Friday, January 23, 2009

A Lesson in Balance

The first year of each of my children’s lives I have spent the majority of my time with them.

With M, I was pumping every 2-3 hours to get enough milk to feed her for the first 6 months of her life. The one time I tried to go out during her first 6 months the restaurant service was slow and Craig and I ended up leaving the restaurant early so I could go home to pump. The exit was filled with frustrated tears for me. I was a new mom and unsure what was acceptable and what my baby could be expected to endure in my absence.

I don’t remember if she was in dire need of milk when we returned that night. I doubt that she was any worse for wear. Knowing how Miss M is these days she was probably happy that we were gone and she had someone else to interact with for a while.

But it wasn’t just then that I felt the pressure of the pump. It was often during those six months. In hindsight, I probably should have dropped to not pumping as often after a few months, but I was also freezing any extra milk which then allowed us to give M breast milk for about 7 months, even after I stopped pumping.

With my son, he took to nursing immediately. The first year or so I was still attached to a baby, but he traveled easier than his older sister had. He attended a Wiggles concert less than 2 weeks after his birth and I was able to just feed him at the concert as needed.

Nursing was both liberating and confining for me.

It takes me about a year to adjust to life with a new child, but slowly, throughout that year, I return to the things that bring me joy besides life with my husband and children.

So what am I slowly returning to now that Ms. D is 8 months old?

I make cards for my etsy shop. I scrapbook. I read real books and sometimes they aren’t even classified as romance or women’s lit. I write for my several blogs. I write for my novel-in-progress.

In the past I have scheduled Mom’s Night Out for a Yahoo group I started several years ago for my city, but I haven’t done that in a long time.

Maybe when/if D starts to eat more baby food than a spoonful or two at a time I will be able to venture out more again!

As tempting as it is to take care of everyone but yourself, what do you do to strike a balance in your life?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by BOCA.

Still looking for more participants and more sponsors for the Aweigh Weight-Loss Challenge! Starts officially on Monday!

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Kate said...

Ah yes, balance. Where do mothers every find that right? For me, it's giving myself ample time for artistic pursuits. It makes me a much better mom when I can at least get a couple hours to myself on the weekends. But it's tough when the kids are young.

Nap Warden said...

Good Lord...I am so far away from balance! I am exhausted:P

Damselfly said...

Balance is a tough thing. I think holding onto your hobbies and getting out definitely help, even if you can do that only a little bit at first after a new baby.

Madeline said...

The one year mark does seem to be the magic number. My little one is nearing 15 months, and it was at about a year that I began to feel more like I had it together and could keep it together.

for a different kind of girl said...

It's still a work in progress for me, and my kids are much older. My husband often takes the boys for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday and does something with them, and I now use those few hours to read or watch a movie that I want to watch. I used to use that time to clean or do laundry, and decided that was effective, but it wasn't calming. There are weeks I really look forward to those few hours!

Heather said...

Baking. I can always come up with a reason why I don't have time to do it, but it gives me just the right length of time to relax, and always has a tasty end!

angi said...

For me it is getting some time out of the house - even if it is just going to the grocery alone. I also feel like crafting & baking help me do something I enjoy, even with the kids (when I am feeling patient)! :)

Alex Elliot said...

Working out, but my younger one was a year before I could really do it on a regular basis.

louann said...

I find it impossible to find balance during the 1st year of a child. I have learned to accept that it really is that way. It can get crazy though.

chelle said...

It is funny how you say it takes you a year after the baby is born to get back into the full swing of things. That is so true for me too. In fact, I was just settling into that when we got pregnant again. weeee!

I do get out and swim twice a week. I blog and create as much as my energy can muster.

Cool post!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

My life is out of balance lately. It's hard to find it - and maintain it ... and I have 3 teens!

Wendy said...

There is no balance here. It is sorely out of balance in fact. Thomas works very long hours, so I'm here alone with the kids day and night. If that's not enough, apparently my job is also taking care of a grown man.

I want to do the aweigh challenge! What do I need to do? Can you email me or tell me on twitter? (email is

Mandy said...

I haven't really felt like myself or the same since I have had kids. I love my life with them now, but you do have to find time and balance when there is a change. You will get there, then you will have to do some adjusting!!

Kara said...

I don't know that I have complete balance, but I like to work out, read, bake, cook, hang out with friends/family when I'm not tending to my family's needs. It is nice to occasionally do something for yourself.

susiej said...

Balance.... yoga... balance poses. My sanity.

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