When I was working full time, balance was the buzz word. Balancing home and family life, balancing the time spent on both, and trying to be all things all the time. I struggled, as many working parents do, to be my best self in all of the scenarios. It wasn't until I had an epiphany about using the wrong word that I started to feel like I hit my stride and could be successful in both.
What was the alternative word that came to me?
Harmony is the description of what I began to strive for because no one's life can be balanced all the time. At certain points in the year/day/week, work had to take priority. At other times, my children were the priority. I did my best to put them in the right proportion and I didn't worry about putting each in their own box to be focused on when required. At the end of the day, this mental organization gave me the freedom to give what I needed to give in each situation.
Now that I'm not working, that does mean that I have fewer things to keep in harmony. Before the pandemic, I was able to be present with my kids while they weren't in school and then focus on what I wanted/needed to focus on while they were at school. During the pandemic, the kiddos are underfoot all day and require much more attention from me than formerly.
Readjusting to find balance
These changing circumstances mean that the balance has to be readjusted. I have not always known how best to adjust to these changing times, which I'm sure is an issue many people are struggling with. At first, I did try to keep us to the schedule that the boys had during school and would have again when school restarts. We aren't morning people around here and it wasn't until the temper tantrums started to increase that I looked more carefully at our schedule.
So, we started "Mental Health Mornings." We get up slowly, eat breakfast without hurrying, and we take a nice walk before we do any schoolwork. All of us are in a much better headspace after taking some gentle time to start the day. No morning people in this house!
I've had to let go of a few things I was trying to do before the pandemic, projects for the metastatic community that would really help a lot of people. I have to let go of some things because my kids need my full attention right now. That's my version of harmonizing my need to be a mother and then an advocate. I don't always do this correctly, but every day is another opportunity to work on our lives fitting together in harmony. And harmony is a beautiful thing.
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