People often ask me how I strike the balance between kids and work/play/home life etc.
What is this balance you speak of, I always riposte back.
I admit to being stumped by the question and I wonder what my own mother’s response would have been as a non-driver Stay at Home Parent to 8 children. We lived three miles outside town and didn’t have a phone in the house until we were teenagers. It was also pre-internet era.
I would put money on her answer being, “we just got on with it” or “two feet on the ground and arse to the wind!”
I know I didn’t have balance when we had our first three children. I jumped straight into the deep end and I stayed there.
I had taken a huge step back from the social scene and my only other outlet was with family members, attending my wonderful breast feeding meet up once a week and various on-line support groups.
Looking back I wasn’t sinking per se but I definitely wasn’t swimming well either.
I just bob, bob, bobbed along.
I considered myself lucky that mothering my babies was all I had to do. I wasn’t returning to work.
I did experience deep and dark moments of depression but without entering into that here, they passed of their own accord.
When I was pregnant with our fourth son, I wasn’t in great form at the fifth month. I was also anxious about post natal depression returning when the baby was born.
Thankfully, I was ok. Our fourth fella was a great sleeper from that fabled 6 – 8 weeks milestone. When he was four months old I decided to do something about the baby weight that was stubbornly hanging around since baby number two.
This is where I found my balance I think. In the form of exercise.
When I started walking to lose some weight, I took to it like a duck to water. There is such a thing as muscle memory and I believe my body was kicked into touch with a little daily exercise.
The dormant memories of what it was like to raise my heart beat a little and swing my arms, stretched and woke up.
After a while the seed to try running my circuit was planted and today, almost two and a half years later I run regularly.
I never saw myself running for anything except maybe a bus and I really surprised myself.
I run because I love it.
Another obvious and very satisfying benefit is I am now a little over three stone lighter.
I also write a blog, have a weekly column in a local newspaper and contribute regularly to Irish parenting magazines.
I experience regular frustration and resentment because it is hard to find the time to write with four boisterous boys whose own hobbies are demanding my attention. To have three hours a couple of mornings a week just to devote to writing would be nothing short of luxurious.
If I am to be completely honest however, I know I wouldn’t be satisfied with just three mornings a week.
I would quite happily spend all day every day in front of the computer.
But that wouldn’t be a balance at all.
This year we will have another boy starting school and I have great plans for at least two of those previously mentioned mornings.
Looks like that balance just might be mine after all.
Thinking about it, it seems I didn’t find a balance; the balance found me.