Monday, February 7, 2011

The B Word

Haven't written in a while about my very favorite mommy blogger topic:  the B word.

That's right, Balance.  That ever-elusive carrot, that siren who calls to us, either because the culture says we must do it all or because we recognize that things within and without are out of whack and something must change.  Thinking back on all the times I've written on this blog about trying to achieve balance, or being out of balance, is heady stuff.  I think it's almost impossible to do when you have babies, for example, because they quite simply require all of you.  Toddlers, on the other hand, require all of you plus some.  Trying to raise children, have a career, exercise, have a sex life and meaningful relationships, a creative outlet, cook healthy meals, walk the dog?  Oy and oy and oy.

I used to resent it when parents of other kids told me it would get easier.  I think I wanted some acknowledgment of how hard it is right now.  And I wasn't sure I believed them.  I see now that they were right.  It is getting easier.  We have swaths of time now where the girls entertain themselves.  Everything from trips to the grocery to dentist appointments to nights eating out is easier, physically and mechanically.

Some challenges have simply shifted, though.  Whereas we used to fight with Addie about getting her pants on in the morning (the tag is too itchy!) now we fight about doing homework at night.  Remember how long we fought with Nolie to sleep?  We've got that down now, but instead we're fighting her incessant bored cries of "There's nothing to do!"

Let me be clear on that one:  I'd much rather take sleep and have a bored kid than the other way around.  My point is that the balance issue never really goes away.  But it does ease some and it most certainly morphs.

I was thinking about this while the kids were getting ready this morning.  Eric gets the girls up and then down to breakfast while I wake up, drink coffee, and journal a little bit (yes, I'm spoiled).  Then they come upstairs and I help them get ready for school.  In-between breakfast and getting dressed, though, Addie has to have potty-time because of her constipation issues.  This can sometimes create a little bit of time-stress because we want to give her lots of relaxing time to go but at the same time she has to be dressed to get ready for school.  Most of the time we make it, but sometimes we have to hurry her a little (not on the potty--just getting dressed).

Addie does not like to be hurried.

Let me repeat:  Addie does not like to be hurried.

The more you hover, the more you press, the slower and dilly-dallier she gets.

She'll slither to the bathroom on her belly rather than walk.  See how many books she can balance on her head.  Show you a cheerleading routine, sing a song, put underwear on her head and prance around.  Anything but aim for the task you need her to do.

Being a fairly focused do-er, I have to appreciate her efforts.  I have to admire her resistance to my by-the-clock-and-calendar way of being.  And more than anything, I love it when we have enough time to allow her to dilly-dally all she likes without haranguing her to get her stuff done so we can get to school.   We can laugh together and play and not worry too much about the routine.  But that, sadly, is not most mornings.

Instead, we balance patience and impatience.  Spaces of time and hurrying.  Loving support and not-so-gentle prodding.

We're probably raising a confused maniac.

Thank you, balance, for reminding me you are my ever-elusive constant.

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