A Balancing Act

balancing actLife is all about balancing, isn’t it?

Balancing school and play.

Work and play.

And those are just the main things. Then you’ve got sub-balancing. Kids’ activities. Your activities. Cleaning the house. Cooking dinner. It never ends! I don’t know about you, but I get exhausted from all this balancing. And after almost 12 years of marriage, 10 of which I’ve been a mom, I keep waiting to get better at it and it still eludes me.

I want to be one of those moms who has it all together. I want to be one of those moms at which others marvel, wondering how I do it. I want beautiful, gray-free, frizz-free hair and stylish clothes. I want to be that Pinterest mom who churns out homemade organic nutrition for her family, has a clean house, hand makes her own wreaths and other assorted decor, the mom who is never late, never frazzled, and remembers everything her kids need for every little school project.  That’s what I want. What I am is very different. I do not have it all together. I definitely do not have frizz-free hair (or gray-free, anymore). Definitely don’t have stylish clothes. My Pinterest fails far outnumber my Pinterest wins. I don’t make organic stuff; half the time anymore, I don’t even make dinner. Forget wreaths and decor. I’m late, I’m frazzled, and 9 times out of 10, I send my kid off to school without the supplies for the school project and without the planner signed. I’m the mom in the drop-off line at preschool with sunglasses on on a cloudy day because I don’t want others to see so plainly that I haven’t even had the chance to shower yet. I am, in two simple words, a mess.

And that’s just me as a mom! The other part of me, the wife bit? Yeah. Kaput.

During the 2 hours and 45 minutes I have to myself each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday while my littlest one is in preschool, I let my mind wander as I head back home and 99% of the time, it wanders somewhere along the lines of: what happened to you? WHO are you anymore? I used to be a musician. I used to be a reader. I used to get the occasional manicure. I used to go to the salon regularly and get new clothes or shoes (or both!)… just because. I used to go to the movies more than once a year. I had interests and dreams.

My littlest one, the one currently in preschool, will enter kindergarten in August and in our district, that’s a full-day deal. Some days, I can’t wait. (Today was one of those days. Holy tantrum, Batman!) Some days, the thought of watching ALL of my children ride the bus off to school tears my heart out and I can barely breathe. I wonder though, could this be a chance to reclaim myself? This will be the first time in over TEN YEARS that I haven’t had a kid with me. Ten years. Am I too far gone? Am I even that same person I used to be? WHO am I anymore? Edited to add: Oh crap, is this the making of a midlife crisis??

The truth is, I don’t know. I don’t know who I am. It sounds like I’m not happy. (I am, though!) I have a solid marriage with a good man who loves me (except my feet). I have 3 kids that, while trying sometimes, are really great kids. I love my family and my church and my town and my friends. I am content. But when I have more time; more time to balance work vs. play vs. kids vs. husband vs. us vs. me, could I maybe move past contentment? Contentment’s pretty great… but is there more?

Only time will tell.