This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
There are a few things I already really love to do, and others I'd love to get better at: practicing yoga, reading good books, cooking delicious foods, crocheting, taking time for meditation, working in my garden, and writing.
I'm discovering that, naturally, I am finding less time to do the things I enjoy for me since my son came into this world. I also find that it doesn't take long for a past-time I love to start feeling like just another chore on the endless list of things I need to do: I have to cook dinner tonight, I need to crochet a gift for someone by a certain deadline, I should be doing yoga more regularly for fitness.
I get little glimpses of that peaceful, centered feeling I enjoy when I'm doing something I love: when I'm kneading bread dough or harvesting a vegetable I grew so I can chop it up and cook it for tonight's dinner. But those moments are so fleeting—and also far between, it seems.
I'm finding lately that between trying to help Daniel get enough sleep throughout the day, and slowly chipping away at the never-ending "To-Do" list, there's barely enough time left over for showers and breakfast, much less reading for pleasure and finding a quiet, peaceful space (in my mind and in my home) for meditation. If I don't take enough time for me, I have much more trouble coping and being an effective parent when I face more challenging times with Daniel. If I do take some time to do something that I like, I usually either end up feeling guilty for not spending that time with my kid, or the joyful activity begins to feel like just one more thing I have to do today. Plus, when exactly am I supposed to be taking time for myself?
I know we can only do so much for other people while neglecting ourselves before everything falls apart. After all, there's a very good reason the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. And yet, this seems to be something that I—and plenty of other women, mothers, and those of us who have chosen other "caring professions"—struggle with constantly. I'm doing my best to take care of my child, but who's taking care of me?
And so, since I obviously have no answers on this one, I pose these questions to all of you who seem to have it figured out: How do you do it? How do you get through your day feeling like you've been a "good enough" parent and still do the things you love to do so you can feel like a good, whole person, too? How do you keep your home, clothes, and dishes clean and still feel refreshed in your mind and body? How do you accomplish all the important things and still get enough sleep?
Please, teach me how. I need to learn.
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)