Friday, March 19, 2010

Fear of Falling

Even a cursory spin around the blogosphere shows us to be tired, torn and blocked. I feel the pull of other commitments, the tug of things undone at work, at home, as time seems to spin wildly out of control.

I feel the push to get kids to where they need to be before we break for Spring, the unrelenting pressure of that final, mad dash to the end of the year dragging those kids kicking and screaming every inch along the way.

I feel the pressure to write courses and curriculum for next year. And I’m already behind on that. How the hell can that be? I have my own kids who still have wants and needs, like being fed every freaking night, and a house that mocks my feeble attempts to keep the chaos at bay. We all have these things and more.

It’s guilt and shame and the ever present sense of epic fail that haunts us and I would kill for a break, a little balance in my life. Ann over at Procrastinating Writers has a lovely little post here that you might want to check out.

And after you do, here are my questions to you. What do you do to find balance in your life? Not time to write, not time to wrestle with your writer's block, not time to cram more things into your overcrowded schedule, but balance in your daily life.

An even bigger question I have is this. Now that there’s more sunshine, shouldn’t I (we) be feeling better?


  1. I do feel better with the weather. It is amazing how that affects me. It hard to balance. I feel almost angry when I don't get writing in. My kids start jumping up and down to get my attention and my hubby too. It is hard you are pulled in so many directions but you just want to please yourself. I am still looking for the magic schedule where everyone is happy. When I find it I will let you know:)

  2. Nice article -- how do find them all? Hey, I was somewhere else this morning and saw your comments about the school district. Jeez, I'm sorry about that. Maybe now you have the opportunity to dust off that ms. and go for it.

    As to finding time to write, I can only do it when Monster Baby is in school. I try it when she's home but I can't concentrate. My house is always a mess, the laundry is never done and my parents won't come over because there's always dirty dishes in the sink. I don't care. I stopped caring a long time ago. I'm in the middle of my mid-life crisis and getting a book published is my new career goal. If I was still at the restaurant I'd be there 60 hours a week so...I don't feel guilty at all. The house would still be a mess. Priorities are different for everyone. You just have to find yours.

  3. It's easier to hole up inside and write like crazy when it's gray and cold out. More daylight means we see more dust! Grrr. And spring means I have to give attention to the garden. Any my hubby teaches an overload course in spring, so his help is limited to cooking.

    My balance secret is a part-time job that often isn't busy. I trade being flush with cash for time to vacuum and walk the dog and throw in a load of wash before my daughter gets home from school. If I were working full time, I suppose I'd hire people to help with some of these niggling tasks.

    Have you heard of the "Once a Month Cookbook"? Some of my friends swear by it to make the mealtime part of life easier. You spend one Saturday a month prepping suppers for the next 30 days. And pay the kids to clean the house. Build that work ethic! :-) "Bonnie's Household Organizer" is another helpful manual for setting up a family schedule and home maintenance plan that works.

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  5. You are overwhelmed. You are the only one who can give you a break. Take it. Don't pressure yourself so much. Do small things. I started carrying around a stack of notecards so that I could write scene ideas and dialogue as it comes to me. At the end of the day, I can look back and see all that I HAVE done. That's the key. Quit looking at what isn't done, but what you have done, who you have cared for, how you have made great things in small ways.

  6. It's always a challenge to find balance. I've actually discovered that balance in and of itself changes. What works one day may not work tomorrow.

  7. Give the sunshine a week or so to sink in. It'll get there ;)

    I'm struggling along to find the balance right now, myself. The cookbook Laurel mentioned is awesome. I have 3 close friends that get together and do it every couple months. I'm joining in on the next one :)

    Kids don't care how you spend time with them, so kill 2 birds by having them help you clean, they unload the dishwasher why you mop the floor and chat about things. Clean their rooms with them and chat. The best part of that is that it makes the cleaning go so much quicker. My kids love music like I do - so we'll balre the tunes while we all clean the downstairs and sing horrendously over the vacuum and speakers :)

    This is the best time of year for my spirits because this is the weekend I get back out in my gardens and get going. I have summer bulbs to plant out front and I have a 25x45 veggie garden out back. That one consumes 2-3 hours 4-5 days a week through the summer. It's worth every second, not only for the peace of mind and the time spent in it with the kids helping, but the fresh veggies as well.

    Go out for coffee with girlfriends at Barnes and Noble, then head to the humor section and read dirty jokes and other silly nonsense to each other.

    Have fun :)

  8. Oh balance, it is so hard to find. I struggle with it everyday! Now I know you're going to think I'm a total fanatic, but running is what balances me. It keeps my mind semi sane. Without it I feel so much pressure building inside me to meet every obligation I have, that I know I can't meet. So yeah, I know I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again. But I don't run for my body, I run for my sanity.

    And I have a little something for you at my blog :)

  9. Lately, I've decided to just do the things I try to push aside and then they bug me and make me feel guilty. Once they are done, I feel good, strong, ready to roll. That's my new strategy, for what it's worth.

  10. Hi, Christine. You're right. It is amazing what a little bit of sunshine does for your disposition. And I'll be forever grateful when you find that magic schedule and share it with me. We all need some balance. :)

    Hi, Anne. Thanks. We are hosed here and the end of the year promises to do nothing but get uglier. But you are right. The guilt has got to go. We all need to be nicer, kinder, gentler to ourselves.

    Hi, Laurel. You're right. It is easier to work when there are few appealing options for going out. That cookbook sounds like a great idea. I'll have to see if I can find it.

    Hi, Mary. You're right. We all need to be a little less demanding of ourselves. I love your idea about the note cards. That's wicked awesome cool. :) And you're right about the have v have not mindset. It is the small things that have major impact on your POV.

    Tara M. That's very true. One can always hope for a better tomorrow. :)

    Tara. Yay!Sunshine! And great ideas. The garden thing sounds great. I'll have to maybe look at starting a small one. :)

    Hi, Crystal. I get what you say about running. I don't run, but all of my kids do. I do walk when it's nice. That always helps. And I'm on my way over the check out your blog. :)

    Tricia, that's me, too. Anything I pass on doing or push off until tomorrow haunts me. I feel better after I finish something and can cross it off my never ending list of things to do. It's a good strategy even if it leaves you exhausted.

  11. You pose an interesting question, which invariably has run through my head of late. I'm hoping that things will just fall into place. The domino effect springs to mind. Wishful thinking on my behalf maybe.

    I love writing lists. Perhaps you could give that a try? Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    You'll get there. You're heading into summer after all. Nothing like a healthy dose of vitamin D :)

  12. Finding balance is hard to do, for sure. But summer's on its way! Take a deep breath and enjoy the rays of sun.

  13. Ah, balance. The quest for the ages. I'm still searching for it.

  14. Well, let's start with the easiest question...
    Sunshine is here, but probably our minds and bodies are still in winter mode: once they get in synch with the season we'll get better too.

    And now for the tough one.
    I don't think there's an easy answer, but I guess one could be this: find balance by doing something you enjoy - even for just ten minutes.
    In that time shut down every thought, every hint of guilt about the things that are still undone, or those that wait to be done.
    Just give yourself those ten minutes - and drink them up to the last drop.

    Hope it helps...

  15. Balance?
    Ptew! (*Balance spits in my face*) Ha ha ha (*then laughs n my face*)

    Yeah, so, I have no balancing tips...other than this gem: Frozen Pizza
    Oh, and lower your expectations, and the expectations of those around you. (make them chip in to help.)
    And creating a little bit of a daily/weekly schedule.

    It is THE challenge I think every mother (in particular) struggles with.

    Have a Happy Weekend!

  16. Oh, I did figure out how to do mr. linky successfully (yay me), and will try and get to the rest of the rules and passing it on, over the weekend, or perhaps Monday. :o)


  17. Unplug. Too many ships in a dark ocean, that's for sure. Gotta find a relatively secluded harbor.

  18. Well, as far as finding any kind of balance goes, my husband pitches in with cooking and cleaning, and the kids (20 and 12)help too (the older one helps a lot when she's home from university).

    My biggest obstacle is my job which is unrelentingly stressful and has no endpoint--nothing is very finished, it seems. And when one thing wraps, there are at least 10 little fires waiting for a dousing. Email, compliance requirements, logs, managers, assistants, phone calls...Even when I'm not there, I'm thinking about it.

    That's where I've lost all sense of balance.

  19. It's so weird how something like the weather can make all the difference in the world. This time last year, I wrote an entire book in a month (now, I'm not saying it was a good one, but my creative juices were flowing). And with the warmer weather continuing to grace us each day I find my productivity gaining speed. I love Spring! And apparently the writing fighting to get out inside of me loves Spring too. LOL> : )

    Have a great weekend!

  20. Balance and a life? I've heard of those things but they aren't requirements right? I can still be a writer?

  21. Ahh... the never-ending struggle for balance. And I don't even have kids!

    I wish I had the answers and more hours in the day.

    I think I should have titled my own blog "The Procrastinating Writer."

  22. Hi, Wendy. I’m hoping that, too. Hope apparently really does spring eternal. Lists are good. I used to be better at making and keeping them. And I forgot you’re going into Fall and Winter now aren’t you?

    LG, it really is an age old quest, isn’t it?

    Tallie and Elle, we’ll all just breathe nice and deep and hope for the best.

    Nym, you’re right. That’s vital. Finding even a few minutes to shut down gives you a chance to recharge.

    Lola, lowered expectations are key. You’re right that everyone does face that challenge of what is realistic and what’s not. Though pizza does sound like a great expectation right about now. And I’m glad that you found Mr. Linky. :)

    Bane, it’s dark and rough out there for sure. We all need a safe port in the storm. I hope you find yours.

    Eva, our hubby’s are great and so are the kids. Work not so much. Those of us lucky enough to still have jobs are taking a beating across the board, I think. And it’s scary to realize that’s still better than the alternative of no job.

    Hi, Kim. Go!You! I’m glad that spring inspires you. You’re an inspiration to me now. :)

    Hi, VR. Hee! Yes, you may still be a writer. :)

    Amber, more hours might not help. More stuff to do. But I don love that title for your blog. :)

  23. I am the furthest thing from balanced. I actually called my mother up yesterday and asked, "What do I do when I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them?" I know, such a basic question, and I had to run to Mommy with it.

    I like being structured, but my mom helped me realize that I really don't have a set schedule right now. So, I think I'll start with setting up designated writing times, blogging times, and housework times (in addition to work and family time) and see if that helps.

  24. Love this post. The whole balance thing is a constantly moving target. It's nearly exhausting, and we can drive ourselves nuts as we try to meet all our goals. We had a beautiful day today, and I felt restless until I got the kids outside, guilty that we didn't take a trip to the zoo, and then frustrated that I didn't get time to write. Tomorrow there will be other imbalances. It's a constant struggle.

  25. I am feeling better now that there's more sunshine in the day~ but it's a very sad statement on my ability to cope that a student had to leave my classroom in order for me to find balance once again within my world------ I would bring that stress home, intentional or not, and run it through my brain 24/7 until I was on the verge of tears---- took a day off this week to de-tox and be away from the school, but that's not balance. That's a band-aid. Now the kid is gone, and peace permeates the very air.

    But it wasn't me balancing on that blade. It was the kid walking away so I could set down my other foot and find my center on the ice rink that is my day, every day, at work.

    How sad.

    ttfn, susan

  26. Right now my day job is taking over everything, so its easy to balance that. The rest is just going by the side. I really need to focus on my writing NOW; so I'm slacking at work and feeling guilty.

    This too shall pass.


  27. Hi, Shelley. It's ok. Going to Mom is always such a comforting thing to do. And see? Mom helped. :) Structure sounds like a really good idea. I hope it helps.

    Hi, Portia. You're right. Balance is ever changing and constantly moving. And it's exhausting. The tiredness just does you in. There is so much guilt and frustration, how can it be any different? It really is all about just getting out of bed everyday and struggling on.

    Hi, Susan. I'm glad you're feeling better, but I'm sorry about the kid. Band-aid really is a great way to describe the stop gap measures like mental health days we take.

    Hi, Donna. I get that. Work right now for so many is just all-consuming and it's somehow easier to have it just push everything else aside. No balancing required. But then something else calls and the guilt sets in and it's just one big vicious cycle.

    But it's true that this too shall pass.

  28. I've been typically unbalanced between home and work for um... ever... I tend to sway back and forth between trying to please everone and freaking out because it's not possible to please everyone. And I'll do really well with either home or work, but not both. I'm finding that paying the right therapist to remind me to breathe and to help me figure out which of my expectations are realistic and which are fatalistic has been vital to improving my equalibrium. Also exercise and scheduled relaxation.

  29. Hi, KellyBean. Welcome. And you're right. Trying to please everyone almost guarantees that you fail on some level and feel bad. Talking to someone, exercise, and scheduled relaxation sound like great ways of dealing with that.

  30. You explain the problem of maintaining balance exactly! Children, students (your other children), household chores, writing, blogging - it all takes time, energy, and commitment. Do the best you can.

    Every time I complain about subbing, I remember that my writing time will be diminished once I have a full-time job. Or the laundry. Or cooking. Or...