Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Balance to the 4th Degree

This morning I had an early meeting, which meant I had to be up before anyone in the house and get ready without waking everyone up. And I live in a small house. The tiniest speck of light or decibel of noise awakens the entire bunch. I've mastered the art of putting on makeup in the dark. I can sense when I'm reaching the top of the mug when pouring coffee. I shower with a candle as my only light source (kinda nice actually).

My husband hates my early meetings because he has to get the kids up and ready for school without any backup. It means I can't be giving the kids their ninth reminder to get dressed--"or the TV goes off!"--while he's out scraping the snow off the car.

My meeting was for an organization where I am on the board, so it had nothing to do with my day job. Afterward I arrived at work around the same time I usually do. When I called my husband for our noon check-in phone call, he asked if I'd be home early today, since I had gone to work so early. "Well, no," I said. "That meeting wasn't related to my actual work so I can't really justify leaving early." I've explained this before, but he still got a little pissed. When you're with two kids all day, I suspect you start to count down the minutes to when your spouse gets home to help out. To make it worse, I told him that I really needed to fit in a quick run when I get home. So since he's a stay-at-home dad, my board meeting, work day and exercise just turned his work day into an 11-hour day. After I spend some time with the kids tonight, I will have achieved a fairly balanced day. My husband, not so much.

Balance is tricky when you're just one person trying to fit a lot of activities into one day. When you are trying to incorporate balance for every member of a family of four, it becomes exponentially complicated. How do I fit in work, kids, exercise, extracurricular commitments, and on and on without taking advantage of my husband (and often kids) in the process? How do I help them do all the things that they need/want to do too? I don't know. I'm asking. Anyone?

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