Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Striking a Balance
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.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post Gwen! I have been so tempted to start running every time you mention it. I might yet!!