When Johanna asked if anyone wanted to write a guest post about balancing life, I jumped at the chance and then had cold feet a little bit later on. What I initially thought I would write about started to make me a bit nervous. Apprehensive. But, I have always been one for the truth and thought if my story could be of help to anyone, then it should be told.
I have been married for 25 years to my high school sweetheart. We had kids immediately and as a consequence find ourselves young empty nesters.
I did not have a good childhood. It was fraught with insecurity, moves from Africa to England and then to Canada, an alcoholic father and a frightened, timid mother (albeit sweet and kind) who needed a lot of mothering herself. Family meals were always tense and miserable, friends were seldom allowed in, and family life left a lot to be desired for all 4 of us.
So when I had kids, it was going to be completely different. If I couldn’t be part of the Walton or Ingalls family, my kids would have the next best thing. I quit my job and stayed home with them while they were young. I cooked everything from scratch, made homemade gifts, volunteered at their school, let them participate in anything they wanted. My house was that house that all the kids gravitate too. I didn’t care if it was the messiest house on the street, it was the most fun one, I fed their friends. I gave some of them homes as they became teenagers with parental issues. The kids were smart and popular and successful. I had created the home I had always wanted, beautifully decorated and full of happy kids. If we took a vacation, the kids went along with us. I was super mom. But as you all know, no-one is perfect. Beneath the polished exterior, there’s always a crack. In my case it was my marriage.
In order to be this person for my family, I neglected myself and more importantly my marriage. Every ounce of my energy went into my kids. There was pretty well no balance on the other side. My husband was unhappy, neglected and somewhat bitter. I was disconnected from him and myself. We separated. I coped in my usual way, making everything Ok for the kids, until once day I fell apart and realised that the one thing I wanted most of all was gone. I entered therapy and finally managed to wade my way through my baggage. I learned that if a husband and wife are happy, then everything else will fall into place. The home will be happy. The kids will be happy. And to be a good wife and mother, you need to be a happy balanced person yourself. Remember if you do your job right, your children will grow and leave home. Your parents will age, your siblings may move or be involved in their own lives. You spouse is your PERSON. The one you are supposed to grow old with. You need to nourish that relationship.
Happily, my husband and I tried again. This time, his focus was me, and he was mine. We embraced each other as our “beloved” person and threw our hearts and souls back into our marriage. We re-establish a healthier balance between our needs and all outside needs and demands. We are now a solid foundation for our family to thrive and grow.
We are the roots of the tree that supports our family, but strong and committed underneath.
I thought if I wrote this, it may help people realise that balance isn’t all about the children. Work on your marriage. Talk. Play together. Eat together. Work on the romance. (That could be a whole other topic, one you haven’t seen on the blogs before. One thing I found when I started to talk about my situation was just how many couples had stopped having sex). So balance your marriage, and the foundation of your family will be strong and healthy, able to withstand the cracks and tribulations of life.
Thank you Johanna for letting me guest post. I love your blog and the honest way you show us your life.
Chania blogs over at Razmataz, a beautiful interior design blog.