I started this blog as a way of trying to figure out how to balance my responsibilities as a stay-at-home mom with my passion for writing. I needed a place to record my thoughts--not only my thoughts about writing but about family life and other musings as well--so that I could step back and see where I could make changes or alter my days so that I have time to do everything I want to do. I needed a plan.
I haven't found one yet.
What I've learned most from seeing parts of my life "in print" is that I can't do it all. This is something I've always known, of course, but recording my thoughts here has made me see how true it is, and since I've always been a perfectionist, this truth really hurts. I see that I'm hard on myself for not being able to cross everything off my to-do list each day, and I suffer from a huge case of Mommy Guilt whenever I try to do something for myself. For example, if I decide to write a few paragraphs instead of playing a game with the kids, I feel almost crippled by the guilt. All I can think of is that I'm "wasting" their childhood and that I should be spending every possible minute I can with them before I'm no longer the center of their world.
And I learned that I suffer from another kind of guilt as well: Writer Guilt. If I use naptime to try to keep up with the laundry instead of plotting the next part of my WIP, I feel guilty. If I opt to walk on the treadmill before the kids are up instead of working on the 100 words exercises I do each morning, I feel guilty. If I decide to relax by watching television when the kids go to bed instead of trying to edit or write another chapter, I feel guilty. The list goes on.
There are so many important things that I want to do and that I need to do, and I can't seem to find the balance.
It occurred to me today that maybe I just have a guilty personality. I've felt guilty about things all my life, some serious and some silly: guilt over going out with friends rather than spending time with my now deceased grandma; guilt over leaving my dog at home when I know that she'd really like to go for a ride in the car; guilt over opting to sleep in instead of going to church... I realize that everyone experiences guilt, but I think I take it to an extreme. I let it paralyze me until I'm unable to accomplish anything. Maybe it is just part of my personality, something innate, wired in. But I know I could learn to control it, if only I knew how.
Since I can't seem to find the answer--if there is one--I want to ask you. How do you achieve balance in your life? How do you decide which of your responsibilities is most important at any given moment? How do you "do it all"? Or if you don't accomplish everything, how do you find peace about the things that you're not able to do?