Peanut Butter and Parenting: A True Story

I want to thank Jennifer Blanke for her submission ‘Peanut Butter and Parenting’, a true story about parenting and being parented.

Jennifer Blanke has a BS in Elementary Education and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Lindenwood University where she was an editorial assistant for two issues of The Lindenwood Review. She is a wife, mother, teacher, and writer in St. Louis, Missouri and has writing published in Mum Life Stories and Her View From Home.

Website: http://jennifermblanke.com/home/



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Peanut Butter and Parenting

   My fondness for peanut butter began at Rowan Elementary School in Mars, PA when I was somewhere between the ages of eight and ten. My exact age is a bit fuzzy because let’s be honest, elementary is an age. I was teeter-tottering, rocking my Jordache jeans, and could barely close my mouth around a wad of the newest trend, Hubba Bubba gum, which for some unknown reason was allowed in school. The monstrous pink glob flew out of my mouth as if it were escaping into freedom and unfortunately for both of us got captured in my stick-straight, long blond hair. I tried to remove the gummy mess, but there was nothing I could do except make it worse. My mother was called. I braced myself for a lengthy lecture on the short drive home.

I am the oldest of four children; I was five when the baby was born. My mother loved and cared for us, but she did not have time to coddle us. Growing up in the 70s and 80s was perfect for her authoritarian/authoritative combo parenting style which was a healthy combination of enforcing rules, focusing on obedience, (mostly) fair punishments, and positive relationships. My childhood is filled with happy memories and I attribute that to clear parameters that helped me feel safe and secure to roam the neighborhood with the littles tagging along behind me from morning until the dinner bell (which was basically the yelling of our names for all to hear). Of course, we’d head home mid-day and find a PB&J waiting for us on the back deck so we didn’t drag in dirt or extra mouths to feed. I grew up on peanut butter by choice because the alternative was hot dogs cut up in scrambled eggs or baloney and cheese on white. 


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As I was sitting in a chair right outside of the school office, I saw my mother approaching with a scowl on her face and a jar of peanut butter in her hand. Wait? What is she doing with that? I honestly thought she would take me home and work her magic until every last piece of sticky goo was out of my hair, but nope, as she got closer I could tell that Mom, me, and The Peanut Man, cane and all, were about to put on a show. 

I’ve never had a gum and peanut butter moment with one of my children, but there have been a few shows. I parent just like my mother. I’m tough and I’m driven by an unwillingness to allow my children to become less than their destiny demands. Words like you’re so mean and I bet other parents wouldn’t… and I’m over eighteen have bounced across the wood flooring of our tiny ranch on many occasions. These words echo back:  I’m not your friend, I don’t care what other parents do, and as long as you live in this house. It’s called tough love and thankfully their father is a stable presence in all of our lives because he brings calmness and balance to my crazy.

My two kids never slept in bed with us, they toddler marched to timers and routines, and they know the embarrassment of not having their homework or PE uniform because their mom refused to bail them out. They both have jobs because one wants to replace the 1997 Chevy that his grandpa gave him and the other wants a new phone. I’ve gotten plenty of sideways glances from the helicopter moms as they’re flying their darlings from one sporting event to another with a stop over to pick up the homework paper forgotten at school or from the lawnmower moms plowing a path and eviscerating anyone who stands in their child’s way of success. My children are fiercely independent and fiercely loved. I firmly believe that my responsibility isn’t to rescue them every time they falter and fall into the deep end, but rather to teach them to swim so they can at least tread water long enough to drift to the shallow end of the pool while I cheer for them from the deck. There have been a few near-drowning experiences, but they know how to do their own laundry and pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

Many battles have ensued with my oldest because stubbornness is a family trait and giving up a good argument is just not in our DNA. He’s been arguing since he could talk which was early compared to some and not surprising if you’ve encountered him when he’s pursuing one of his innovative ideas. The arguments now are about politics, religion, and why he shouldn’t have to follow our unnecessary rules instead of naptime, snacks, and why he should be able to wear his PJ top and inside-out socks to school. The sock thing really bothered me and it’s laughable now, because that was so insignificant compared to the struggles that followed. I’ll never forget the image of a kicking-screaming-thrashing little boy who didn’t get his way in the dollar store causing me to abandon my cart full of his birthday decorations. The scene that followed of me force-strapping him into his car seat as I uncontrollably sobbed, unfortunately, happened more than once. He is strong-willed, but I learned to be stronger. There is a fine line between parenting and hostage negotiating. My years of the former could probably land me a career in the latter.

My daughter is shy, but when she’s comfortable in her environment, her sassiness appears. She’s also brutally honest, if you can get her to talk. When she was in Kindergarten she told a classmate that her shoes were ugly and asked if she got them at the Goodwill. After a call from her teacher, a conversation about being kind to others took place with my five-year-old questioning me about whether or not she should lie next time. So, I should have lied and said that I liked her shoes? Well, maybe you could find something to like about them and only say that. Isn’t that still lying? In third grade at a sleepover, one of her friends called her fat. So, we had an honest conversation about beauty and body image and I gently reminded her that this is exactly why it’s important to think before you allow every thought to escape from your mouth. I hope she never forgets that God masterfully created her to be beautiful on the inside and when she lets the inside shine bright, it makes her radiant on the outside. A propensity for music has grown in the past few years and I find myself needing to push her toward growth. I’m always in a tug-o-war with these two kids; the oldest needing to be tugged back in and the youngest needing to fly.

I will advocate for them, love them even when they make poor choices, and they will always have a safe haven when life gets tough; I will give them exactly what my mother gave me.

            I can still feel my mother’s vigorous hands working the peanut butter through my locks every time I open a jar. She pulled that peanut butter through my hair so rough that day and removed every last stringy piece of bubble gum. Honestly, it’s a wonder that I can still eat the stuff. Her hands said more than her words ever could. I don’t remember much else other than hoping Ronnie, my first crush, was not walking down the hallway; I would have died if he’d seen my mother at school! I did get quite a few glances from my classmates when I returned to the classroom. Apparently eau de peanut parfum was not a fragrance trend at Rowan. You probably figured it out, but I was not taken home to shower and remove the greasy film that coated my hair; I was sent back to class, probably to make sure I’d learned my lesson. Tough love. It worked because I’m now a responsible mom showing up when my kids need it the most.


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Mum Life Fatigue: Causes and Symptoms

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An old post for a new audience.

Mum Life Fatigue: What is it?

Let’s face it, everyone gets ‘fatigued’. You had a late night, a physically demanding day, the guy down the street had a party and no respect for your slumber, you didn’t get the z’s you needed to be a fully functioning human being. Every person in the world has at some point in their lives been fatigued!

But there is one type of fatigue that only mums understand, one type of fatigue that makes you want to crawl into a deep, dark crater and observe the world go by. One type of fatigue that makes you lose your care factor concerning just about everything and be enraged enough to commit murder at the same time. One type of fatigue that makes you weep over every tiny little thing and earns you the negative version of the nickname ‘Mumma Bear’.  This type of fatigue is what I call ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

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Going Short: An Invitation to Flash Fiction by Nancy Stohlman


Causes:

Mum Life Fatigue is more than your average ‘fatigue’. It’s what happens when you haven’t slept through a single night in 4 years. When your entire day seems to consist of changing nappies, bed sheets and outfits (your babies and your own. Wait…correction, you don’t get time to change your own). When you’ve rocked, bounced, cuddled and sang to your infant for hours on end and they still resist the slumber. When you’ve multi-tasked to the point of feeding a baby, reading to the toddler and hanging the washing on the line at the same time. When you’ve fed, dressed and bathed the kids, done 2 truckloads of washing, vacuumed the floor 3 times, washed the dishes, cleaned poo and crayon off the walls, picked up all the toys and the house still looks like a frat party hit it. When no matter how much time you spend on your feet, there still seems to be 10 more hours of it just around the corner.  When your afternoons and weekends are full of taxiing kids to various sports, activities, play dates, school disco’s, job interviews, shopping trips, hospital visits to remove various tiny objects from body orifices, etc, etc, etc and when your only “me time” consists of sitting on the toilet for 2 minutes with the door locked and ten little fingers wiggling underneath it.

All these things and then some, are the major cause of ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

Symptoms:

Below is a list of 10 symptoms you may experience while suffering ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

  1. Your brain no longer functions at a low capacity let-alone an average one (i.e. you can’t remember the names of anything anymore, most objects become ‘things’, ‘thingies’ or collectively ‘stuff’ and nobody’s name can be recalled if it has more than one syllable.)
  2. Your always late for everything including your own bedtime, but that’s because you stay up till midnight in the attempt to get just a little bit of time to yourself without having to answer a thousand questions about why apples aren’t called ‘reds’ or ‘greens’ since oranges are called ‘oranges’.
  3. You spend the whole day using every ounce of strength to stay upright and conscious only to finally get into bed and be wide awake for the next three hours thinking about everything you did that day and need to do the next. Not to mention worrying about whether you mummy’d well enough that day.
  4. You constantly misplace your sunglasses, bank cards, and car keys and have to waste hours searching for them only to find them right where they belong in your handbag, purse or hanging by the front door.
  5. You forget what the outdoors look and feel like and the view of your lounge room and or kitchen is permanently burned into the back of your eyelids, so even when you close your eyes it’s like your still there.
  6. Your hair and face take on a permanent greasy appearance and the clothes you wear during the day double as pajamas because let’s be honest, it takes too much damn energy to get changed anyway.
  7. You have repetitive thoughts of killing, maiming and otherwise making suffer (and I’m sure we’ve all been here) your snoring partner in the bed next to you while you’re up for the 28th time that night.
  8. You break down crying in the grocery store because some old guy who smells like he hasn’t had a shower in a month, snatches the last bunch of spring onions out from under your nose, right after you discover they are ‘clean-out’ of your favorite chocolate.
  9. You keep calling your kids the wrong names and eventually give up and just shout ‘hey you’.
  10. You swear if your partner tells you one more time that they are tired, you will sneak off in the middle of the night, hop a plane and spend the next ten years picking fruit at various orchards around the world.

If you are suffering any or all of the above symptoms, you more than likely have ‘Mum Life Fatigue’ and should consider treatment.


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How to get a good nights sleep by Richard Graber


Treatment:

There are various treatments you can consider if you are diagnosed with ‘Mum Life Fatigue’, one of them being sleep (this can be expensive however since you may need to hire a full-time nanny) but the cheapest and most effective option is to wait until your children reach the age of 18 and go off to live their own lives.

‘Mum Life Fatigue’ is a temporary condition that can vary in length (depending on how many children you are foolish enough or brave enough to have) and eventually goes away on its own. It is however hereditary (if you have any female children), and it can return later in life under the redefined condition known as ‘Grandparent Fatigue’.

  Related articles:

Mum Life Burnout: 5 ways it can affect you and your family

Mum Life Burnout: 10 ways to cool down

How To Find Balance: Is it even possible?

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Written In Gold – A Micro Story

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We’d like to thank Susi J Smith of Scotland for her micro story ‘Written in Gold’, based on true events. A relatable tale about the value of motherhood.

Susi J Smith is a frustrated writer, and mother of one. She lives in Scotland and longs for a writing room of her own. Susi has previously been published in 101Words.org, Zeroflash, and McStorrytellers. For more information, check out her website:https://mairi187.wixsite.com/susi-j-smith or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusiJSmith/

Susi is also a member of a local writing group; West Lothian Writers.

If you’d like to submit a story to be considered for publishing, please visit our submissions page.

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thanks. 

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WRITTEN IN GOLD

A blank page sits ready and waiting on my laptop while I run back and forth from the kitchen, answering your demands for ‘Peter butter’, ‘Poco cops’, and ‘I-beana’; anything for five minutes peace. But no. The cereal makes you thirsty, your drink stains the rug, and don’t even ask me where you’ve managed to hide the peanut butter. Thank goodness your father isn’t allergic to nuts. Oh wait, he is!

I can dust, do the washing, load the dishwasher, weed the garden, but I can’t sit. I’m not allowed to sit. As soon as my bum hits that couch you snatch my pen and run away laughing. You scribble over my pristine, cherished, and favourite notebooks. You need your ‘packpack’ put on your ‘backback’ then and there because you’re going to the shops for more ‘weeties’.

You absorb my time and creativity and demand it as your own. I take you to soft play; help you find friends, but you’re back every two minutes asking why I’m not ankle-deep in the ball pit like that other mum. Does she have a book to write? Or deadlines that pass without a word hitting the page?

On the calendar, I mark off the days until you start school, the days until I can become more than just ‘Mummy’, ‘the wife of that guy whose clothes are never ironed’, and ‘that part-time employee with the uncombed hair’.

Then, out of nowhere, you give me a card. Handmade. Your name scribbled inside in yellow felt tip. It’s got two extra ‘a’s and a ‘2’ I don’t remember giving it, but it’s there, clear to a mother’s eye. The first proper word you’ve written. And I realize, it’s better than anything I will ever write. The best thing I could ever create sits staring at me from the rug, your eyes the colour of mine, your energy boundless, and all you want is my time, my love, and my whole being.

It’s worth every second I have just to see you grow.





 

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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

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Is Blogging Dead?

Someone told me yesterday that blogging is basically dead, that no one has time (especially mothers) to sit down and read anymore. That vlogging, Youtube, IGTV and FB/Insta stories were where it’s at nowadays. Could this be true? or is it merely a trend that will bloom today and wither tomorrow?

It crossed my mind that perhaps they were right, perhaps I should change my direction if I want to ever be successful and benefit financially from what I pour my heart and soul into, but then I thought about what would happen if we all started giving into this mentality that blogging is dead and we stopped writing, in order to chase success through product layouts, endorsement videos and previews of our morning routine. If we stopped writing/blogging, then would we be enabling the steady decline of book reading, story writing and other literary pursuits? Would we be showing the world that literacy has changed form, being defined now as status updates and memes?

Why I won’t quit!

If I turn my back on blogging, there will be many women who won’t have the opportunity to share their stories, inspiration will not find its way into hungry hearts the way it has when women have shared their success stories or their fiction pieces. Writers will miss their chance to be published without the anthology I promised to have published at the end of this year and instead of doing what I love (writing) I’ll find myself awkwardly stepping in front of the camera (I prefer, behind it), doing what I don’t really love, in order to increase my chances of becoming financially successful. In short, I’d be selling out. So I will not open the gates of self-doubt, drowning in the deluge of defeat and give-up just when I’m starting to get somewhere, just because someone else is finding success in the new wave of Mummy marketing schemes, known as social media influencing. The words “Avon calling” keeps coming to mind. Blogging is hard, heck writing is hard but it makes an impact. I’d rather make the odd dollar here and there through affiliate marketing, touching people’s hearts through relatable experiences and motivating reflections along the way, than to make a career out of encouraging their tendencies for impulse shopping and appealing to their insatiable need to have whatever is currently ‘trending’.I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with that, but I don’t believe it is for me. I want to be open and honest, raw and relatable, not following a formula that’s proven to make people ‘spend big’ which I can only liken to the illusive ‘subliminal advertising’ (now outlawed in most places). So in short, blogging is only dead if bloggers are only blogging for the opportunity to make some coin. If you love blogging and/or writing then blogging will never be dead. You might just have to work that little bit harder to make a living at it.

If you’d like to start a blog, WordPress is an amazing platform and this is my personal opinion, because I love it! 🙂 

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This page contains an affiliate link which may earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you.

Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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How To Find Balance: Is It Even Possible?

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Hi everyone, it’s been a while since I wrote a post on ‘Mum Life’ and I apologize for that. I’ve been pretty wrapped up with our micro-fiction writing competitions, starting a new business venture (I’ll tell you all about it in a couple of months) and taking care of my family, but I decided this morning I was going to dedicate at least an hour of my time writing this post before it flies clean out of my head like a paper napkin out of the car window.

After dropping my older kids off at school Monday morning this week, I was driving home and my head was quickly filling up with all the things that ‘needed’ to be done. Phone calls to make, bills to pay, daycare to organize, decisions to be made about my direction this year, cars to book in for repairs, shopping to be done, school runs, daycare and kindy runs, etc etc etc. You know how it is as a mum, Monday hits and the weight of the entire week starts loading itself upon your shoulders until you can barely breathe from the weight of it. You think about everything that has to be done and how little time you have to do it in and anxiety starts creeping in. If your not careful and don’t get a handle on it as soon as possible, Mum Life Burnout can happen and we all know how bad that can be for ourselves and our family.

This page contains affiliate links which may earn me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. Affiliate links are how I keep this blog running, thank you. 

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You can have it all, or can you?

All over social media and throughout blogs and magazines etc, there’s this sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle message that “all” women can have it “all”, “all” the time, as long as it’s perfectly balanced! It’s the subject of many books, articles and heck, even I ask the question of all my ‘Mum Life Success Story’ mums, “how do you find balance?” This quest to find balance in our lives as women (not just mums, because we are women first) seems to be an ongoing battle that has become the ‘holy grail’ of womanhood. That which must be attained at all costs if we are to find peace and contentment in our lives.

Well I want to challenge the theory that we need to find that ‘perfect balance’ to be content, and even that ‘perfect balance’ is something that is possible at all. See the idea of balance is that we are giving equal attention to all aspects of our lives or at least to the most important aspects. I don’t know about you but my head is constantly overwhelmed with how many things I’m supposed to stack onto those scales to get the balance I need.

  • Being a good mum (i.e. being always available for all my kids needs, I have 5)
  • Taking care of the household (making sure we have a clean, tidy, functional home)
  • Working on financial independence (whether it’s studying or building a business)
  • Maintaining self-care (me-time, personal growth, rest, etc)
  • As a Christian, maintaining my faith (this includes building on my relationship with Jesus, attending and volunteering at church, establishing relationships with members of my church family and being available for God to use me in the lives of others)

Now these are just the most important things and you can already see that it’s a lot to try and balance, and there’s not much room left for anything else. When I think about all the things that are important to me and consider that they need to be perfectly balanced, it feels like a “suicide mission”, and what I mean is that I’m setting out on a mission with a high probability of failure. I’m setting myself up to feel defeated, useless, disappointed and out of control. This once again can open me up to Mum Life Burnout, where Mum Life Fatigue and Depression can steal my peace and my productivity. That constant quest for Balance can be the very thing that makes me feel like I am not good enough, like I am not doing enough, achieving enough, like I within myself am ‘not enough’. Anyone else feel like that?


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Do we need to find balance?

So the question is, do we need to find balance, is it something we should be aiming for? In my opinion….yes and no. We need to balance our lives so that one aspect isn’t consuming every ounce of our time at the expense of the other aspects of our lives but at the same time the pursuit of this ‘balance’ can drive us crazy and create ‘imbalance’ in our hearts.

I can see how this would be confusing, so let me explain.

Like I mentioned earlier, I ask all my ‘Mum Life Success Story‘ mums how they find balance (if they do) and the answers are almost always the same in that ‘they don’t’. What they do do, is make family their main priority. Their families come first and anything else they do has to be juggled around that. Now anyone who has a family will know that things rarely go to plan and cannot be boxed into a particular time frame.

Have you ever been at work or Uni/College/Tafe etc, and received a phone call from your child’s school or daycare centre, informing you your child is ill and you need to come and pick them up asap? I’m sure most of us have been there. Your going about your business, feeling capable, productive and in control of your schedule and life, and then BAM, your schedule and your ‘balance’ is thrown off and everything is tossed to the wind because you now have to face a boss, lecturer, clients or yourself (if your self employed) and inform them, you cannot do what you’ve committed to do that day because you have to go collect a child and be a mother for the rest of the day.

How do you deal with this? With strength and poise and calmness and a spring in your step? (Congrats if you do) or is it more like a heavy weight has been thrown onto your scales, tipping it completely off balance in favour of one side? Does it make you feel deflated? Angry? Irritable and short on patience? I know I’ve been there. I’ve finally gotten into a good routine (me last week) and I feel like I’m killing it with how evenly my scales are tipped and then something will once again throw it off balance and my balance ‘high’ comes crashing down and I feel resentful (again, me last week). This often shows in my attitude and behaviour toward my family, the most important aspect of my life. In turn I once again feel like I’m failing at life, failing at everything I’ve been put on this planet to do.

In situations like this we can feel like nothing is ever completely balanced because life can be unpredictable. If we think of balance as having all the important aspects of our lives equally divided and adhering to strict measurements and time frames etc etc, then we will inevitably fail to find balance. Life and especially family does not ever stick to a tight schedule. So how can we give time to all the important areas of our lives and not feel defeated and out of control when the scales get tipped in one direction or the other.


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Is Our Idea Of Balance Unbalanced?

Let me explain this using some illustrations, because if your like me (a visual learner) you’ll understand things better if your shown rather than told.

So if we imagine our life like a giant scale that’s evenly balanced with all the important aspects of our lives equally divided up on each side we can see how ‘balance’ is designed to work. For the purpose of getting this post done quicker, I will keep it simple with just four aspects.

Let’s say we have one block for family (this includes all the things that we need to do with and for our families including relationships with spouses or partners), one block for work (this can include all aspects of work and or study etc, if your doing one or the other that is), one block for self care (this includes ‘me time’, hobbies, exercise and other health related things) and one block entitled ‘other’ which is everything else we consider important in our lives (extra study, time with friends, volunteer projects, church commitments etc etc).

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So the idea of balance is that all areas of our lives that are important to us need to be equally divided in order for the scales to be even. When family life happens, as it does, we see something like this, with family taking up more time than any other aspect.

Scales 2

This of course throws everything out of balance and in order to get things back in balance something has to suffer and usually it’s our sleep or self-care. Then the inevitable burn-out happens and even though we’ve gotten all our priorities back into a balanced place our bodies, our mindset and our sanity is all out of whack and maintaining balance in our life becomes a futile task once again.

Solution

So how do we find balance in our daily or weekly lives without losing our sanity and peace in the process?

It’s all about our mind set, our main priority and our attitude toward it. The truth is as I’m sure most of you already know, that family should always be our main priority. If we neglect this aspect of our lives, we inevitably lose it. Kids grow up, lose touch because there’s no connection anymore, they have families and repeat the cycle over again. Our attitude toward community I believe can be directly linked to our attitude toward family.

If family is not our main priority then community also takes a back seat. This can mean that we often isolate ourselves, fail to establish connections with others and ultimately spend a great deal of our lives alone, unconnected, unsupported and struggling. I’m not saying this is true in all cases and that all disconnection and isolation comes from a lack of quality family life, it’s a complex issue with so many variables and contributing factors that it would take 10 books to cover it all, but not making family our most important and valuable treasure in life can affect not just ourselves but our children in the long run.

So what I suggest is a change of heart or mindset as to what creates balance. Instead of trying to assign equal time to each aspect of our lives, maybe family should be the main aspect that we focus on. Assigning more importance to family than anything else, giving it more of our attention and time and focus would make the scales look something like this.

SCALES 3

What this means for the other aspects of our lives

We all know that if we overload ourselves with too much to do, we inevitably burn out and then we are no good to anyone or anything.

I know it’s important to make money, for without it we cannot live, our families cannot live and the cost of living these days far exceeds most basic incomes, but what I’m saying is do we need that brand new fancy car, that yearly vacation, that latest technology, that bigger house etc etc? Are there things we are living for, working for that are taking priority over our families so that whenever the inevitable family life happens and we are forced to put it first, we are feeling out of balance and losing our cool?

Our kids are only with us for such a short time, a lot of us are pushing for careers, lifestyles and incomes that go above and beyond simply providing for our families. We reach a goal in life and the satisfaction is momentary and we are setting a new higher goal for the next momentary satisfaction. The world has become consumed with “self” and achieving for “self” so we can feel fulfilled as a human being etc etc etc, but focusing on self, what we can achieve, what we can earn, what we can get, what we can ‘feel’ from all of that, means putting our families into a little box that is the same size as all the other little boxes in our lives and we can sometimes resent it when that little box tries to grow and outweigh the other little boxes, leading our families, our spouses, our children etc feeling unimportant, unheard, unseen and looking for all those things in all the wrong places.

As I write this I feel like it’s going in so many different directions that need expanding on which would equal at least one book, so I will sum up my thoughts (and these are just my thoughts, I’m no expert) into two more paragraphs.




Conclusion

Instead of striving for balance in all areas of our lives and inevitably failing and feeling like a loser (harsh but true), maybe we should strive to balance our family life with all the other areas of our lives. If other areas have to suffer, don’t stress too much. Obviously work has to be the second priority but everything else can have it’s time. You may not fit all of it into a week, you may have to think about a monthly or yearly schedule that accomplishes all your other goals but don’t stress out when you can’t fit in that pottery class this week, or you have to say no to volunteering this time or you miss a session at the gym or the spa etc etc.

Look at the smiles on your kids faces, the joy in their hearts when you make them a priority. Cherish every moment, even if you have to have pizza at home instead of going to a restaurant, make the most of the little moments, celebrate the victories and achievements of your children, consider them your own achievements and you’ll find satisfaction in that because they are your offspring, your progeny, they carry so much of you within them and they will learn what is important from what you show them is important.

Please remember these are just my opinions, I know everyone’s situation is very different and we all have to do what works for us and our families.

Are there any plans or strategies you use to help gain ‘balance’ in your life?

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With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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The Scent of Innocence: A Flash Fiction Story

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We’d like to thank Kim Hart for her flash fiction story ‘The Scent of Innocence’. A heart-wrenching tale about remembering a son after his passing.

Kim Hart is a writer who enjoys writing drabbles, micro-fiction, flash fiction, short stories, and screenplays. She loves reading mystery novels and hopes to write one someday. She is a mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to a 3-year-old grandson, who lives too far away. She lives in the Snowy Mountains with her husband and German Shepard cross, Kody.

When Kim isn’t writing, she can be found walking to her local coffee shop for a much-needed chai latte, or in front of her T.V. watching crime dramas, renovation shows and baking competitions.

You can follow Kim on twitter at @kimh8765





Photo by Fabrice Nerfin on Unsplash

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THE SCENT OF INNOCENCE

Emma knew there were 11 children in the cemetery. She had counted. She needed to know she wasn’t alone in her suffering. Sometimes she wondered what their stories were, how their families were coping. She never saw anyone at their graves. Did nobody love them anymore? Were they lonely? Occasionally a toy would appear, leaning against a headstone, but she seemed to be the only parent who visited her child regularly. Would she ever stop coming?

Jacob’s headstone bore a crescent moon above his name. They had always ended each day with a chorus of ‘Love you to the moon and back’. Night-time had been their special time. After the chaos of the day, they’d settle on his bed and read; his pirate doona pulled up to his chin and Charlie bear tucked in safely beside him. Emma would breathe in the fresh scent of him as she read. Cuddles were given freely, no big boy embarrassment like at preschool drop-off. He had taken to shaking her hand the weeks before his passing. She had thought it was cute but longed to feel his little body pressed against hers. The warmth sustained her through her long days without him.

Now here she was missing everything; the warm cuddles, the soft handshakes, the whispered words before bedtime, the smell of his hair.

Emma took the store-bought flowers from her basket. A fresh bunch every week replaced the dry, drooping ones from the week before. A spider had made his home in last week’s bunch, weaving his intricate web between the leaves and petals. Dewdrops shimmered like magic diamonds between the strands. She’d take the spider home and put him in her garden. Jacob would like that. He had always loved animals, especially insects. It drove her to distraction finding bugs in boxes beneath his bed, and she was never allowed to kill anything that had made its way inside her home. She relocated everything.

“Hello there. Lovely day,” a groundskeeper said to her as he tended a nearby rose bush. Emma smiled and nodded, unable to return the pleasantry. She worried if she started talking, even to say hello, she would start crying—again. The well of tears never seemed to dry up. The only time she had been unable to cry was at his funeral service. She had been numb from head to toe, as if she was floating above the scene, watching another’s tragedy playing out like a tableau beneath her.

She took a bottle of water from her basket and filled the vase cemented to the little grave. She’d paid extra for that. She trimmed the stalks of the flowers she had brought— yellow roses and white carnations today—with scissors from her kitchen. Yellow was Jacob’s favourite colour. The ritual was almost complete. Emma said a silent prayer to a God she no longer believed in, gathered her things and began the long, lonely, silent trip home.


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Thanks

Thanks for reading this blog, if you’d like to keep up to date with all the latest news, stories and promos, including giveaway’s and writing competitions, please sign up to our mailing list. You’ll also receive a FREE Ebook exclusive to our email subscribers.


Get your FREE Ebook

Accomplish more IN a fraction of the time

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

ebook button


 

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