I try to practice yoga for 20 mins a day at home and then attend one group class a week. I should add that I don’t always meet my exercising goals, since life (and my desire to sleep) can get in the way. Part of balancing for me is not beating myself up when I don’t exercise!
- Honoring my interests – One of my passions is helping breastfeeding moms. I became involved with La Leche League about two years ago, and have since become a leader. Becoming accredited as a leader and now being a leader has been a great way for me to pursue my interests in parenting and breastfeeding issues. Leading meetings has been a great way to meet other moms and to learn from them, in addition to helping them.
- Adopting an early bedtime – In the last month or so we have dropped Dylan’s nap, which leads to a wonderful, heavenly, struggle-free bedtime. This early bedtime leaves time for me to enjoy a few hours of quiet time in the evenings before I go to sleep. I have spent this time watching movies on the couch with Jake, going for a walk, going out for dinner, cooking and doing laundry. Now the cooking and doing laundry don’t sound so exciting, but I actually enjoy doing both in peace and quiet in the evening without a toddler hanging on to my leg, making everything take 3 times as long. Plus, when I get these things out of the way, I have more quality time to spend with Dylan when he is awake!
- Asking for help – I truly believe that we are not meant to raise children alone. Every mom needs help from others in order to stay sane, as demands from children can be extremely overwhelming. I could probably be better at asking for help from others, especially since I love spending time and taking care of Dylan. Some ways that I ask for help include the following: asking Jake to wake up in the morning and play with Dylan while I catch an extra hour or two of sleep, asking my mom to watch Dylan for a couple of hours while Jake and I go out for dinner, going over to my parents’ house and having Dylan play with my mom and dad while I read the newspaper or just watch TV. The wonderful thing is that when I actually let other people help me with Dylan, they nurture their own relationship with him, which is truly enriching to Dylan!
- Sharing household and child-related work – Jake and I both work, so it’s only fair that we share household and child-related work. I am truly blessed with a wonderful husband who helps me with the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, amongst other tasks. I should add that Jake also is a wonderful father who takes and picks up Dylan from school most days, plays with Dylan, gives him a bath each night and much much more. I definitely wouldn’t be sane without his help!
All in all, I believe that I retain some semblance of balance in my life, despite our sometimes crazy and hectic work and life schedules. There is always room for improvement in any of the above mentioned ideas, and I’m sure when baby #2 enters our lives my balance will be thrown out of whack for a while. However, an integral part of my personal mental balance is enjoying the time I spend with Dylan, rather than seeing it as a chore. I know now how fast the first few years can go by, and I hope to enjoy each (or maybe most!) moment with the new baby, knowing that the time when my kids are little and needy is both precious and fleeting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)