Oh, balance, where art thou? Somewhere in the last four years (note the milestone here–four years ago was when my first son arrived!), I’ve lost hold of her. And in her place? Her evil sis, chaos, has entered. But, this doesn’t mean I haven’t fought–hard–to get my grasp back on balance. Sometimes I manage, other times I don’t. But any hard-working, super-busy mom–or any hardworking super-busy person–knows that balance isn’t something that comes easy. You have to work hard for it.
I’m far from figuring out the right equation (which is why my living room is covered in toys that need picking up, and I have a magazine article due tomorrow that will require that I stay up until midnight to get done), but I do have a few tried and true tricks that I use to keep some semblance of balance in my life. My list:
1. Exercise: While I had to temporarily give up running midway through my second trimester (it started to be very painful), after this new baby arrives in early February, I can’t wait to hit the pavement again. Running, for me, is such a mind-clearing outlet for me. There is no bad mood that a good run can’t solve. I’ve found that if I can work in a daily jog, my day improves by at least 50 percent.
2. Clean office, clean fridge, clean purse–repeat: This may sound nuts, but when one of these places gets messy, my brain gets a news alert that life is out-of-whack. I’m always shocked at how good I feel after purging the moldy cheese from the fridge or dumping out the receipts and bits of crackers (thank you to my 2 year old!) that have collected in my purse. And, about once a month I give my office a deep-clean. I swear, it makes me a better writer.
3. Keep life simple (translates into: “I have no life”): While I’d like to say I see my girlfriends often for cocktails and dinner out, or keep up with book club, or have dinner parties all the time, the truth is I’ve had to really scale back in the past few years to focus on the people and things that are most important to me. This makes me sound like a party pooper. Eeks. But, in truth, as a hands-on mama (who will soon have three boys under the age of 4) and more-than-full-time writer, I just had to clear the clutter. While I miss all the PR events, lunch dates, press trips (saying no thanks to a trip to Tuscany earlier this year was torture), girls-night-outs, etc., I do find peace in keeping my schedule simple. This helps me breathe.
4. Take a hot bath: When all else fails, I hit the tub. I find that when I’m up to my neck in stress, with no relief in sight, there’s nothing like a hot bath to recenter yourself–especially if that hot bath includes a glass of wine (or in my pregnant state–a cup of herbal tea), dim lights, a candle burning, and lavender bath salts. I emerge feeling like I haven’t lost it after all.
What’s on your stay-balanced list?
6 Replies to “4 Things That Help Deb Sarah Feel Balanced (Even When She’s Not)”
It is possible we’re sharing a life… except since I have just one child and she’s a daughter, my version has far fewer penises in it.
When I manage to stick with your four bullet points, I also feel much, much saner and more together. Lately I’ve been letting #2 slide though, and after a long and nasty cold, I’m finally getting back to #1, which makes all the difference in the world.
I’m also staring at a living room covered with toys, and I’ll be up well past midnight finishing a script due tomorrow.
Raising a giant mug of coffee to you, Deb Sistah!
I feel somewhat saner when I can find my kids’ shoes, so I’m adamant about them putting their shoes right in the hall closet when they come home. My other “thing” is much less anal retentive: I try to make my kids laugh at least once a day. It often happens by accident when I say something stupid, but I just pretend I did whatever it was on purpose.
My chargers. All these damn chargers. Phone. Headset. Stiletto. Car version. Home version. I feel balanced when everything is charged.
I want to say a big amen to the idea of saying no- even to things that you might want to do. It is so easy to fill my schedule and sometimes I have to remind myself that the gift of space in my calendar is a very good thing.
I need to learn #3. I hate turning down potential adventures, but then I end up with a wonderfully full calendar and no time to do anything else.
I definitely feel it when I don’t exercise, but that doesn’t always translate in my going to the gym. I think I am going to hire you as my life coach. Because you have so much spare time. 🙂
I bow to all of you who manage to juggle the whole kids/job/writing career thing. I can barely dress myself each morning, let alone a bunch of other people.
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