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Archive for May, 2009

When you were young, did you ever play on a teeter totter with a friend?  Ever have one of those moments when you were smiling gleefully with your end as high as it would go and have your friend, or a sibling, jump off the lower end sending you crashing to the ground?  Some kind of injury or trauma was almost inevitable — along with a strong desire to get that friend back on the seesaw so you could seek revenge!

This is a great metaphor for the balancing act parents do.  What may have once felt like harmony in your household can easily teeter out of control when the blessing of a child enters in.  All of a sudden, the best laid plans can disintigrate because a child falls ill, has a report due in school, is being bullied, or just simply wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.  You feel your end of the teeter totter rising as unpredictability sits taunting you precariously on the lower side.

Balancing life as a parent can certainly seem challenging. .  all right, it’s downright difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Creating balance in your life is even more important as a parent because you are teaching your child(ren) how to live– be it in balance, chaos or paralyzed.  And just like that 4 foot crash on the playground, if balance is not maintained in the household, trauma, injury, or other seemingly bad things tend to occur to force everyone back into balance.

The child who is stressed out at school and not finding any down time will ultimately get sick forcing them to rest.  The child getting perpetually bullied, will eventually take charge, but it will be out of balance and result in some time of punishment.

Here’s the thing. . . balance doesn’t mean equal.  Just like the teeter totter, the most fun was achieved when the players worked in tandem going up and down, traveling slightly above and slightly below the point of balance.  As the parent or caregiver you do not need to ensure that for every hour your child is in school you spend an equal number of hours hugging him or her.  Balance does entail checking in with your heart and only accepting those responsibilities that bring you joy.  Yes, as adults and parents we do have obligations. But if you are honest, most of the basic obligations (clothe, feed, educate and love yourself and your child) bring you joy.  It’s just sometimes hard to see that joy when your plate is filled with choices you’ve made that make you feel overwhelmed.   As you engage in this behavior of joyful and balanced living, so too will your children.

Tips for Living in Balance:

1.  Look at all your obligations.  Which ones no longer make you feel happy or joyous?

2.  Resign from committees, clubs, social organizations, PTA or any other group that no longer serves your heart.  It may seem daunting, but consider that if you are grudgingly taking up space, then someone who would be joyful doing it cannot step in.  No one is irreplaceable.

3.  Are there things you enjoy doing but have set them aside as prizes for other accomplishments?  ie.  I’ll take that vacation when I lose 20 pounds.  Check your motivation and recognize that you are depriving yourself which is as out of balance as overwhelming yourself.

4.  Start and end everyday with a smile.

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