Finding Balance

28 Aug

The wise mother of my dear friend once told her that a cluttered home is a sign of a cluttered mind.

For me, this is true. When I am at peace, my home is at peace – clean counters, clean laundry, bedrooms you can relax in, bathrooms I am not ashamed of, cats that have been petted and brushed, a husband who has been appreciated and loved, and above all else, a child that receives loads of affection, plenty of one-on-one interaction, a healthy dose of outdoor playtime and the respect she deserves as a human being.

Every once in a while, something will go out of whack and our home is thrown off balance. I become single-mindedly focused on an idea, a concern, a task, and everything else falls to the wayside. This week has been one of those times. Blame it on pregnancy hormones, stress, not eating right or getting enough exercise, or simply not setting my priorities correctly. The cause doesn’t matter; the result is always the same. Cluttered mind, cluttered home.

Today my daughter and I argued for 20 minutes about lunch. She wanted a sandwich; I said no sandwich because she had one for dinner last night and for breakfast this morning. (And yes, CPS, we do feed her a wide variety of foods that do not come between two pieces of bread.) The back-and-forth exhausted me, and as we stood at an impasse in the middle of the kitchen, my eyes fell on the pile of dishes, the crumbs on the counter, the floor in desperate need of a sweeping. And for the first time today, I looked at Kaitlyn, really looked at her – this frustrated toddler who didn’t understand why lately I was spending too much time on the computer and not playing dinosaurs and sea creatures, why I seemed annoyed with being climbed on and rolled my eyes at the never-ending shouted demands for more milk, more cheese, more Play-Doh, more markers, more stickers, and now I wouldn’t give her a delicious sandwich for lunch? What was going on here?

And, looking at my daughter, I got it.

I pulled out the wheat bread and the cheese and the cutting board, and I fixed us each a sandwich. After placing her plate on the table, I paused. And then, instead of taking my plate to the desk and sitting in front of the computer for the tenth time that day, I asked Kaitlyn if I could sit next to her. “Sure!” she said. She doesn’t hold grudges, this little girl. And we sat at her toddler table next to her play kitchen and ate our cheese sandwiches, and a little bit of that clutter in my mind was swept away.

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4 Responses to “Finding Balance”

  1. Dad August 29, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    Thank you for being such a good mother – and, might I add, a wonderful daughter. Your story made this old curmudgeon’s day.

  2. Linda August 30, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Such an important entry! I often wish I had spent more time with Jarod and Becky playing – instead of worrying about all of the junk that doesn’t matter. And, I was just talking to a good friend about how we both thrive when things aren’t cluttered and a mess and finding that balance in life! Love you!

  3. Brother Steve August 31, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    Karen, What a good mother you have become. Im so glad to be your brother. Sorry we didnt get to know each other better

  4. Laura September 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Karen, this was so wonderful to read. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for that. It really hit home.

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