The elusive “balance.”
It’s a state of living that all of us moms seem to be striving for, but so often feel that it’s just out of reach. There are days when it feels like we have finally achieved it, and then the next day it feels like all is lost.
The promise that comes with a balanced life is to feel like you are never rushing. There is no more exhaustion – no more burning the candle at both ends trying to get everything done. In a balanced life we can do everything we want to do for our families while still having time to rest, relax, and recharge. Each member of the family feels loved and connected as each of their needs are met. In a word, everyone is happy.
So we look for answers to our burning questions. What’s the perfect chore routine? How often do you go on dates with your husband? What do you do to spend more time with your kids? How can I make quick and delicious healthy meals? What do you do during naps? How do you find time to relax? …and the list goes on.
In an effort to find this balance you try routine after routine, meal plan after meal plan. While they are great, they still don’t fully fit into your lifestyle. There is always something you have to tweak or change, and still you are not fully happy with the outcome.
The process of finding balance is full of giving and taking. Giving time to some things, while taking time from others in the hopes that you will happen upon the perfect balance where no one and nothing is left out.
What if we had it all wrong?
Balance is not about focusing on getting everything in your schedule, it’s not really even about the things that need to be done. Instead, balance is found by focusing on the relationships in your life in their correct order.
This is what it means to live out a well-ordered life.
It is living out life in response to the top 4 priorities that every Christian mother should have: 1) God, 2) Self-Stewardship, 3) Husband, 4) Children. In that order. To do so, we have to understand the role that each of these priorities play in our lives. Exactly how it plays out is going to look different for everyone.
God is our creator. He made us and wants to have a relationship with us. It is Him we trust when life goes sideways. But how can we trust Him if we don’t even have a relationship with Him? In the end, He is the only one we will answer to. It is through Him that we must live out our lives in accordance with our Faith. To have a relationship with Him, we must take the time to spend time with Him. Not only that, but to make Him part of each moment of every day and not just an afterthought.
Prayer and making time for God is part of self-stewardship because we are both spirit and flesh. You could be doing all the right things to take care of your body, but your soul may be withering. Chances are, you are probably finding it difficult to do either. You may not even fully appreciate just how important it is to take care of yourself. I’ve found that when I listen to the needs of both my soul and my body, I’m able to be a more patient mother, a more loving wife, and a more attentive friend. For example: I’ve learned that if I try to push through when I get exhausted that nothing really gets done and I’m snapping at my children for every little thing. However, if I allow myself a 20-30 minute nap, I’m able to come back to what I was doing with better focus and with a renewed and refreshed ability to take care of my children as well.
So often I see women putting their children before their husbands, which ends up causing discord, bitterness, and envy. We must first choose to love our husbands and build a strong marriage in order to have a strong, unified family. When children see their parents constantly at odds with and undermining one another, they start to lose respect for one or both parents. Strong communication and the practice of seeking to understand the other’s perspective go a long way in building that strong relationship. Practice actually listening to your spouse’s words before you speak. Talk about your dreams, your joys, and your worries. Offer insight to your own perspective with humility. Make a point to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.” Marriage is not easy – it takes a lot of dying to oneself – but the fruit of a happy marriage is totally worth it, and provides a strong foundation for your children’s lives.
Focusing on the above four priorities is one of the best ways to make your children a priority. Although the focus isn’t directly on them, it is through your example of Faith, Self-Stewardship, and Love that they in turn learn how to live. They learn by your example how to love God and how to love their neighbor. Everything else that we do for our children just reinforces that. The love that you share with your husband is also now shared with them. They are in your care to love and nurture. As children, they are learning right from wrong. They are learning how to respond to the world around them. Life isn’t about how many places they get to go, how many activities they get to do, or how many toys they accumulate. It’s about learning how to love well, and discerning which of those other things will help your child toward that end.
The tools and resources that you have accumulated are still useful, but they aren’t the purpose.
As you create your routines and your schedules, remember to make these priorities the reason for the task. Set aside some time for prayer. Know when to take a break before you burn out. Put a date on your calendar to have some alone time with your husband. Look into your child’s eyes as they are showing you their newest creation.
There are seasons in life where you are going to have to say no to more outside things, and that’s okay. There are other seasons where you will need to add something on, and that’s okay too. The key is to make sure that it is for the right reasons and with the right focus. Ask yourself, why am I doing this? Is there any feeling of guilt if I choose not to do it? Where is that guilt coming from?
Since we are human and live in a fallen world, I can’t promise that you are now set to experience a completely balanced life for the rest of your life. There will always be seasons of change and seasons of growth. However, if you keep these priorities in mind, you will be able to achieve a better state of balance that brings a greater sense of fulfillment in your life and confidence in each decision that you make.
The most difficult part of this process is not creating the system, but in carrying it out day to day. When you first begin this journey of living a well-ordered life, it’s easy to start second guessing yourself and become discouraged. So I’m here to walk with you, shoulder to shoulder, on this journey through one to one coaching. I will be with you with each new exciting discovery and development of peace within yourself, as well on those days where you start to question if you are really cut out for motherhood. Will you let me walk with you? Click here for more information on how 12 weeks can completely transform your life.