I’ve been thinking a lot about balance over the last few weeks. Balance between my different selves, or the different parts that make up me as a person. Mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister, employee, woman (self). So many parts make up this whole, that most days, most parts aren’t even thought of, much less nurtured.
Mother – That’s the easy one. I say easy, but I mean easy to see, easy to listen to, and easy to meet the demands of that self. If I ignore the demands of motherhood, my daughter will cry all day, moan for my attention, cling to my body. The role of ‘mother’ is the easiest to pay attention to, because it has immediate priority. Fail in my role as a mother, and it’s very noticeable.
Wife – This one is somewhat harder. It is a role that is easily interchanged, but when this one isn’t going well, it impacts most on the mother role. When I am being and feeling successful as a wife, mother seems to be a little easier to bare, but because of the nature of Wife, it is often set aside, left on the shelf for later when there is more time, more energy, more desire. This role is easy to forget and to lose. Yet it is so crucial, in my life, to holding mother together too.
Daughter – This ebbs and flows. Sometimes the demands on me as daughter are exceptionally high â€“ much higher than they should be, but life waits for no one’s convenience and when it’s time to step up, it’s time to step up. In my life, this role impacts massively on wife. When daughter is unhappy, wife is unhappy, which by default means mother is unhappy too.
Sister – Sister hasn’t been my strongest role in the last ten years. Time and distance have separated me from my siblings for a very long time. Sister is a functional and honorary title in my life, reminiscent of another time, a long time ago. Sister doesn’t get called on often, but when she does, wife normally gets pushed aside a little.
Friend – Friend has so many different categories and include online and in real life, work and play. Friend rarely has time in any given day, unless my friend is happy to include mother in the friendship. Friends that accept mother see more of friend. When friend has a strong day, daughter, sister and often wife all have to take a back seat. This is the sad truth of it. There’s often simply not time in the day for friend. This makes friend sad, and a sad friend can lead to a very sad mother and wife.
Employee – Employee is the least important of the selves in the greater scheme of things, but the most pressing, after mother. When employee fails, wife and mother take great strain. Employee is a small part of my day, at the moment, but a bossy one, demanding great things from self. When employee demands too much, friend, sister, daughter and wife all take a back seat, leaving a stressed employee and a stressed mother.
Me – Me is the most important in this little dance, yet the most neglected and the least appreciated. When me is tired, none of the others function at their best. When me is sad, all the others suffer. When me is constantly pushed aside by employee, friend, sister, daughter, wife and mother, they all fail, because me is the foundation of all of the other personae.
When me is nurtured, supported and cared for, everything else falls in to place and all the others have a chance â€“ especially wife and mother.
There are more roles, but these will do for now.
Unfortunately finding the balance between the three main roles that make up self, i.e. mother and wife, with the interchangeable variable of the other roles, and me, can be very tough. Yet it is essential for a smooth running self.
I’d love to know how you find the balance, and what you see as the ideal?
What are your selves? How many hats do you wear and selves do you have? How do you cope with them all, and what do you do to ensure ‘me’ has some R&R time?
To Which Self Be True – Finding Balance in Motherhood
I find it hardest to fit in the “Wife” role these days. Our kids are 2 and 4, and I am breastfeeding the 2yo. They are both still very dependent on me, and I don’t mind. My husband is very busy and is not home a lot, except for late at night. We all go to bed at the same time, so there isn’t quiet time at night. It’s hard to fit in time for us right now, but I am thinking that this part will get easier as the kids get older. I am lucky to have a really understanding husband. Interesting to think about though!