Though we love our partners and our children with our hearts and souls, the strength of our love is not always enough to achieve balance in our lives. In fact, our love and willingness to give them our best can actually foster imbalance if we don’t make conscious choices to take care of ourselves and nurture the individual relationships within the family.
Achieving balance is always a work in progress, but here are five choices that I have been making to strive for balance in my life:
1. Monthly Date Nights
Hubby and I have instituted monthly date nights, and we have made arrangements with Baby’s three sets of grandparents to rotate through the months as caregivers. We’re very thankful that these out of state family members are willing to make the drive to help us out with this. My husband and I have realized that as much as we love Baby and as hard as it can be – especially for me as a SAHM – to leave him for a few hours, having the time to focus on us as a couple is important – and fun! Honoring ourselves as husband and wife, instead of just Dada and Mama, helps us remember and recognize other facets of our identities.
2. Take Your Children Out With You
We love our monthly date nights, but we don’t want those nights to be the only time we get out to do something a little different with our evenings. This choice often makes us that couple – the only couple with the baby in tow at the holiday party or at Saturday night dinner out with friends – but we’re more than happy to have that status. We love having Baby with us, and beyond that, we think it’s good for Baby as he has learned to be comfortable in a variety of situations. We get to have more fun as a family, and we don’t ever have to hold ourselves back from checking out a new restaurant or seeing friends. This honors our need for variety and new social experiences, both as individuals and as a family.
3. Get Outside
We try to spend some time outside almost every day if possible. Fresh air does wonders for the soul, and I feel like it gives both Baby and I some time to decompress. We’ll do a little singing as we walk, but often much of our long walk is made up of comfortable and soothing silence. Baby dozes a bit, I can hear myself think, and we’re given a break from the mindset that we often get into of What can we play with next? What chore or aspect of blogging can I squeeze in while Baby entertains himself for a bit? When do I have to change or feed Baby next?
The monkey mind rests, I get some exercise, and we both enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings. This honors our needs for some peace and quiet.
4. Go With It
Very often, I have a long daily to do list which I have assigned myself, and I feel pressure to get these things done. Of course, Baby has no idea what’s on my to do list and he has other plans for the day. Whenever possible, I try to follow his lead. When I deem this as my priority, it provides me with a respite from that list and it reminds me of what is truly most important. The to do list can almost always wait, but I’ll never get back these precious moments with my son. I honor the gift of time because we’ll never have as much of it as we like, so I balance that by spending as much of it as possible in happy moments with my sweet boy.
5. Treat Yourself to Alone Time
Hubby and I try to do something at least once a week where we take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to do something that we enjoy. For my husband it might be leaving work a half hour early to do a P90X workout at home, and I might take a dance class. Sometimes we both get into bed early to read our books and snuggle, partaking in the wonderful concept of alone time together. We honor our needs for activities that we enjoy as individuals and also set the example for Baby that it will always be important to take time to enjoy yourself and pursue activities that make you happy.
Photo credit: Author