|Image credit nerdcoregirl on Flickr|
Finding the Balance
For many years, I made a yearly trek to San Diego for my summer “fix” to beat the Arizona heat. Each year I would seek out a gentle fellow who spent his days at Sea Port Village on the rocky portion of the beach using rocks and boulders of all shapes and sizes to make formations. He spent hours and hours of each day balancing enormous boulders atop of very small stones in what all seemed to be a mish-mash of shapes, sizes, and textures. What he was doing seemed an impossible feat. It also seemed an impractical task! How could he balance these unwieldy rocks and why? One day, in the middle of the normal hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, his vocation and message became increasingly clear to me.
The secret to a successful life, of managing all of the impossible tasks of parenthood, the obstacles, the odd assortment of delays, challenges, frustrations, and the simple daily trials of parenting, was in FINDING AND MAINTAINING THE BALANCE. This is what made this rock building man successful at what he was doing. He had clearly found the balance in what seemed like an impossible task. In order for us as parents to be truly successful in everything we do, it is imperative that we find the balance and harmony in our daily lives.
Finding and maintaining the balance in our everyday lives sometimes requires conscious choices and making changes within our lifestyles. There are many ways to make these changes by simply incorporating them into daily routines.
- When playing with my child, I purposely created stimulating times as well as, times that were soothing. This freed me from the having to make and keep rules about being too wild, getting the house too messy, or monitoring the “loud factor”. It also provided me with the tranquil times to honor the peace within me and to recognize the gentleness of my daughter’s own peace.
- I made the time to appreciate myself the way I appreciated others. Candle-lit bubble baths often seemed to help me realize how special I really was!
- I began to plan times for messy activities as well as, times to “clean up the house”. Setting a specific time for giant mess-making granted permission for both my daughter and for me, to experiment, explore, and learn about what made things tick. Sometimes, there is simply a need to just have silly fun with your children.
- I purposely took the time to appreciate and recognize my active daughter for the wonder that she was, as well as, appreciating the time she was sitting quietly.
- I made time to be with others and scheduled time to be alone. Just as purposefully as I made time to work, I found time to play. I turned off the phone during dinner and drew a sharp line of distinction between my work “family” and my home family.
- When I played with my daughter, I tried to remember the importance of both talking and listening.
It was more difficult to recognize the importance of sharing myself but not giving my whole self away without replenishing. It needs to be an ever-constant assignment for each parent to continue to practice until we get it right. Practice using yourself, without using yourself up.
I gave myself permission to know that sometimes I would be right and sometimes I would be wrong. It is all OK.
I began to allow myself and my daughter the opportunity to share ALL emotions; finding the balance of appropriate and harmful displays of those emotions.
I tried to remember to pay special recognition of my child’s joy, but also tried to take time to recognize a poignant or wistful time too.
I enjoyed those occasions that I was able to teach my daughter, and equally, if not more, cherished the times I had to learn from her.
Years passed until I had the opportunity to look again for the steady and balanced builder in Sea Port Village. To my personal disappointment, I discovered he was no longer there. I can only believe that he finally found his perfect balance and did not need to sit down in his rocky alcove anymore.
Finding my own perfect balance continues to take practice and is a highly personal experience. What worked for me as a young parent has shifted, changed, and been modified at times especially during my daughter’s adolescent years. She is now away from home; a young mommy herself. I am a Grandmother. Once again, I find the need to seek to find my own inner balance. However, I am confident, that like the gentle man at Sea Port Village, when we need to allow ourselves the time, the patience, and the opportunity, we can and do find it…somewhere under our own little pile of rocks.
Shelley is the author of Little Bird You are Perfect and numerous articles on parenting and enjoying life. You can find her on Facebook, where she is constantly offering up encouragement and inspiration. <3 I am so grateful for her voice of peace, love and joy in my life! <3