Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's All About Balance

This topic may be a little touchy.  But I feel like it's an important one.  It's something I'm passionate about.  I strive to find balance in my life.

In my previous job (same company, different position), my district manager told me, "Now Bridgette, it's very important to have balance in your life.  Now does that mean work 8 hours a day, play 8 hours a day?  Not at all."  He went on to tell me he might work really hard 10-12 hours a day for 4 weeks, then he might take a few days, or a week off.  My previous position, and his, had that type of flexibility.  I don't have as much flexibility in my schedule now, but I still work on obtaining balance in my life.

Before I get any further into this, let's be realistic for a quick minute.  There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 365 days in a year.  That's all we get (yes, except for leap year) and there's nothing that we can do to add to that.  But to me, it's what we do with that time that matters.

Here are my facts.  We do not have children.  I work from 8-5 Monday through Friday with a 35 minute commute each way.  I try to sleep around 7 hours (sometimes less, even though it should be more) a night.  I take about an hour or so to get ready each morning.  I cook dinner on average 3-4 times a week.  We eat out on Fridays and sometimes once more during the week.  The hubby is off on Monday nights and he helps with dinner, and the weekends is a toss up between him doing dinner and us going out with friends.  He typically does the dishes and I do the laundry.  I teach Zumba for an hour two nights a week.  I try workout for at least an hour every day that I'm not teaching Zumba.  Usually more on Saturdays and Sundays.  On Tuesdays, I attend an hour long weight loss meeting before Zumba.  I like to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays. 

And I am happy. 

Will I ever be accused of having the cleanest house around?  I'd put money against it!  But I promise you, on my death bed, you will not hear me say, "Man, I wish I'd spent more time cleaning my house."  Now when we get the occasional unannounced visitor, sometimes I think that, but it's not the end of the world.  Now, let me make a disclaimer that there is a huge difference in messy and nasty.  We are not nasty by any means.  But on any given day, you will probably see unfolded blankets on my couch, because it's cold in my house and I don't fold them every time I get done using them.  You'll probably see folded laundry sitting on my couch or in a chair for a few days before I put it up.  You'll probably see clean dishes in the drainer waiting to be put away.  You'll probably see clothes that I've worn, but are not dirty, laying on my dresser.  You may see two or three pair of shoes in the living room floor because that's where we took them off.  You'll see the hubby's stuff all over the dining room table because that's where he leaves it.  Sometimes hubs has to tell me that he's out of clean work clothes and needs some washed.

And guess what.  We make it just fine.  This is not an end all, be all for me.  The house is clean when we have company over (except the besties, because you know, they don't count.  And they're usually coming over to work out).  We don't go hungry.  We don't wear dirty clothes.  We have clean dishes.  We work out a lot.  We sit down and watch an hour or so of television together most nights.  We go to bed together every night.  I read when I want to.  Hubby hunts when he wants to and goes to hunting shows when he wants to.

Does my house look like his grandmothers did while he was growing up?  Nope.  I don't have children to assign chores to.  I have a full time job every single day that I must go to.  My health and fitness is important to me, and I'm dedicated to working on that.  I value and need our down time together each night.  And while the house is not kept in the order his was growing up, he's fine.  Yes, there are times he would like it to be neater.  Hell, I'd love for it to be neater.  But I don't have the time.  Yep, I could make the time.  But I chose to use my time for things that are more important to me. 

That's what I mean about finding a balance.  Your thing might not be housework.  It might be cooking.  Or it might be something else.  I know housework and "getting things done around the house" is what I hear a lot of my friends say their husbands or significant others complain about when they take time to work out or do whatever it is they need as down time.  You need to have a conversation with them.  Discuss what is important to you and to them.  Figure out what you can live with and what you can't live without.  You can't do it all in a single day.  You have to have priorities.  And if something is a deal breaker to them, maybe they need to pitch in and help.  Sure, I could give up working out a few days, and I could wake up earlier on the weekends, but I need those times for myself.  Do I dare say that the hubs and I have a perfect relationship and that we have it all figured out?  Not at all!  What I'm saying is that we have figured out, mostly, what works for us and what we can live with and without.  I'm not a perfect housewife by no means.  But in my opinion, those were "ideals" of the 50s and 60s when women did not work outside of the home and honestly, the world was much healthier, so exercise was not as big of an issue. 

As a woman, wife and mother, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of everyone else.  If this means having quiet time to take a bath by yourself, if it means working out, if it means spending a few quiet moments to read each night, you need to do whatever it is to give you balance in your life.  I'm a huge advocate for being phsyically active and working on your fitness, so even if this isn't what you enjoy, I urge you to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 3-5 times a week.  If you do not take care of your body, you will not be physically able to take care of others.  And I promise, even if you don't like it while you're doing it, it will change your energy level, mindset and mood.  So, quit reading for now and go find some balance!

And since Mama Laughlin said all good blogs have pictures, here's one of the hubby and me finding our balance by spending time together while working out!

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