I’m excited to feature a guest post from wise and talented blogger Ida Mae West-Simone of A Vision For Our Kids. Ida Mae is a teacher and reading advocate, currently teaching special education to Junior Kindergarten to grade three students. She has a 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, and knows more than a little about what it’s like to do the daily juggle. Ida Mae blogs about life experience, literacy and conscious parenting, adding insight, humour and gratitude. Read to the bottom of this post for details on how to get in touch with her.
Welcome, Ida Mae!
The Elusive Quest for Balance in Difficult Times
There are times when I consider myself to be a fairly balanced person. It’s an illusion really. I felt especially good about it after agreeing to do a guest post here on The Brighter Side of Life. How flattering is that? One of my favourite bloggers asked me to write on her blog?! That went into my gratitude journal right away.
It’s been a difficult year. Our family has been struggling and I had a new position at school. I have been pouring anxiety into my work and writing resulting in very little sleep.
Could I be that woman?
I thought this was me on the third last day of school, and ended up going straight from school to the emergency room. Tests confirmed that anxiety, not a heart attack, is haunting me again.
I question if I am qualified to write about balance when I struggle with it so much. I write about its virtues, encourage it in our children and even write my students’ individual education plans (‘I.E.P.s’) with it in mind. I came up with our business name ‘Well-Rounded Kids’. Many people think of me as a well-rounded person.
Achieving balance in my life is my most long-standing challenge. At the best of times, it is a struggle for me just to leave what I am working on and go to bed. Last night, I got on a roll reorganizing my blog and saw three a.m. The night before that, I was up past two. Why? The house was quiet with everyone finally asleep, and it made sense at the time.
I promised myself I would get some exercise every day while off on summer holidays. I even rigged up a shelf across the handlebars of my treadmill for my laptop. Yet I sit here shivering in my office, tired, with a headache and stiff neck (knowing full well that exercise will help me break this cycle).
I’ve been here before, and I’ll be here again. Here is what I have learned:
Today is another day and tonight is another night. I can start fresh any time. If I get angry at myself, start ‘shoulding’ myself, say ‘no’ to the kids when they invite me to join them, my actions will only make me feel worse later and compound the problem.
This is about priorities. Our kids are now twelve and fifteen. When I was their age, it occurred to me that children never ask to be born. It is up to us to get our acts together. We don’t need to be perfect. Trying to appear that way would be counterproductive and set an unreasonable standard.
Our kids need to know what we believe in, and that we are true to our word. They need to feel safe and to trust that we are doing the best we can with the resources we have. We make mistakes, learn from them and do better next time.
When our own lives are out of control, how can our children feel that they can trust us to be there for them, with their best interests in mind? We all show stress and ‘lack of balance’ in our own ways. This is when I know it’s time for the oxygen mask…
For me, that means:
…lots of sleep, some exercise, a massage appointment, time with the girlfriends and a funny movie with our kids. And of course, my gratitude journal.
We do the best we can with what we know and the resources we have, and as Oprah says, ‘When we know better, we do better.’
Let’s share our resources for the health and happiness of our families. What advice do you have?
To reach out to Ida Mae, visit her at A Vision For Our Kids, on Facebook and on Twitter.