Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Finding balance

I recently caught an article in the local Oregonian about the new radical homemakers. It highlighted three amazing women who it seemes are doing it all. They are making homemade everything, growing herbs for medicine, gardening, and living car free… seriously – they seem to be the picture of everything I try to be and yet I keep finding difficult to get to even a fraction of this. Now don't get me wrong - this isn't a working mom vs. stay-at-home mom post. My husband stays home and I KNOW he has the harder job :) so these ladies are amazing.

Still, I don’t know about you but I have a hard time finding balance in my crazy life with two kids. Even with my husband now at home, even with the luxury of having saved in our early career, even with the 1000’s of resources at my fingertips, I find it hard to motivate to do the right things all the time. I know that I can do a lot more with less, and I know that I don’t need more to have more and thus can spend less, I know that doing less is doing more for my earth. Still, there is so much MORE, I wish I could do.

There are shopping trips where I agonize over whether I should by the organic grapes from Mexico or the regular grapes from California. There is the every day when I drive my car to work because I just NEED that extra half hour each way that the bus would take. There are the vacations I plan that feel more like excess than relaxation. But then, there are the meals we eat that are local, the cloth diapers we use, the friends we trade goods with rather than go to the store, and the families we share memories with rather than go the movies or watch TV. Oh, and then there is the cookie dough I buy instead of make, the stupid TV I watch when I should be doing something else, the lists of new things I long to buy. Well, then there is the garden we tend, the days spent making crafts from recycled items, the hikes and nature walks, trips to farms and hours spent reading as a family. Still… I find the balance hard and always wonder if I could be doing more, should be doing more.

I’m not a new domestic goddess, not even close. I still go to Costco sometimes, and yes I still eat some processed food. But I’m working on finding more balance and motivation to do the things that are important, to involve my kids in the things that really matter, to discuss as a family how far we are willing to go and what tradeoffs we are willing to embark on – together. I’m not sure which way the scale will tip for us but I do feel like we have started rolling a wheel and sooner or later the wheel gets going fast enough that it becomes easier and easier to push it along – I just need keep the momentum going.


  1. Stacey,
    I follow several blogs of women who I think fall into the category of radical homemakers. I find their passion for family, creativity and simplicity (e.g. anti-consumer, pro-life-experience) beautiful and inspiring. But I always find myself wondering how they actually pull it off. And, I know that these women present the best of their lives just for that reason - to be inspiring to others and to keep themselves focused on the beauty, bounty and simple gifts that are present along life's journey.

    It is all to easy to compare one's own life to theirs, and come up with deficiencies compared to the ideal you see before you. But you know that these are real, human families who have their own issues, doubts, shortcomings and disappointments.

    There is a practice in yoga called "mudita" - the practice of taking delight in others' good deeds and good fortune to create more happiness for yourself.

    Mudita comes to mind when I read your post - I can totally relate to the feelings of not measuring up to what I see someone else being able to accomplish or achieve. Or just falling short of my own ideals for myself. But if I stand back and cultivate feeling of happiness for the successes and achievements of others, I feel myself sticking more with the inspiration I receive from their actions, rather than disappointment in myself for not achieving it myself.

    You are also someone I can be inspired by. You have a vision or your life and have made commitments to your family and community that are moving you toward that vision. In a world where living life on autopilot is not uncommon, what you're doing is pretty radical.

  2. Thanks Kisten. I feel like I'm only just learning with so much more to try. That part is exciting. But just like a sport or hobbie or anything you have passion for when you are first learning about it... you realize that there are a lot of people out there who are already great at it. Who do those people become - Coaches! So you are right, there is inspiration and learning to be found. Thanks for the reminder!