Ever since I titled the last math post "Finding Balance," I've been thinking about, well, Finding Balance. Not in a math-related sense as in my previous balance post; instead I find myself not struggling exactly, but faced with and contemplating the idea of balance in my life, in family life, in school life. That I'm faced with this issue is partly the nature of the choices we've made for our family: I have joyfully and thoughtfully set out on this homeschool path, and chosen to shoulder the committment and planning that it takes to do my job conscientiously and lovingly. It's partly the nature of this season in our lives: I am a mother in a blended family dealing with puberty and potty training simultaneously, with the needs of a daughter with a disability thrown in to boot. It's partly the nature of being a parent: I want to meet the very different needs of each person in our family in a way that is fair and consistent. It's partly the nature of being human: At some point we are all faced with the question of how to best spend our limited time, energy, resources.
How do I balance being Mom and teacher?
How to balance flexibility and routine, free time and structure, planned activities and down time?
How to encourage creativity and imagination while teaching appropriate behaviors and following directions?
Time....how do I balance the demands on our time? On my time? And on my energy?
How to balance independence, protection, boundaries, freedom for the lovely ladies as they stretch their wings?
And for my growing gents, how to balance rules, boundaries and limitations with love, guidance and freedom for exploration?
What's more important, mopping the kitchen and doing laundry? Or playing in the yard with the kids?
I can't answer those questions tonight. I suspect that if I tried, the answer to each of those questions and all of the other balance questions swimming around in my head would be similar to the answer to the last question. Depends. Then more questions....does everyone have clean underwear? Do we stick to the kitchen floor when we walk across? Maybe the housework, then. Have I spent the last three days reading and staring at my computer? Perhaps I should get off my rear and go play outside for my own good and theirs. And that's a fairly simple question. And the answers would vary from day to day, week to week, season to season.
I can't be the only one who's constantly bumping into thoughts of the need or desire for balance. As a matter of fact, this isn't the first time I've pondered these thoughts myself. As our lives change, as the needs of our families change, as we make new choices and create new routines we must shift and shift and shift again in order to keep from toppling completely out of balance. It's like trying to balance on a plank set on a rolling barrel, or sometimes even like participating in a log-rolling contest, feet stepping and arms whirling madly as we try to keep from falling into the water.
I am curious about how others find balance in their lives, in their homes, in schooling. Obviously in this journey we've got to find our own answers, face our own challenges, find the balance that suits us best, and I'm constantly adjusting to reach or maintain mine. But I find myself wondering about all of you, out there in cyberland as you live your real lives. How do you find balance?