Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Balance. ...Balance?

Wow. Life has been busy!  I am having a resurgence of my event design business.  It never went away, but between my last trimester of pregnancy and Elijah's 1st Birthday, I had been very choosy about what events I could handle taking on.  Then, after you've been choosy for...well, 5 minutes, actually, the momentum of your business starts to slow down.  Out of nowhere, I've been getting calls like crazy for more Bar and Bat Mitzvah work- which has always been a huge portion of my business.  I actually love doing these events because they are for kids, and therefore are usually FUN, and since their parents are paying -and have probably been through at least one big event (their wedding)- they know the general parameters of what an event costs.  It's nice.  But, I haven't quite figured out how to manage it all, and when it rains,  it pours.  So, I have been scrambling to meetings and writing lengthy, extravagant proposals in the hopes that I'll land some of these jobs.  I got the first turn down today. Basically, the client couldn't afford me.  That's okay.  I gave her an amazing price (probably better than I should have anyway) and I can't work for free.  So I try not to be irritated that I spent so much time for nothing.  Cost of business, right?  Except when the cost of your business comes at a slight cost to your kids too.  That is tough.  It probably meant a little more TV for Christian and a little less active Mommy playtime for Elijah. As a result, I'm working on having "clocked out" hours too.  Today, I powered through a proposal while Elijah napped and Christian played with the water table.  I wasn't quite done with the proposal by the time Elijah was stirring and Christian was hungry for attention, so I put the proposal on hold, put Elijah into the swing and between swing pushes let Christian help me water some plants.  It felt like...dare I say it? Balance. For just a moment.

Balance has been on my mind lately.  Elijah and I went back to Club 21 last week for the 0-3 age playgroup.  It has been awhile since we've gone- between the drive time (45 minutes) and scheduling, we haven't been there in many months. The Physical Therapist who volunteers his time there once a month was present and I was excited to see him.  He hasn't seen Elijah since he was practically a newborn.  Elijah LOVED it!! He was so interested in all of the people and the other babies!  He and another baby boy, Ricky, were so interested in each other and kept scooting closer and closer until they were nose to nose and practically kissing.  It was so cute!  There was head grabbing and arm holding and it was adorable.  Elijah isn't doing as much, physically, as some of the other babies his age, but he is interested and engaged and motivated and it is really fun to see his wheels spinning!  However, there is one dynamic that I find almost every time I get around other parents who have a child with Down syndrome: It is the concern about services.  Are you getting enough?  Are you pushing for enough?  How many times a week does he have PT? OT? Speech? (Oh! By 18 months he should be getting speech...) Infant Stim? Then there is the added anxiety when you know people in other states (states with more money for services) whose kids are getting 3 times the amount of services we are.

What to do?

I take it all in and remind myself to listen to my instincts. And my professionals.  Do I think Elijah is getting enough therapy?  Do I think that more therapy, given my schedule with my older son and my jobs, would be more beneficial or less? Right now, our 3 times a week sessions do feel like the right amount.  I remind myself that at the end of the day, it's not how many times he has worked with a therapist that will matter- it will be how many times during the day did he get to do things that were beneficial for him?- with me and on his own.  I know that what I do with Elijah, just as part of our regular routine, and the more focused "play" times I do with him matter the most.  This, of course, has it's own pressure.  Am I doing enough?  If I did more would he be more? Do more? This is where I take a deep breath in and ask myself  to go deep inside- Do I believe that Elijah is well and happy and cared for and getting what he needs?  The answer is definitely Yes.

I believe in balance.  I have two children. They both need quality time with me. They both need quality time with Charles. I need time for "me" so I can have that quality time with them.  I need quality time with Charles so that we can do the day to day as a team, without losing our minds (still working on this one.)  :) Work needs to happen- for both Charles and I. And we all need to be taking care of ourselves physically and mentally as well. It seems like a long list, and it is.  There are days that I feel like I'm failing at it all, but there are also days where I feel like we're making a great go of this thing called balance.

In this busy time, I'm looking at the places in my life where I feel drained of energy and the places in my life where I feel filled up.  Every now and again I have to have a talk with myself and remind myself not to over-commit. I also have to have serious talks with myself about where I've been wasting valuable energy- on certain people, places, and things. I'm working on putting it all in check.

It's called balance.  It isn't something that is achieved one time and then you're done. It's about finding it and sustaining it.  I teach this every week in my ballet class, and it's something I can only give my students so much insight on.  I can teach them some of the tricks to finding a balance, but ultimately it's something you have to Feel.  Once you feel it, you get better and better at sustaining it.  So, I guess today- despite all of the chaos that is swirling around my head- I "felt" just a little bit of balance.

My inspiration for working to sustain balance? These guys...




Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! I always need to remember that balance is important, thanks for reminding me of that :)

Brenda B. said...

Oh the crazy world this is PT, OT, ST, CDS. It is difficult to navigate how much is enough. I too have struggled with this and I have come to the conclusion that- more is not always more. Our life is therapy! Every trip to a new place, singing in the car, holding her hands while she walks around the zoo,it is all therapy. :) You are doing a great job Jennifer!!! Can't wait to see those little men- and YOU- again soon.

thea said...

This gave me a warm, teary eyed, smile. Beautifully put, and the comparison to ballet is so fitting. Balance is a tricky thing, and you really only know you have it when it feels right. I'm going to be thinking of this one for awhile..... :)

There was an error in this gadget