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A GREAT BALANCING ACT

Posted on: Monday



These past few weeks have flown by so quickly, with so much living crammed into each hour of each day.  And yet as I rush and work, and I try to get everything done, and I grow, and watch everything around me grow, I'm finding it hard to find a sense of accomplishment.  Its as if all of this work is turning the days into a blur, and the blurry days keep flying by.  And meanwhile the list of things that must be done continues to grow, and I just can't see how I will ever be strong and efficient enough to get to the end of it.  September, arguably the most beautiful month in New York City, is nearly over, and instead of getting out to enjoy it, I find myself running late to work and struggling to stay on top of laundry, and pushing the deadlines for my own business goals a little further away, again.

So many people told me when I was hugely pregnant with Biet that motherhood was going to be the hardest, but most gratifying, endeavor of my life. They told me that it was ok to be overwhelmed, to cry, to put my own life on hold for my child. They said that my days would be chaotic and my nights would be restless, and that it would be all I could do to get a shower in the morning.  They told me to cherish every moment because it would be over before I knew it and my baby girl would be a resentful teenager. They all told me "Enjoy it, it goes by so fast." So many people felt they needed to prepare me for the great toilsome challenge of motherhood, and, truth be told, they worried me a bit.

And then I became a mother.

And I waited for the hardest challenge of my life. I had toughened myself up, had prepared mentally to deal with it all, but... it never came.  I spent the first weeks at home with this brand new little life, taking it easy, resting, nursing, co-sleeping, healing, bonding. And then I continued on with my city life, wearing the baby everywhere I went. And it was great. It was almost, dare I say, easy. And I wondered why had not one person told me this side of the story? No one had told me how simple a new baby's needs are, how convenient it was to nurse, how easily you can adjust to being a family of three when you have a positive attitude and a loving partner.  I feel as though parents feel a pressure and obligation to warn about the bad, while keeping mum about the good.  Maybe I was lucky, but those first six months with my baby girl truly weren't difficult.  Sure my sleep patterns and daily routines changed, but overall I felt that it was a wonderful transition into motherhood.  As time went by and she grew into a mobile, eating, expressive person, it definitely became more work.  It makes me realize how easy I had it in the early days.

Over these past few weeks though, I think I finally understand what everyone was speaking of. Now I know the feeling of wanting to sit down and cry because you know that there is no way on this great earth that you possess enough energy or patience or stamina to deal with all that you need to.  I know what it is to want so badly to have yourself put together and have your home put together, to have your family fed and happy and the dog walked, and to have your own personal endeavors well on their way... when it is all you can do to get a shower in the morning.  This month I truly understand the deep challenge of parenthood. And I know that it will pass.

I see these hectic days as a calling, to me, to my family, to find a new balance.  I will be working out some details over the next few days to create new routines, changed responsibilities, and unified priorities so that our lives can settle into a more healthy and peaceful pattern.  I miss moments of calm.  I miss feeling on top. I must have that back, for my sanity. And I will.

I read Biet one of my favorite books (children's or otherwise) tonight before she went to bed, and the last line of the story was exactly what I needed to hear at the end of a long day. It sums up my feelings about the future so perfectly, so concisely. I needn't say more:

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.”  

Thank you Mr. Seuss, for reminding me that I was born to move mountains. Everything will once again fall into its place, we will find our balance, and this autumn month will be remembered as a great challenge that our family overcame.  I am certain.

And does motherhood go by so fast, as everyone says? I suppose you can ask me again in twenty years, but I have to say now that, to me, it all goes by in perfect time.  It's not that time has sped up, its just that witnessing a person change so quickly in front of your eyes make you realize how slowly you yourself change.  Unless you allow yourself to change along with them.


27 COMMENTS:

  1. It's so good to hear that the transition to motherhood doesn't have to be fraught with tears and difficulty; with 6 weeks left until my due date it seems like the only thing people want to say are jokes about how hard it will be. You'll get through this hard time. It's just a season of growing and changing like so many others.

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    1. It is definitely challenging, but beautiful and full of love as well. I don't think there is one universal experience, so no one can tell you what to really expect. It is all about growth and change and nurturing. I loved that time.

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    2. And congratulations on your upcoming little one!

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  2. this is a beautiful post. and it's true, what you wrote.

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  3. Biet looks a lot like you! Do you ever get that?

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    1. Actually very rarely! EVERYONE says how much she looks like her Dad. I think she got a bit more of him than me.

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  4. Beautifully written Belle! And of course Biet's picture is stunning! Hope to visit soon, and I can help with the stressors of day to day business! I am sure you are doing an amazing job!

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    1. Thank you Lisa!! I can't wait to see you!

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  5. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous (like everything you write). But I've so been struggling with this lately. It's like everything has come at once, and right when Iris is at her busiest. Motherhood wasn't a simple adjustment for me, but we'd found our rhythm, you know? And now there is my 18-month-old getting into everything, the house in shambles as we try to prepare for baby #2 in a few weeks, and FINALLY, FINALLY momentum on my book--which I've been hoping and praying for since FOREVER but why-oh-why did it all happen RIGHT NOW?

    But the point is, as an outsider, it seems like you always have things in perspective. It seems like your daughter always comes first and like you do stop and allow yourself to get caught up in the wonder of being a mom and seeing your beautiful daughter grow. I guess we just move through different seasons and the feeling of balance ebbs and flows. And maybe the real adjustment, the real balance is just learning to go with it whether the feeling is there or now?

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    1. Thank you Sarah,
      Your comment is so beautiful!
      I think that you're right, it is all ebbs and flows, and we do move through many many different seasons. I feel as though a new one is beginning, finally, just now, and maybe it will bring with it some order and stability.
      Congratulations on your upcoming birth!!!
      Belle

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  6. So wonderfully written. As a mama 14 months in and back in the rigor of work and motherhood, this was so encouraging. Your sweet daughter is a beauty!

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    1. Thank you Erika!
      Our littles are almost the same age!

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  7. Motherhood wasn't a simple adjustment for me, but we'd found our rhythm, you know? And now there is my 18-month-old getting into everything, the house in shambles as we try to prepare for baby #2 in a few weeks.ED treatment

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  8. In this era, everyone is too busy even don't have time to eat balancing food. People use to eat junk foods due to lack of time and this cause some high diseases in them. In the first they cause fat which adds their weight. los angeles nursing students financial aid

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  9. This is true a balancing diet leads to balancing body as well as balancing health. It is true if you over eat then you can suffer from severe diseases. I am very inspired to read your blog post and find very authentic and valuable information. Kinesio tape

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