= a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.; mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

Such a funny word and yet the ultimate achievement for women around the world today. The last few months have challenged my choice of how I balance life…what priorities I put on being a wife, mother, daughter, employee, friend, volunteer, etc. The list for today’s woman goes on. I can choose to busy my schedule with unlimited activities, many of which I have incorporated into my routine: work, bible study, PAC, sports, newspaper route, child-minding, cooking, cleaning, baking, volunteering, organizing, educating myself and on it goes. I list these things not to receive praise but to acknowledge that we all fill out time with MANY, MANY activities. Then we lament the loss of simplier days!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not presuming to suggest that returning to the days when women stayed at home all day doing what women do is the answer to the desire to find balance. What I am suggesting is we need to re-evaluate how we prioritize. The reality that a day will come when we will regret the lack of time spent with our little ones, the loss of opportunity to prepare feasts of baking, cooking, snacks will hit us square in the face as we sit to a meal of two (or even one).

The moment that brought me to a screeching halt occurred about two months ago on a Tuesday morning at 8:30am as I pried the smallest fists from my neck and handed the small, tense body of my screaming two year old to my mother-in-law and walked away to go to work. I could hear her sobs even from a distance and her cries for “mommy” broke my heart. In that moment all I could ask myself was whether all the money in the world was truly worth the devastation I felt at leaving my youngest child in such a state. Of course, I knew she was safe, she would be loved and cared for but how could I walk away knowing her only desire in that moment was to be with her mommy. Thankfully, checking in later I was reassured that she was fine…a trip to McDonald’s and shopping with Nana was a quick fix to her discontentment.

It left me wondering all week what we hold dear. I haven’t quite determined what order the things in my life should take but I know one thing, I am tired of wasting the precious time I have with my little family. It’s not a matter of cutting everything out and holing up in my house but I am determined to be more intentional with my time. Be deliberate in everything I do. Schedule my hours so while my children are out of my home I am making the most of of “my” time so I can then focus my attention squarely on their needs.

As we enter the busy season of Christmas I am reminded how easily we get caught up. Often it’s the kind of caught up that has a negative connotation but for me it’s a purely postive kind of “caught up”. I personally love the peace I feel at driving with Christmas jingles playing in the car, hearing my children belt out tunes that are only played once a year but they are the same ones I sang as a child. I love the coziness that I feel about all things Christmas everywhere I go. The consistency that the next 6 weeks brings…it occurs every year, at the same time with the same amount of ferver.

What boggles my mind most is that as much as the world has tried to remove Christ from this season, I feel an inexplicable amount of anticipation and joy at what is coming. At this moment I will revel in that and try my best to carry that through the rest of the year. I challenge you as moms, daughters, sisters, wives, employees, volunteers…women of Christ to be caught up in what this season means. Be the light in a place that is very dark for some. Set aside time to share with your family the love you have received from your Heavenly Father. Be intentional about what you have to offer the people God has placed in your family and in your direct sphere of influence. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your priorities, in fact it’s an exercise you should engage in every six months or so. As the face of your commitment changes so do your priorities.

On a side note, my littlest has become much better about leaving me but I have the luxury of spending one day a week with just her for 6 hours straight and she is very aware that this is her “mommy-time”. We can’t all do that but there are so many resources available to help you plan the time with your children.

A few ideas off the top of my head (some my own and some from other families)
– choose one night during the week that everyone is at home (try to make it a weekly occurence or at the very least every second week). Plan nothing, be spontaneous but creative in the activities you do…games, movies, popcorn, etc. things that everyone can participate in.
– a date night once a month with each child (this can get pricey, time-consuming and overwhelming if you go overboard so keep it low-key). Something as simple as hot chocolate and a donut can bring an immense amount of joy to your child. It’s the fact that you took a few minutes to just get to know them.
– sun-up to sun-down…a girlfriend told me about this one. She took one of her sons to watch the sunrise, had breakfast with him, took him swimming, just spent the entire day with him and then they went home (they missed the sunset). This wouldn’t be something you’d do often but it’s worth it if you have a day and a few extra dollars to spend.
– date night in. My husband and I are aiming to do this once a week. We choose not to afford a sitter on a weekly basis and we have wonderful parents who watch our children so I can work so instead of going out we wait until the kids are in bed and have a nicely prepared meal, dessert, chat and movie together. It saves on the budget since we’re not going out but it affords us time together and focusing on our marriage.

A few thoughts to leave you with. I would love to hear your ideas on ways you keep your family and marriage connected! So post a comment below:)

4 thoughts on “Balance

  1. That was beautiful Elise! Encouraging and positive…thank you for reminding me of what’s important. Nice to have my idea included in the list (: a little affirmation i’m doing something positive in my kid’s lives.

  2. Thanks for the ideas and the reminder. I seem to be in the same place right now, re-evaluating priorities and trying to figure out what is going to get which parts of my time. Thanks for the encouragement in this area, it can be so daunting!

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