Thursday, February 16, 2012


Balance, it is a tricky thing. It doesn't take much, and then it is all of sudden, all on one side and none on the other.

I fight for balance All.The.Time.  And even when things are in good balance, I still long for the things that I can't/don't have time/talent/ to do.  It certainly doesn't help that I'm a pretty black & white person either.  And it doesn't help that I have a tendency to compare myself to others and see how I'm doing much less & not as well as others appear to be doing.

I try to focus on OUR version of Simple Living and I try to keep things in the kind of balance that seems to work for us.

* Our version is square foot gardening at my house, in my smallish yard.   Our version is one where I focus on food that we will eat, food that I can preserve, and food that will grow in the space limitations. Our version is one where I will use broccoli and cabbage on the side of my house for "landscaping."

* Our version is trying to eat whole/gluten-free/dairy free foods while still struggling with a child who would prefer to eat fast food. Or pop tarts. A child who doesn't like spaghetti. Or oatmeal. And struggling with a husband who doesn't mind eating like this sometimes, but maybe not all the time.  A husband who struggles with not being able to just find something that he doesn't have to fix when he only has 20 minutes before he needs to leave.

* Our version is trying to eat whole/gluten-free/dairy free foods while struggling with trying to find the time to cook things from scratch.  To remember to soak the beans the night before.  To remember to thaw the chicken. To have time to do the chopping, the stirring, the simmering, when it would be so much easier to just buy something ready-made. Our version is one where I plan menus so that at least I have a place to start and it seems less overwhelming.

* Our version is where I buy almost all of our clothes at thrift stores, and rarely have time to sew any clothes. Our version is one where I have time to sew pajamas and Halloween costumes. And headbands. And blankets.

* Our version is where I didn't have time to crochet my kids' cute sweaters and hats until they were too old to wear cute sweaters and hats.  And a version where I didn't learn to knit cute sweaters and hats until they were too old to wear cute sweaters and hats.  But our version does include lots of crocheted dishcloths.

* Our version is one where we are always struggling with money.  More specifically, the lack of money.  And the never ending question of how to best spend the money that we do have. 

* Our version includes making most of our cleaning supplies out of baking soda and vinegar, but still buying dishwasher and sometimes laundry soap.  Our version includes making our own bar soap, but for now, still buying shampoo and conditioner.

* Our version is buying local and seasonal food, but not being able to afford to buy as much meat as I'd like. Or as much organic produce. Because of that lack of money thing again.  And that question of where to best spend the money we do have thing.

* Our version includes some nice wood bookcases. And quality kitchenware. Our version includes wood toys and cloth dolls.  But our version includes LOTS of cheap furniture.  Our version doesn't include organic mattresses. Or organic bedding. Our version includes Legos. And Rescue Heroes.  And two American dolls.

* Our version is one where we have space for play outside and art supplies and games and musical instruments, but we also have a TV. And an Xbox. And a Blu-ray. And a desktop computer. And a laptop. And a netbook. And a smartphone.

* Our version includes us doing lots of walking/biking, etc. and our city has many resources that are close to our house.  But our version also includes two cars and neither is a hybrid.  Our version includes us using a car most days for one reason or another.

* Our version includes no wall or shelf decorations/knicknacks, etc.  Our version includes donating things that we aren't using. Our version includes recycling. But our version also manages to have plenty of "things" in our 4 bedroom 2000 square foot home.

* Our version includes having children that are involved in lots of extracurricular activities - Oldest is in several school clubs, Girl Scouts, a youth choir, and a church youth group.  Middle is involved in competitive swim team practice 4-5 times a week, a library program, Girl Scouts, and a children's choir.  Youngest is in swimming lessons, a library program, and children's choir.  Summer is Swim Team for all of them. 

* Our version has included homeschooling and public schooling and various combinations.

* Our version has included me working a couple of mornings a week doing preschool, 5 mornings a week doing preschool, 5 mornings a week doing preschool and working 20 hours a week in the evenings, and 5 days a week doing preschool/daycare/homeschool.  And 5 days a week of doing preschool/daycare/homeschool AND 15 hours a week of writing/training and 10-15 hours a week working on SLITC. 

* Our version has included time when I didn't do a Simple Thing for 3-4 months because Simple Living seemed too hard.  Our version has included times when I was even more Simple than we are now, but it seemed too hard.

So if you see me, and think that I have it all, I don't.  If you think I live a balanced life, well, I might be then, but it might be out of whack the next day. And it is OUR balance too. Other families might concentrate more on certain things and less on others, and that is o.k.  And I need to remind myself that it is also o.k. that our balance isn't other people's balance too.

No comments: