NaBloPoMo Prompt, Entry 7: November 7, 2011

Making family time is important to me. How do you balance your children, relationship, and work life? 

Well, being at home means children and relationship are my “work.” At least for the time being. My struggle for balance comes in balancing caring for my husband and each of my children individually.

I am a firm believer that if my marriage comes first, then I will be a better mother. I read here, and I believe it’s true to:

4. Always put your marriage first. Marriage needs to take priority over work and your kids. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so easy to let your dearly beloved take the backseat when you’re worn out from caring for kids all day. Similarly, some men (and women, too) can get so wrapped up in their work and future ambitions that they have little time for their spouses. But the best gift you can give to your marriage — and to your children — is to love your spouse and to put him or her first. A strong marriage not only helps you succeed in other areas of life, but when their parents love each other and frequently show that love, it helps kids to feel more loved and secure.

~Kate Wicker

It doesn’t mean it’s always easy. It becomes very confusing sometimes when a spouse is pulling one way and children another.

Then there is balancing the needs of my children. Shelby has extremely different needs from the boys. And sometimes, the boys have different needs from each other. Last week when William and I were both sick with rotovirus, I needed to take care of Will and his sickness while still getting Shelby and Joey fed and dressed and bathed, getting Shelby to school and keeping Joey entertained. I don’t think of it as my finest moment. I was mothering under duress and as a result I was, what I like to call, “survival mothering.” I couldn’t even wash my hair, it was that kind of survival. The closest experience I can relate it to to a mother who has never been through this (as I could not have related before last week) is the birth of a new baby with demanding older children. But I learned a lot from that experience. I learned that it’s okay to be human every once in a while. I learned that my children will forgive me for an occasional breakfast of cheet0s or a day being babysitted by tv. I learned that if I don’t take care of myself and triage the care of my kids from time to time someone will suffer unduly: me.

Which leads me to the biggest conundrum for all moms. Me vs the family. How to I balance caring for myself with the needs of my children and husband? I have no clues on this yet, except when push comes to shove it gets ugly so I’m at least acknowledging the issue….but that’s for another day!