Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance

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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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As crazy as my life has been of late, with the move (away from friends), the new job (the first time I’ve worked outside the home since before the kids were born), and the new home learning experience (we were in public school last year), I actually feel like I finally have a sense of balance. This comes as a total surprise to me and I really had to think about how this has been possible.

What am I doing differently?

This is what I came up with: I’m organizing my daily responsibilities and including mindfully spending time with my family. I have a set part time work schedule, we have a set date night, and my daughter is home learning and participating in set weekly classes outside the home.

The biggest change has been that for the first time ever (yes, ever!), I have been able to separate work from mothering.  Before, when I did family child care, work and mothering were essentially the same thing. The lines were as blurred as the traffic lines to the eyes of a drunk driver. In the daycare I parented my kids and I essentially parented other people’s kids. Then the other kids went home and I parented some more. Now that I have a non-parenting type job that takes me out of the house three or four days a week, I can better cope with the trials and tribulations of mothering. It makes a huge difference to the quality of my parenting.

For the first time ever (another truth!), my husband and I go out on set date nights. Two people make this possible each week: our neighbour and my 17 year old step son (two people who weren’t in our everyday lives before we moved here). This is the first time I have ever lived with my step son and it’s the first time, since he was two years old, that my husband has had him full time. It’s a pretty big deal to my hubby to have his son with us for his last year of school, and for all the worrying I did about how it would work, living with him has been such a blessing. He has always been a great kid, he doesn’t get into trouble, he’s respectful, and he’s a good communicator, but on top of all that, now my girls have a real big brother. Not just one they were lucky to see maybe once a month and often get mixed up with the boy we did respite care for every two weeks, but every single day. So once a week we go out for a few hours and big brother feeds, plays with and puts his sisters to bed. And if he is out or has homework then our dear neighbour, who has become like family since we moved here, looks after the kids and puts them to bed for us. For free. It’s her pleasure, she says. We deserve it, she says. We love this woman. In fact, I have to say that since moving here I actually feel like we’re living in a little village because there are more adults here who love and spend time with our kids than we had in our other town. And I can’t even express how good that feels to have that kind of support. I can even comfortably nurse my 3 1/2 year old around them!

When I signed up to homeschool I knew it would be a challenging transition. It has had its moments, but more than anything it has given me the opportunity to be more present with my children and really think about how we are going to spend our time together. And when we spend time together we are actively being together, not just co-existing in the same room like we used to when I did daycare. When I get off work my time is theirs. Unless I’m looking up “How bees make honey,” the laptop is closed. And this helps me balance my blogging too because I need to find a way to fit it in when I’m not at work or schooling my daughter. This has inevitably led to less posts, and admittedly, thoughts of quitting, but it has given all aspects of my life a more balanced share of my time.

If you’d asked me last year how I find balance in my life, I would have said that a weekly get-together with friends was my secret. Now that I live in the city without my mommy friends, I have balance in my life by having a balanced schedule of activities, at work, with my kids, and with my husband. Oh yeah, and I think at the end of this month I’ll start taking pottery lessons again. (Because time by myself is an important part of attaining balance too).

There’s something about being really busy that lends itself to balance. It reminds me of the smart, popular, athletic kids in high school, who were on the local swim team, played trumpet, played basketball, sat on the student council and still managed to get straight A’s. When you’re that busy you need to schedule your time to do everything successfully. I think I understand that now.

How do you find balance in your life?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Balance — Sheila at A Gift Universe has put her baby first — and has no regrets. (@agiftuniverse)
  • A Moment for Mama — Starr at Earth Mama has learned how to recharge on the run, so she doesn’t miss a moment with her children.
  • Take a 30-Minute or 5-Minute Me-Break — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses the merits of taking small daily breaks to maintain balance. (@DebChitwood)
  • Achieving Balance — In a guest post at the new Natural Parents Network, Heather explains how yoga has helped her find balance in her personal and family life. (@NatParNet)
  • A Stitch in (Quiet) Time Saves Momma’s Mind — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma didn’t realize she needed “me” time — until she got it and had no idea what to do with herself. (@kitchenwitch)
  • Attachment Parenting and Balance — Michelle at The Parent Vortex believes that the last item on the “attachment parenting” list is both the most important and the most overlooked. (@TheParentVortex)
  • Little Breaks Bring a Little Balance — Jen at Grow with Graces finds balance – some days! (@growwithgraces)
  • Finding Balance — Are you a Type A mama? Dionna at Code Name: Mama is, and she needs your help to find balance. (@CodeNameMama)
  • (high)Centered — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine has had a spa gift certificate sitting on her nightstand since last year, a symbol of her inability to take time for herself.
  • Taking Time for Me — Marita at Stuff With Thing takes refuge in the world of books, with her daughters immersed in reading beside her. (@leechbabe)
  • Writing as a parent: October Carnival of Natural Parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama didn’t let parenting put her passions on hold. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • The Dance of Balance — Balance isn’t static. It is dynamic, it is a dance, it is about keeping in touch with you. Read this wonderful bit of wisdom from Seonaid at the Practical Dilettante. (@seonaid_lee)
  • Rest Hour – a Primer — Do you get 15 minutes to yourself each day? How about an hour?! Mrs. H. at Fleeting Moments shares her tips on how to incorporate a “rest hour” for adults and kids.
  • Separation Is Critical — Only through enforced separation with the end of her marriage did Jessica at This is Worthwhile realize she should have taken time apart all along. (@tisworthwhile)
  • Bread, Roses, and a Side of Guilt. — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy isn’t ashamed to admit that she enjoys a pint once in awhile, or that her daughter recreates it during pretend play.
  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband’s commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)
  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)
  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.
  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.
  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.
  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)
  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.
  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)
  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)
  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some “Me Time” — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants “me” time that includes her daughter.
  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)
  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those “non-necessities” this year. (@kellynaturally)
  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)
  • Related Posts with Thumbnails

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    27 Responses to “Finding Balance Amidst Change”

    1. #1 Dionna @ Code Name: Mama Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 1:37 am
    2. #2 Achieving Balance | Natural Parents Network Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 2:02 am
    3. #3 Melissa Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 3:19 am
    4. #4 Lauren @ HoboMama Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 5:38 am
    5. #5 Jennifer Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 10:37 am
    6. #6 BluebirdMama Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm
    7. #7 Rest Hour – a Primer « Fleeting Moments Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm
    8. #9 (high)Centered « very, very fine Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm
    9. #10 Jessica - This is Worthwhile Says:
      October 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    10. #11 stefanie at very very fine Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    11. #12 Taking Time for Me | Stuff With Thing Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    12. #13 Amber Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm
    13. #14 Little breaks bring a little balance / GROW WITH GRACES Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm
    14. #16 Uninterrupted Parenting Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm
    15. #17 Lisa Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm
    16. #18 born.in.japan » Balancing this Life Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm
    17. #19 The World from Within My Arms Says:

      October 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm
    18. #20 Erica @ ChildOrganics Says:
      October 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm
    19. #21 Maman A Droit Says:

      October 13, 2010 at 12:46 am
    20. #22 Jenny Says:

      October 13, 2010 at 2:26 am
    21. #24 The Dance of Balance « The Practical Dilettante Says:

      October 13, 2010 at 3:38 pm
    22. #25 Deb Chitwood @ Living Montessori Now Says:

      October 14, 2010 at 1:16 am
    23. #26 Rachael Says:
      October 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm
    24. #27 Amy Says:
      October 24, 2010 at 12:12 am

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