Finding Balance

 I had an interesting discussion with an acquaintance the other day. After talking about our lives for awhile, she said she wished she could stay at home like me so she could "finally have a break." At first, I was a little taken aback. Does she think I'm not busy or that I just sit around all day?! But after thinking on it for awhile, I realized the true intention behind her words. {I think, anyway.} She's a momma of four and she works at a very busy office. She shuffles her kids back & forth to school and their Gramma's every day - and then to a multitude of sports, after school activities, and groups. She cooks, cleans, and cares for her household. She pays bills and rarely gets free time. I don't know very much about her husband but I know that he works and is currently taking classes of some kind. I can see that she is tired and worn out, nearing the end of her rope. What I could have taken for a snide comment was just a momma feeling weighted down, stressed, and in need of a breather. She sees me being a stay at home mom and had a "grass is greener" moment.

Do I have advice I think I could give her? Yes...but it's not my place. It's very easy for me to critique someone's life when I don't have to live it. She didn't ask for advice so I'm not going to dole it out. Isn't it funny how we can look at other people's lives and immediately see where they could fix things, but then struggle with our own? Or we think "they have it so much better than me" but then do nothing to fix that area in our own lives?

coffee always helps me find balance. :)
I originally started out today with the intention of writing about finding balance in our lives. I used to always feel like I was slipping or getting behind somewhere. There are a lot of things I'd like to do but I'm trying to let God lead me where I need to be. My main priorities and involvements at the moment are rasingin up and homeschooling the kids, taking care of our household, taking the kids to their activities and sports, and helping/spending time with my husband. We're also involved with our local political party, The Gideons, and we attend church. I really desire to delve into childbirth education training somehow but just can't see where to fit it in - so it's on the list for "sometime in the future." And of course I love writing. Time for that seems to be sporadic at best...but that's just the season of life I'm in now. So how do I achieve balance? Instead of telling YOU what YOU should be doing, I thought I'd share a few simple things that I do:

PUT DOWN THE PHONE: I got to thinking the other day about when my son was little. Smartphones weren't really a "thing" then. I had a little ancient cellphone that was for calling people. That's it. No games, no apps, no texting...just phone calls. {Ok, it might have had "Snake" on it. But that was the only game.} You called someone and then put it down. Although I love how handy my iPhone can be and how it keeps me in touch with friends/family near and far, it can also be a HUGE distraction. So instead of being glued to it, I've been taking the opportunity to put it down & enjoy the moment.

LIMIT YOUR KIDS: Now let me start off by saying I do think it's important for kids to do activities, spend time with other kids, learn, and explore. BUT that doesn't mean you have to let them do every single thing they want to do. I only have one child that is really into sports & things so far but there have already been opportunities for him to do multiple sports & groups. We limit him to one sport in the fall and one in the spring - soccer & baseball - and that works out really well for all of us. We were also presented with quite a few different groups this fall within our homeschool circle. I told Zeke he could choose one since we already had soccer and he was fine with that.

DON'T SAY MAYBE: This is a relatively new one for me but it's a difficult one. I have a very hard time telling people no, especially when they're asking for help. I was developing a tendency to say "maybe" to everything which would then turn into "yes" because I felt bad leaving people hanging. My husband actually called me out on it and I'm glad he did. You can say "no" and still have people like you, who knew?! :) The only exception to this rule is if it's something that I need to think on, that I can't (or shouldn't) make a split decision about. For those instances, I will tell the person I need to think/pray/talk about it, and then give them a definite time frame (like tomorrow, a week, etc.) for when I will give them my answer.

PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING: Phillipians 4:6 says, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (NLT) No problem or question is too small for God. Certain aspects of my life might be mundane to others or seem insignificant but God cares about them ALL regardless. Asking him where he wants me to be and what I need to do is one of the most important things I can do.

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