Balancing Act

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by ML, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    I wanted to talk a little bit about about finding balance when you find yourself with limited resources (time, money, energy, opportunity).

    I find myself with little time. Full job, long commute, difficult homework wars, meals and nighttime routines leave me without time for myself. Ideally one would have a support system, perhaps a spouse or friend that could take over part of the routine once or twice a week so you could go to the gym or take a bath, maybe they might occasionally make dinner. But I don't have that and I know I'm not alone.

    Does anyone hire out things like housecleaning?

    There has got to be a way to create a better quality of life.

    Any ideas?

    I might be open to having meals prepared but I don't want to go unhealthy.

    Another thought is to relax standards. Give up having a clean house? That is so hard for me to do. My house isn't perfect ever. As a matter of fact I feel like no matter how much I clean it is always dirty or messy.

    I read somewhere on the wc forum that people work full time to have stuff but most of us work just to survive and still don't have stuff. Though if ever had the luxury of choice I would give up the stuff. I just never made a good choice in a mate that would be willing or able to take on a supportive role.

    There have got to be some answers.

    Hugs, ML
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    That's a load of questions in one post!! I guess the first thing I would say is that we do have to depend on ourselves, rather than relying on others. I think that if you do have a support system of friends and family who are willing to step in and help every now and then, that's great. But with families scattered, and us being the parents of difficult children, it's tough. Not too many parents are willing to "swap" time if our kids have behaviors they are not comfortable with. Heck, it's tough to even get an invitation to a birthday party!

    Perhaps one thing that would help would be for you to find a local support group. Ask difficult child's t or psychiatrist about any local support groups he or she may know about that have other parents dealing with the same issues. It could be a great place to meet friends and you may find another single parent willing to do some swapping.

    As far as the housekeeping goes, I found myself, about two years ago, becomming totally overwhelmed with it. I am really particular about the house and I was slowing killing myself with stress trying to get it all done. For me, the solution was to hire a crew. I interviewed five companies and settled on one that was not the cheapest, but who I felt would do a good job and be sensative to my furniture and collectibles. It's not cheap, but I will tell you it is like a weight was lifted from my shoulders! Having them come in every two weeks and clean from top to bottom is a life saver. I have them do it every other week because of the expense, but also have a deep cleaning every other week does make it easier to keep up with the rest of the time.

    In regards to meals, my sister, when first seperated from her husband, faced some of the same issues you are dealing with. She worked really long hours and had little time to cook. She found this company/service in her area (northern va) where you go and, for a price, cook like two weeks worth of meals - and they are healthy! You pay a particular price and you go and cook everything at one time. You obviously use their facility and their equipment but you have these great meals that all you have to do is heat and serve (and I guess add salad or something). My sister did this many, many times and there are a number of woman who do it at one time.

    I have to say that I did not read that comment about people working full time for stuff over on the wc. If I had, I think I would have responded! I believe that being a single parent is a really tough job - I'm with you there. I am fortunate that my ex bonehead does support us some financially (for the time being!), but my kids needs are greater than that (great than financial I mean).

    I think you should only lower your expectations, in any area of your life, if they are preventing you from moving forward or causing you self-inflicted stress.

  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    There just aren't enough hours in the day, are there? When I was still working, I remember saying (for years) that I would take 20 years off my life if I could get by on working 30 hours a week. I also remember meeting people and someone would ask what are my hobbies. It felt like there was a spotlight on me. Hobbies? I'm a single parent with a difficult child! Who has time for hobbies! I didn't even know what my interests were, let alone explore them. I felt like such a loser. Sigh.

    It really is little things that make the difference and open up new paths. For example, I never indulged for myself. When I had a date and had nothing to wear and wanted to cancel, I decided that I needed to do some things for me. I was broke with 2 small children. But, I saved and would buy myself some pretty clothes. Did you know I never used to wear dresses or skirts? I didn't think I liked them. I *love* them. And shoes. And body lotions from Bath and Body Works.

    And it went on from there. It wasn't just about buying myself stuff...cause I couldn't afford to buy much. It was discovering what *I* like and who I am. Instead of being the wife my husband wants me to be or the super-power mother I thought I should be, I discovered the woman I am with passions and needs and desires. Turns out, I am much more than a glorified maid. Imagine that.

    I didn't have family or friends to turn to for support and I had no money. But, I did carve out enough time in the week to take a bubble bath (with candles and music) at least 3-4 times a week (with my new products from Bath and Body Works). My kids were younger and I put them to bed first. But, as they got older it was just known that I was not to be disturbed during that time. Period. Unless someone was bleeding profusely and/or missing a limb.

    It was just a time of self-discovery. Of not always putting my needs last.
  4. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I'm in a slightly different place from you because I'm married. However, my husband works long hours, including weekends, and when he is home, I still do 99% of the child care. However, I am fortunate because I am able to get a break every now and then and have him take care of the kids while I escape...

    Unfortunately, I don't have any relatives who will volunteer to take care of my difficult children. In all honesty, none of them want anything to do with them. My very closest friend would help me if I asked her for help, but she lives over an hour away from me, has four kids of her own (all easy child's), a stressful job, and a husband who is constantly getting laid off and having to find other sources of employment. Not only that, but she has siblings who are very needy, and I feel she spreads herself too thin already.

    I used to be a very social person with lots of acquaintances and a handful of good friends, but life with difficult children wore me out for a long time. Unfortunately, I let many relationships with good people go because I just didn't have the time or energy to put into maintaining them. In hindsight, I know I NEVER should have done this. Now, I'm slowly trying to put my social life back together...

    Anyway, given all of the above, I'm slowly learning who I am again as a person. I'm not just a frazzled, overworked, overtired, mother of two difficult children and a easy child. I'm slowly realizing that I need and deserve a life of my own. I do what Heather does - I carve out small bits of time just for ME. During my "ME" time, I WILL NOT deal with any difficult child issues unless it is a total emergency!!!

    I also put myself first at times. Exercise has helped me tremendously. I REFUSE to give up even one work-out because my difficult children need to be watched. If my husband has to leave early on a Saturday for work, I REFUSE to get up extremely early to work out. I've resolved this by getting up when he does, making my difficult children set their alarm clocks, and have breakfast with Dad while I'm in the basement. If they don't want to get up early on a Saturday - TOO BAD!!! I DON'T CARE!!! I constantly have to deal with their poor behavior, "tantrums," neediness, etc... If I don't want to get up extra early on a Saturday so they can sleep later, too bad!!! I WILL NOT BE A DOORMAT FOR THEM TO WIPE THEIR FEET ON EVER AGAIN!!!

    I also think Sharon has a great point. I, too, used to be a total "neat freak." I had to have a clean house, no matter how hard it was for me to keep up with it. I learned to relax my standards as keeping my house "company clean" all the time was just too stressful. Now I try to get rid of the clutter and don't stress stuff like dust and dirty floors. I make sure the bathroom and kitchen are clean. Other than that, I know that the dust and dirty floors will be waiting for me whenever I get to them...

    difficult child 2 has been throwing fits since he got home from school. He is going at it again and just made me lose my train of thought. As much as I hate to, I have to go check on him.

    I don't know if what I just said makes any sense!!! I'll have to come back to this discussion at another time. WFEN