Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balanced Living

Is there such a thing as balanced living?  Hopefully you are not searching for the answer to this question on my blog because I am not sure I have the answer!  Hearing the word balanced and life in the same sentence seems a little crazy to me while living in the world we live in.  We as women try so hard to balance a ton of different things in our lives and we often feel put to shame when we read or hear about what other women are doing...or when we we hear things that we are "suppose" to be doing each day.  I thought it would be humorous to list out a typical day doing things of what we think or hear are required of us.  Feel free to add some in the comment section (I'm sure there are many that I missed).  The day I am mocking up is what my day would look like (and maybe other moms) if I tried to accomplish what I've heard are things worthy of completing each day.

Kiss spouse good morning (sex starts in the kitchen)
Put dog out
Quiet time/prayer time and devotion (putting God first)
Workout +drink 1- 8 ounce glass of water (keeps you healthy)
Poop (less headaches and clean system)
Shower and shave (good hygiene)
Lotion body especially stretched marked areas and dry patches (helps skin elasticity)
Get ready for the day- brush teeth, cleanse, exfoliate, tone, moisturize, cover (keeps face clean and pores small) +drink 2 cups of coffee (high in antioxidents, helps lower risk of diabetes, parkinsons, and colon cancer)
Happily greet waking children and allow time for a little love
Take child #1 potty, change child #2's diaper (avoids a mess, rash, and/or smell)
Dress 2 children (helps them establish routine)
Feed children (keeps them from malnutrition)
Feed self (Fruit smoothie - check off 3 servings of fruit, 2 servings of protein and 1 serving of dairy off of my balanced diet for the day)
Take vitamin
Clean up breakfast dishes from breakfast +drink 2nd 8 ounce glass of water
Load of Laundry
Take child #1 potty, change child #2's diaper
Put dog out
Snack (2 crackers and one ounce of cheese - check off a serving of grain and a serving of dairy from balanced diet)
Play with children (prevents negleted children) +drink 3rd 8 ounce glass of water
Make and eat lunch (Sandwich and 2 cups of cooked veggies - check off 2 servings of grain and veggies for the day, check off one serving of meat) +drink 4th 8 ounce glass of water
Take child #1 potty, change child #2's diaper
Clean something
Get the mail (get some fresh air)
Put dog out
{Nap time for the kids - 2 hours maybe to get the following done:} +drink 5th 8 ounce glass of water
     Pray (putting God first)
     Journal (documents memories for family)
     Couponing (saves family money)
     Important phone calls (while it's quiet)
     Email/Internet time (which saves mom from break down) +Kegels (not going there...)
     Prepare/cook dinner (which saves mom's insanity from cooking when kids are up and hungry)
Take child #1 potty, change child #2's diaper
Snack (An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and 2 crackers with ounce of cheese - check off fruit and dairy for the day)
Play with kids + drink 6th 8 ounce glass of water
Greet "daddy" with a kiss when he comes home from work.  Ask him how his day was. (encourages Golden Rule)
Feed everyone dinner +drink 7th 8ounce glass of water (cup of pasta, 1-2 cups of veggies, garlic bread - completes bread and grain and veggie part of balanced diet)
Clean up dinner dishes
Take child #1 potty, change child #2's diaper
Put dog out
Bathe two kids and get them ready for bed (hygeine and routine...again)
Eat a fun snack - anything (prevents you from ditchin the balanced diet)+drink 8th 8ounce glass of water
Play with kids
Start bedtime routine with kids (brush teeth, potty/change diaper, drink of water, kiss dad, kiss dog, read devotion, pray)
Communicate and encourage spouse (prevents marriage from going separate ways)
Put child #1 back in bed
Clean up and prepare for tomorrow (getting coffee ready, make lunch for spouse/self)
Put dog out
Put child #1 back in bed (provides opportunity for love on child)
Get ready for bed - brush teeth, floss, cleanse, tone, moisturize face, pluck a few unwanted hairs (prevents loss of teeth, gain of wrinkles and becoming the wooly mammoth mom)
Devotion and prayer time with spouse (putting God first in your marriage)
Put child #1 back in bed (provides opportunity for patience building)
Sleep with spouse (prevents affair)
Put child #1 back in bed (provides opportunity for consistency)
Always kiss spouse goodnight and say "I love you"
Don't go to bed mad.

Phew...I'm tired..and I'm still hungry.  Did I miss anything? (leave comments) If I just go through this list and calculate quickly how much time I think this all takes...it's probably around 10 hours.  Okay...sounds semi-do-able...but this doesn't count for the interruptions we recieve during the day, any volunteering or activities we do, grocery shopping, and other errands.  Saying "balanced life" is as silly as saying "jumbo shrimp" or "fat-free ice cream"...is there really such a thing?  I know for me, when things are not running smoothly, I try to find some way to escape...usually these are unhealthy methods of escape.  Karen Hill (best selling children's author) says "When we women feel compelled to keep everything running smoothly and to solve everyone's problems, we overlook our own emotional, spiritual, and physical health.  It's then we are tempted into unhealthy methods of escape.  Sometimes rest or play is the holiest of choices.  A balance of being and doing is the key..."  I know I have used lots of unhealthy methods of escaping in the past (such as drinking, smoking, gossiping, rage at children, shopping and spending money unwisely, and watching reality TV to escape from reality).  A book I am reading right now says we need to make sure we are being realistic when it comes to balancing our lives. The book is called "Praying for Purpose" by Katie Brazelton. Katie says "Simply ask yourself:  Is my life balanced enough to hear God's plan for my life and carry out what he'd like me to do?  Some days will be better than others, but each day is a brand-new day.  Try to make balance more of a habit than an expectation.  Aim for a simple lifestyle and a content heart." 

So...it comes down to being a little more realistic...which I'd say that women aren't normally naturals at.  We are more emotional than realistic, right?  But with God's help, we can better balance our lives.  I feel like starting my day out with God in quiet and prayer time always helps me get off to a great start.  He always gives me focus and helps me organize my day in the best way to make everyone happy - including myself - which leads to some healthy escape options...like writing on the blog, rest, or play.

Doing a devotional with Reece each night has brought me back to the basics.  A couple of weeks ago we read one about the fruits of the spirit.  This is something I hadn't looked at in a long time (probably since I was a child) and it really convicted me.  It says in the book that someone who believes in Jesus has special fruit in her life.  It says that sometimes the "fruit" is hard to see because the "leaves" (person, sin) hides it.  It says if you look carefully you should see "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal 5:22).

When I looked at these fruits all individually (go back and read them slowly) and asked myself if someone could see those in me, the answer I came to was "no...those are not always present in my life"  I want people to see those when they look carefully at me, but it is not realistic that they will always be present as I am human When I evaluated my situation, I came to the conclusion that those things are less evident in my life when I try to balance too many things.  However, if I maintain better balance in my life by focusing on...say top three domains in my life and allow for a reasonable amount of downtime, these things should be evident in my life.  Which leads me to my tip for this week:  Measure balance in your life by the fruits of the spirit being evident in your life.

I leave you this week with the following verse.  I love this verse and have it up in my kitchen!  This partnered with living out the fruits of the spirit keep me going and in check.

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way to go, for to you I lift up my soul"  Psalm 143:8


Anonymous said...

VERY VERY good and inspiring.

Question: Wow, do you do all that facial maintenance daily/nightly seriously?!?!?!?!?!? I'm impressed if so. I'm lucky if I wash my face once a day. Wow. Speechless.

I might print this. I like it. I'm thinking it might help me balance things out. I've spent most this morning cleaning/organzing, putting lots of things in places I'm running out of (room). Yikes. Better go because of this.

p.s. get rid of the dog ; )

p.p.s. you crack me up!

My Front Porch Looking In said...

This was encouraging and inspiring. I am reading a book right now called "A Woman's Guide to a Balanced Life" and this just fits right in with what she is saying. I appreciate your honest and transparency. Thanks for the encouragement.

Lindsay Bauer said...

Thanks, ladies!
Amberly, yes...I do cleanse, tone, moisturize, cover face every morning and night (minus cover and moisturize at night - oily skin) and exfoliate twice a week. I was taught this at a very young age...had some slight acne issues and oily skin...has helped me tremedously, don't you think? :) You have nice skin though so you probably don't have to worry about it! I wouldn't use what I wrote as what to do each day though! It's kind of what I do but suppose to be funny. I actually do alot more in my day really if you think about running errands, picking up tupperware and pots and pans 6 times a day, and other cleaning, bible studies, moms committee, moms group...the list goes on and on!!