Balance

Happy New Year and New Decade Farmgirl Friends!

Our snow family greeting the new year and new decade!

Our snow family greeting the new year and new decade!

It’s been a big time for change and newness around here as we get settled into our new (to us) house, new routines and new part of town.  I’ve been asked approximately 4.3 million times how we are liking our new house, if we are all moved in, etc. etc.  My usual reply is–yes! It’s great and yes all of our stuff is in the house.  Note: I did not say we are all moved in :).  It’s proving to be difficult to “move in” with all of this newness happening with young kids around.  I’m generally okay with this and try to find the humor in it…but there are times of darkness and turmoil! (like when I decided to collect and organize ALL OF OUR SHOES).

These are just some of the kid shoes in our possession. Maybe I should open a shoe store?

These are just some of the kid shoes in our possession. Maybe I should open a shoe store?

I’ve noted to a few people that, while tidying up, I am immediately followed by a troupe of un-tidiers. Evan is good to point out that it often looks like the kids have had a great day if all of the toys and crafts and creations scattered about give any clue to what their days were filled with. Truthfully–the kids have been getting along SO WELL since moving.  It is wonderful and unexpected.  I’m sure it has something to do with us being a little bit more remote than we were before.  The -5 to -20 temps we had pretty consistently might have helped, too.

Fern provided us with a new art installation.

Fern provided us with a new art installation.

 

We all know that moving takes time, and there are many other things to do in our day to day outside of organizing and unpacking.  And really–anything I can do to avoid organizing and unpacking is good with me. Unless I have another deadline, then organizing and unpacking is great procrastination for that.

Fun times in Ava's new bedroom.

Fun times in Ava’s new bedroom.

I’m kind of coming around to the idea that I am more productive the more full my plate is. I think many of you can relate to this.  It at least takes more intention, more planning and more organization when I have to juggle multiple roles and jobs in life. I haven’t had to do this for awhile since having kids.  The demands are different with kids.  At least in my life, there is no invisible (or visible) hand checking in to make sure I stay on task.  I am not very entrepreneurial, so that means I often just kind of flounder about and go wherever the wind takes me.  Don’t get me wrong–that is a lovely way to exist!  But I was starting to feel…unmotivated and kind of value-less.  There was only so much satisfaction I could get from the demands of domesticity.  I also had this nagging feeling that I knew I could be doing and being so much more, but I just wasn’t doing it.  I didn’t have the accountability that I was used to in previous chapters of life (like in school and work).

Un-Tidiers in action.

Un-Tidiers in action.

But then, the alternative of going to work and being away from my tiny ever-changing children for hours every day was not appealing to me (however, I wholly understand why others want and/or need to do this)! If only I was a mom-preneur with endless motivation to stick to my guns.  I felt I had to make a choice–to work and leave my children or not work (or work sporadically) and be with my kids.  I chose the latter, but could feel my morale failing.  And then I just questioned myself more.  What good is a demoralized mother for kids? What a privileged conundrum I found myself in.

Ava's snow fairy creation. This kind of fun isn't always possible when everyone is working.

Ava’s snow fairy creation. This kind of fun isn’t always possible when everyone is working.

These deep dives into my place and role in the world, and on a deeper level the entire human species’ place and role in the world would often end with some action to change where I was…or at least complain endlessly about how screwed up our work-focused society is. What the heck are humans doing on this planet working their tushes off for some unknown end-goal? What are we doing spending the majority of our adult lives with a bunch of random people that aren’t (often) the people we love and enjoy most in the world? Why do we work so hard to have all of these things we can’t enjoy because we are working all the time and tired when not working? Where is the balance? Sorry, but I haven’t come up with any compelling reasons for these things (outside of radical rants against unfettered capitalism religious fueled guilt, winky face).  All I know is we don’t have to live this way and I’m hoping all of my pondering and musing will one day help me and my family have a more even work-life balance.  I want to to work more; Evan wants to work less! We both could use a teeny tiny bit more individual and couples time, and the whole family does better when we are all together for nice chunks of time without outside forces pulling us in a million directions.

Balance, Balance, Balance

Balance, Balance, Balance

So that’s what we are focusing on in this new decade: Balance. Balance in work and life, fun and relaxation, hard and soft, inside and outside, fast and slow, near and far, easy and hard, new and old.  So far, we have added more work on my end and it has been kind of a hard transition, but it is also a welcomed one.  I’ve been forced to prioritize things in my life more than I have had to in the recent past.  It strangely feels good to have that little bit of pressure induced motivation.  My uncle retired from a writing focused administrative position and recruited me to take over. I can do it remotely from my home at any time of the night or day! It’s part time and a good fit for me.  We are working out the kinks; but it is really nice to have consistent, predictable, profitable work.  Evan has been incredibly financially supportive over the past six years (that’s right, Ava is turning six in ONE week!) while I have earned tiny fractions of our household income, but it was hard for me to feel any autonomy in our situation.  This move will be good for me, and in turn our entire family.  Happy wife, happy life, so they say.  Happy mom, life’s the bomb.

Evan deserves more time to enjoy winter daylight hours!

Evan deserves more time to enjoy winter daylight hours!

Now if we can find a way for Evan to work less, balance will be easier to achieve! Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. One day we will realize our rural dream of having it all in balance. Until then, we’ll just keep working on it and probably get out of balance more than we’d like.

Opal recently turned four.  We went bowling for her birthday and it was a blast!

Opal recently turned four. We went bowling for her birthday and it was a blast! Here she is helping Fern bowl for the first time.

So, Farmgirls, I hope you find whatever balance you are seeking in the days, months and years to come.  It all takes time!

Sending peace and love from Alaska,

Alex, the Rural Farmgirl

Leave a comment 6 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Alex—what a beautiful family! I don’t know where you all are but I have family in Nikiski (SW AK). I’m a LOT older than you but your words resonate even at my age (70). Don’t let that discourage you, hon LOL. Enjoy your times, knowing that you’re making so many wonderful memories. Love from OR, Beth

  2. Pamela says:

    Alex, Great insights and thoughts! You are definitely on the right track, and it will pay off for your family and also for society. I understand that some people have to work out of necessity. However, when materialism is the goal, everybody suffers. With my oldest, I had to work as a single parent. When I remarried, I chose to be a stay at home mom working very minimal hours. Yup, we had to give up some stuff but I do not regret that decision! As an older and hopefully wiser Farmgirl (turning 70 this month-OMG!), I applaud your wisdom and choices at your age!!! Pamela

  3. Breahna says:

    You could have written my life for the last three years. Except I opted for the other route (more due to available work than choice) and am working full time, outside the house. I love my job but miss my mom time and wish I’d have done more/better with it, but I think that’s just part of mom’ing.

  4. Laura Burke says:

    This is so beautifully written! I find myself at the other end of motherhood as my children are almost grown and mostly gone. I still struggle with feeling unmotivated and value-less. I have also found working ‘away’ for a small portion of my day has made a world of difference in how I feel about myself and it has renewed my love for my own little world. I’m going to keep the word balance in my mind and close to my heart.
    Happy 2020 to you and yours. ♥

  5. Marilyn says:

    Good luck in your new home. The snow family is adorable. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OPAL. Hope she had a good one. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO AVA. Wishing Opal and Ava a year of happiness and blessings.
    Marilyn

  6. Sharon says:

    Take it one day at a time. Each day find at least one thing that made you happy. Laugh much, love lots and be true to yourself. Have a good week. My kids and grandchildren are busy living their lives. I remember thinking when our kids were small how I never seem to have a minute. I thought retiring and having them living on their own would be wonderful. I am proud of who they are and I know all the memories made were the best of life.

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