What is a healthy balance?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2006
What is a healthy balance?
42
Wed, 04-15-2009 - 11:43pm
The post I made here recently "is 30 minutes a day with your kids enough" and the Dr. Laura post make me wonder--what is a healthy balance?

Kat

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-04-2009
Wed, 04-15-2009 - 11:55pm

A healthy balance for me has to take into consideration the needs and wants of every other member of the family as well as the reality of the family's financial situation, so even "for me" there isn't a hard and fast answer. There are far too many variables.

Which I realize sounds like a total cop out, but it's really not. I've worked night shift for many years, starting when John was in high school. It was a good fit for the family we were at that time. Had he been in elementary school or middle school, however, I don't believe that it would have been. I was active duty military when John was born and that was fine while he was an infant. But when I couldn't get a strategic assignment (read that as: a military billet that would have been office work), I knew remaining in the military would not have been fine for his toddler years.

Despite the bad rap that having relatively easy-go-lucky babies gets on this board recently (i.e., the suggestion they weren't really or we forgot or we're just making it all up or something), the fact is, he WAS an easy go lucky baby, and that made a significant difference. Had he been like his little sister was at the same age, even as an infant my remaining in the military would not have been a good fit for us. And I know there are plenty who would NOT have made my choices, even if they'd gotten John as the infant in question in a similar situation. Which is fine. For them.

As a parent, you make the best choices you can and you have to take into consideration many different variables. And then you live with them. In the end, I have a kid who is an adult of whom I am quite proud and in whom I take much joy.

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Kitty

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Kitty

"If you can't annoy somebody with what you write, I think there's little point in writing."-- Kingsley Amis, British novelist, 1971 t .

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2005
Wed, 04-15-2009 - 11:55pm

For me personally, the right balance would be working 25 hours a week (something like M-F 8am-1pm). SAH with little ones would be kid overload for me, and full time WOH would make me feel like I'm rushing to get time in with them before bed.

Basically I want neither spreadsheets nor Barney songs to dominate my waking hours. :-) That's my healthy balance.

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Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 4:42am

I think that once you have kids, it is important to be flexible in your thinking. Most parents have had to eat their words at some point. Most of us have at some point said or thought, "my child will never ..." only to find out down the road that, uhm well, yeah, your kid WILL sleep in your bed/eat chips/get a D/scream in the grocery store/throw food in a restaurant or whatever you had yourself convinced that your perfect child would never do.

The same goes for the child's needs and your needs. I know several women who were convinced that SAH was the way to go, only to find out 3 months into it that they hated it and missed their jobs. Likewise, I know women who were convinced that their careers were numero uno, only to find out that they preferred to stay home, bake cookies and putter in the garden.

So, the goal should be to cover everyone's needs and preferably a few wants as well. Neither the needs nor the way to cover them necessarily remain constant or turn out to be what you imagined. I think a huge range of solutions can work for most families. The only really important thing is that the parents be committed to their family and that they make decisions that they can stand behind.

For us the balance was achieved by choosing city living and a 2-minute commute, by foot. We chose a neighborhood where dd could walk to school and with ample access to parks and other outdoor amenities. We also minimized our overhead very deliberately, not so one of us could SAH, but so that we would have some choice and freedom in what we do and would not end up feeling like slaves to our lifestyle. This way we have been able to provide well for dd and yet be able to do the things we like to do as well. Dh, for example, has been able to continue to do the pro bono (not law, but still pro bono) work he loves to do. It also means that there is that flexibility. During times when dd needs more attention/time, we can take that time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-06-2009
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 6:51am

you know...I don't now... but I know that I'm tired. that i'm worn down and that it's just plain hard.

For ME and the kind of person and mom I am and the ind of kid liza is I think I'd love to be eiither home every day at 2pm OR work onl 4 days a week -- THAT would be heaven.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2009
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 7:14am

For me the right balance has changed as my kids have aged.

It was easier to balance more time out of the home when I had less hands on work inside the home that needed to be tended to.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2009
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 8:54am

I think the right balance occurs when all the family's needs are met -- as a family, and each family member's needs as an individual.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 9:00am

I'm just going to ditto this.

I also think the right balance for me depends on the quality of time spent with family, working, etc., not just the quantity of it.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2006
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 9:08am

great question.


the only part of me that's in balance is having a DH who helps keep things in check.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2006
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 9:34am
That would be my healthy balance, too =)

Kat

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-20-2006
Thu, 04-16-2009 - 9:37am

You made some pretty smart choices!

Kat

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