Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
In October, those of us in the Carnival of Natural Parenting were asked to write about how we stay centered and balanced as an attachment parent. I have to admit, I am so glad to be at the spot I am to write this post.
My girls are six and four. They both breastfed until they were just past their third birthday. Until we moved in to our current house a little over a year ago, I had been co-sleeping full-time (and doing all of the night-wakings) with one or both of my children since Iris was born (so that would be five total years if you don't care to do the math yourself). My children were parented to sleep every night of their lives, which is to say, we never shut the door and let them scream. We still parent them to sleep these days, but it's much less work on our end.
I'm also a stay-at-home mom. I have been since just before Eloise's birth (so about 4 1/2 years now). I'm in the trenches day in and day out with my girls. I prefer to think I'm an available, loving, giving, caring, nuturing parent. So let's hope when my girls look back on their childhoods 10-20-50 years from now, they'll also agree. Being an attached parent carries in to our girls' school age years by always having a parent home for them.
In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, my husband often works long hours and travels quite a bit for his job. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I ever paid someone to help with my girls while he was gone.
So all of this to justify what I'll say next: I get a heck of a lot of "me" time. The largest chunk of me time I get right now is because my children are both in school at the same time 12 hours a week. Admittedly, I use that time to run errands and do other general household management duties, but some of it, certainly enough of it, is time for just me. I swim laps. I have coffee, in a coffee shop, sometimes even with friends. I write. A LOT. I eat lunch in peace. I watch tv.
When my husband gets home at night 99% of the time he jumps right in to play with the girls. More than half of the time he puts them to bed. If I ever have something I need (or, really, want) to do at night, my husband is there to be with the girls so I can go do it.
We didn't get here overnight. Things were rough for a while, I wondered if I would ever see the light of day again. Looking back, the time didn't seem as long as it felt when I was in the middle of it.
My husband and I still very, very rarely get dates alone together, but eventually, when we have a little extra in our budget, we will do that more. For now, he gets his basketball time and time to go out to see live music whenever he wants and I get the time I need. It keeps us happy and helps a great deal with our stress levels.
To be honest, I'm pretty nervous about how I will manage to find as much "me" time once we start homeschooling, but we'll figure it out. Likely the money we save on school tuition will afford us other things, like the ability to hire babysitters a bit more often. We'll see.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)