Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Balancing Many Hats

One of the things all women have in common no matter what stage in life you are in, is that we wear many hats.  Sometimes I struggle a lot on how to juggle so many hats.  On my shelf of hats there are the Mom Hat, Nurse Hat, Wife Hat and True-To-Myself Hat.  The Mom Hat and the Nurse Hat seem to win the war on my time, but the Wife Hat and True-To-Myself Hat need time as well and that is where I struggle.  When you spend 10-11 hours a day away from home, it is hard to balance family, housework, and time for your spouse and for yourself.  

Being a Mommy is my most important job. When I'm at home or with Nicholas, I want to dedicate as much of my time to him as possible. No phone, computer, or distractions, just time to play, read, work on puzzles, or whatever he wants to do. I have guilt about the amount of time I miss him during the day and it's important to me that he never looks back and says "my mom didn't spend any time with me". This is where the struggle begins. How do you balance Mom Hat and Wife Hat?  

****Before I go any further, keep in mind that I LOVE being a mom and I LOVE my child more than anything, but sometimes other relationships need attention too.****

Since New Year's, Michael and I have made an effort to spend more time together.  We have gotten lazy in our marriage over the years, especially since wearing our Parent Hats.  It is hard to find the time to even have a conversation about our day sometimes when there are things to do around the house or Nicholas is demanding our time. It is almost like our marriage has taken a backseat to everything else. We recognize that and now is the time to change that. 

Sunday while we were out I ran into a lady I used to babysit for while I was in college.  I've always admired this woman and looking back, my life is very similar to hers in those days. She is a nurse, she had to balance work, home, marriage, and child and from what I could always tell, she did it well. While talking with her about raising an only child and some of my fears about that, she reminded me that one day it will just be the two of us at home and our relationship will matter. I think that is true no matter how many children you have. One day it will be just the two of you and the foundation you set as your children are growing will be important then. 

We are making an attempt to check in with each other during the day, even if it is just a "how is your day" text. We are sitting down together at night and we have chosen a few tv shows to watch weekly as a couple. We are also making a priority to get a babysitter and have one date a month. It doesn't matter if it is our with friends to watch football or dinner at a nice restaurant, as long as we are together and can enjoy adult conversation. 

The other hat on my shelf is one that I believe must be worn at some point during a busy week, if even just a short devotional time, quick hot bath without kids busting in and out of the door, or going to get a pedicure (which may I add, I haven't done in almost 2 years!). My True-To-Myself Hat (aka time for myself) is worn the least of any hat. I think for me to recharge and for me to be able to survive, I need to take a few minutes for myself every day. Most days this is only a 10 minute devotional in the morning, and that's ok. I just need some quiet time before I start the day where I'm not at work, playing superheros, discussing our household chores or finances, folding clothes, or cooking dinner. Just time for me. 

I also think part of wearing my True-To-Myself Hat is maintaining friendships with those in similar situations to my own. Due to my work schedule, I am not able to join a MOPS group or have a lot of playdates. I crave time with other moms and it's almost impossible to fit that time in. By having a girls night once a month or meeting other families for dinner on Friday with the kids in tow, allows me to talk over my struggles and listen to their struggles. I have two close friends who work outside the home with small children. We know that at any point of the day we can text on the verge of a meltdown and within a few minutes, feel better knowing we all understand. Being a better friend is another one of my resolutions for 2014. I plan to get active in my sorority's local alum group again, the occasional girls night or even just make time for a quick coffee on Saturdays with a friend before beginning my Saturday to do list.  We all need those girlfriend relationships. 

I pray that as women we can learn to balance our many hats and stay happy. I pray that we are able to maintain strong marriages, raise happy well adjusted children, and find time to just be ourselves without having to worry about all the other hats.