Balancing Act

Posted by  | Thursday, August 21, 2008  at 8:52 PM  
As I sit here watching the Olympics and reflect back on my day today, I realize I am still in the clothes I walked in this morning, have my hair pulled back in a pony-tail and STILL sporting no make-up. I could have earned a gold medal today in sweeping the floor of corn, ground beef and sticky rice. You could also call me "Dish Pan Hands" as the dishes started early this morning from our batch of pancakes and continued until, well...the dishes that housed our taco salads tonight are still on the kitchen table calling my name. Washing and hanging out two loads of laundry WAS on my to-do list today until our washing machine decided to stop mid-cycle, maxed-out with sheets and water up to the rim. I have starred at my two fully-loaded suitcases by the front door that have yet to be unpacked from spending a week on the beaches of North Carolina and a week in Georgia visiting family. I shut our master bedroom door (when the Time Warner tech came to fix our Internet) in order hide the unmade bed, and you can't forget the pile of clean dish towels that didn't get folded last night hiding out on the unmade bed. Laney's cloth diapers are piling up in the bathroom where I store them, because our washing machine is broken, and we haven't figured out what is plan B just yet. I just remembered that Laney's one and only sippy cup is still out in the car and needs to be washed and filled in prep for tomorrow morning, where I will rise early with sleepy, tiny eyes and stick-straight hair matted lop-sided to my head.

And 'I' am supposed to ENCOURAGE you to be a woman of balance this week? Can I laugh any more? Looking at today, who could be less qualified? I will say that not every day looks like this, so I share my day with you to put you at ease, hoping you are realizing that you aren't the only Mama out there struggling to keep her head above water at times. I must be able to accept and expect days like today, where I go to bed with so much more to be done, even though I was as busy as a bee and felt like I worked my fingers to the bone. I will say that I got to spend a lot of quality time with Laney today playing outside and on our walk. Those moments are so very fleeting, so if anything, that part of my day made my heart glad.

What has helped me on the days where I am thriving and on track? Not intending to beat a dead horse, let me agree, and do so quickly, with the other authors that spending time with the Lord is of utmost importance. I feel very burdened throughout the day until I sit down and spend some time with the Lord and when I do spend time with Him during Laney's nap time, it never seems to be at the caliber that I desire it to be. There's just something about a still, quiet house at dawn and a hot drink in hand as you ask Him to clear you head and help you think straight. I, with Leah, have a hard time rising early because I like to stay up late, but I prefer to spend that time with Him in the morning. Once I get used to waking up early, I'm on a roll and consistency is the fuel. Stick with it. Have at least one friend make a pact with you to get up at the same EXACT time every morning, so you know you're not the only one seeking the Lord and denying those tempting cozy zzzz's. Accountability is powerful.

Dishes: Props to my dad for coming up with this ingenious idea. Have you ever felt like in order to maintain and keep a clean kitchen, the dishwasher must be unloaded. Order is contingent upon unloading the dishwasher. Here recently, I switched things up a bit. I hand wash the dishes and put them IN the dishwasher to dry. Think of your dishwasher as a huge drying rack that hides all of your dishes, and you can unload them at your convenience. I used to rinse off the dishes before I put them in the washer anyways, so why not have a soapy rag in hand and rinse it. We will save money by not using so much water and since I just don't have the time to wash, rinse, dry and put away, this system has proven to work great. I don't have a big enough drying rack to hold huge pots and pans, and believe it or not, I don't like dishes sitting out, even if they are clean. I like bare counter tops.

Out-grown clothes: I already have a labeled storage container in the garage where I can immediately store away clothes Laney has outgrown. There's nothing like a basket of outgrown clothes just lingering around waiting to be stored away. The times where that 'basket' is lingering around only happens when I'm just too lazy to go out to the garage, but already having a place to put it really helps keep things organized.

Well folks, that's about it. Like my roomie used to say, "I got nothing else." If I think of anything else tonight, I will definitely add to the post in the morning. Be encouraged!


ChezDeshotels said...


Could you have described my day any better. I got up this morning to a VERY whiny and teary 2 year old and in the midst of trying to console and make it though the day I threw up 8 times wondering if I could survive pregnancy and a whiny child. Then not to mention I had started going through Lydia's clothes to try on and store and get fall clothes out to so I could make a shopping list, I thought why oh why did I start this as the closet and room looked like they had exploded. Then I had a day's worth of dishes since the dishsoap makes me throw up I couldn't get those done. The vacume nedded run and on and on Needless to say at 4:30 after no nap for Lydia (just screaming) I realized I still hadn't had a shower. TO make my crazy day story a little shorter I write this to say Thanks for the encouragemnt and Hang in there you aren't the only one to have one of those days or weeks.


Hollie said...

Oh AJ,
Thanks for sharing. Whew girl, you do have it rough. Morning sickness with a two year old sounds like a roller coaster ride. Thanks for going into detail as to your day. You hang in there as well. Like Leah touched on, it's the beauty of this season. :)

Shannon said...

You win a gold medal for this post!

While reading it I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because I could so relate. You described my house exactly. Right down to the pony tail, still-packed luggage, and pile of clean dish towels still un-folded. Wow.

I'm so glad you were so honest, because it really helps to know I'm not the only one struggles.

That said, I LOVE your tip about having a bin already labeled for out-grown clothes. I think my girls' out-grown clothes are multiplying like bunnies around here. I can't seem to keep up with them, so I'm going to take your idea. Also, I've found it helpful to pass along their clothes to other friends in our church who have girls their age. I know I love hand-me-downs; can I get an amen?!

Kudos also to your dad for this dishwasher idea. It's a proven scientific fact around our house that if the dishwasher is not unloaded at the beginning of the day, it's mayhem for the rest of the day!

Again, I have to say, gold medal! Thank you! And I'm looking forward to our accountability!! :)

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Off the subject, but I have a few parenting questions, could anyone give me any advice on transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed? What age is right?

Also how do you brush a childs teeth (22 months old) when they just want to bite down on the toothbrush? Any suggestions?

Mariah Badura

Shannon said...

Can't help you with the toddler bed, but as for brushing teeth, I'll share a few things that have worked with my 2-yr-old - but you'll probably laugh at me.

I started by having her open wide so I could count her teeth, or to see if there are any tigers, elephants, zebras, etc. in her mouth. Then i act surprised and ask, "how did a ZEBRA get in your MOUTH??" For some reason, she thinks it's hilarious, and she'll usually laugh and leave her mouth wide open so I can peek in there for different animals.

Currently, her favorite thing is to say there are "Credibles" [Incredibles] in her mouth. :) (She loves the Incredibles.)

I'd love to hear anyone else's tips as well.

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

Thanks for the advice Shannon!


Krista said...

Another thing I found is a "toothbrush" that is really not a toothbrush exactly but made for children to bite on. I tell Lydia that first mommy brushes, and then she can brush. I can get her to open wide by asking where the birds are or where the stars are. When I'm done brushing, I'll give her this other rubber-like toothbrush and she bites on it and "brushes" her teeth.

Christina said...

I'm not sure there is a "right" age for moving to a big bed (although I'm sure somewhere, someone has declared a right age...). I think as long as you think they're ready and they can reasonably climb in and out of the bed (so they don't fall), it's fine! I've heard of at least one friend who made the transition at 15 months! Would not have worked for us as Will didn't walk until 17 months.

We transitioned Will right at 2 years old and he's done great! We did use a toddler bed as oppossed to a twin size (or bigger) bed, but only b/c that is what we had available to us. You can visit our family blog and look back to around July for pictures of our process. We talked it up a LOT while doing the transition and I've used a sticker chart to reward him when he stays in his bed. (We do have to remove all of his toys from his room during nap or he will not sleep.)

Toothbrushing - my doc said to not worry about how well you're actually covering all the teeth. It's more about practice and routine of doing it everyday. I was worried too about him not letting me clean them! Like Krista - I tell him that I'll do it first and then he can do it. He loves to brush when he sees us brushing - so maybe get your toothbrush and have her copy you?? Just a thought...

Oh and one more thing to end my ridiculously long comment - I am so with you Shannon on the proven fact that the rest of the day is mayhem when the dishwasher is not unloaded!! It is my goal to run it in the evenings so I can open the door for it to dry at night and then unload first thing. BUT that doesn't always happen and when it doesn't my kitchen is a wreck the rest of the day!!

The Hudgins said...

Toddler bed...
my little guy decided that he'd start climbing out of the crib at 20 we switched to the toddler bed then. for about 2 weeks it was terrible...he'd climb out and play, end up sleeping on the floor, etc. finally he got the idea that the bed was much more comfortable. if i hear him playing i go in and take the toy from him, and tell him to lay down and go to sleep. 9 x out of 10 he does...if not he is punished for not obeying. It was something I was dreading...him not being "confined" in a crib...but it worked out awesome in the end. Now on to potty training and getting rid of the paci! and adjusting to a newborn! yikes.

oh, and Hollie...i agree on the dishwasher thing. gotta empty it in the mornins!

Stephanie said...

sweet hollie,
we can all say a big THANK YOU for being so real and transparent. it is so good for us to be mutually encourgaed that we don't all have it together in every area, all the time. although i must say, knowing you, and all that you were busy doing, you do have it together and are a phenomenal mommy, wife, worshipper, and friend....:) there just aren't enough hours in one day-right?!
it's funny how you mentioned about the basket for newly out-grown clothes, b/c i JUST told page about that, for it seems no one ever warned me about how constant it is! esp. now with 2! great tip.
love you tons.
some over soon!

Mallory, Amy & John Mark said...


Do you have a reference for the dishwasher using more water than handwashing? I had heard that dishwashwers use ~13 gallons/load, which was less than handwashing. I'm just trying to figure out if my sources are incorrect??? I guess it depends on your DW model, but they shouldn't vary that much.

Either way, I appreciate your post and I too and in the "must unload the dishwasher" club!

Hollie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hollie said...

So fun to see that you now have a baby in your arms!

Regarding handwashing v. dishwashing, I haven't researched it, but knowing how LONG my dishwasher runs, I just know I have to be saving water. I always try to quickly rinse the dishes clean, turn off the water while I lather them up with a soapy rag and quickly rinse them again. I'm getting good at using my ambidextrous skills too, as I try to load a clean plate in the dishwasher while grabbing a soapy plate at the same time and rising it,...each hand always having a different task and never being idle. Believe it or not, it takes some focus in the beginning, but then the momentum gets going and you're flying and the dish are done before you know it. What I like about loading them up is that I don't have to put them in there in a super organized fashion. Usually, I never load big bowls or pans because they block all the water to the cups/glasses, and then really tinker with each placement, finding the perfect nook for each dish(aka: cramming all I can in there). How in the world have I typed this long of a comment on the technique of hand-washing dishes? Ha! I seriously must be procrastinating in a task or chore. :) Thanks for stopping by!

noahandlylasmommi said...

thanks for being honest :) it is so refreshing to know I am not the only one who doesnt get everything done everyday!!

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