When I became pregnant with Little Man, we knew there were some serious changes ahead of us. We knew the time commitment would be immense. We knew there would be times of selflessness and sacrifice. All these things are very true, but we forgot to account for the need to have balance. There are many challenges we face, but the biggest hurdle we have experience is finding equilibrium when there is constant change. This often results in us failing to find time to recharge.
There are nights where it has been a long, long day and I cannot handle much more of anything. Those nights often result in tag teaming and letting Little Man try to work through his frustrations on his own. It makes sense to take a break and regroup. Time spent away from my son can help me to be a better parent. I find it important to take time out of my 24/7 gig of parenting to take a couple of breaths and block out (as best as I can) the sound of banging pots and pans. In theory, this makes perfect sense. In reality, it can be much more challenging to find time in our busy schedules to unplug from parenting.
It is normal to struggle with keeping life even and steady, but I never imagined it would take so long to find my footing. Finding balance between motherhood and being a person with needs is hard but is well worth the effort. When I find myself reduced to a lifeless blob post-baby-bedtime, I try to figure out what prevented me from having a little me time. I often notice I’m not using his naps very effectively (i.e. I sit on Netflix and zone out and have nothing to show for it by the time Little Man wakes up), after which I try to change my behavior for the next day and hope for the best. I won’t claim to not remake that error in naptime judgement, but effort is half the battle, right?
I wish I had the answer to balancing life with a baby, but like everyone else, I am still a parent-in-progress. I can tell you having a supportive partner to lean on helps me to be a better mom. It’s one of my simple pleasures knowing the person that comes through the door at the end of the day has my back and will do whatever he can to support our family. If you are struggling to find balance and you do not have a strong support system yet (whether it be with a partner, family, or friends), there are a ton of resources that look to connect parents with other parents. I personally use facebook groups, an app to set up and attend play days called Meetup, and community events. Other parents you meet may also be able to shed some light on how they balance life with baby.
When life changes, it is always hard to find balance once again. I will admit that having our first child has been the most challenging life event we’ve tried to find balance after, but I know it is doable. I am thankful for my strong support system that makes finding me time just a little easier.