Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Balancing Acts

Thank you all for your encouraging comments on Pumpkin's eating issues. It is so good to hear that she is not the only stubborn baby out there! However, even I am getting a bit bored with all the food talk, so tonight I'm going to post on something different.

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had been told that I would either love it or hate it. I must be an outlier, because I did neither. Like many people, I found her annoying at times. But I was also struck by how each section of her book made me miss something. (For those who haven't heard of the book, it is a memoir written by a woman who spends four months each in Italy, India, and Indonesia, searching for balance in her life and healing after a messy divorce and a bad love affair.) She spends her four months in Italy mainly in Rome, and her stories of her time there made me want to go back, mostly to eat. (Surely Italian babies never have eating issues- the food on offer is all so good!) Her stories of four months spent on a spiritual retreat in India made me miss my yoga and meditation practice. People who know me and hyper tendencies may not believe it, but there was a time around our big trip when I either meditated or did yoga every day, and I miss the relaxed state in which these practices left me. Her four months in Bali made me miss our time in Southeast Asia, surely one of the most pleasant places in the world to be a tourist.

The book also made me think about the balance in my life. I have written before about my need to find a new normal way of life. I'm not making much outward progress on that, but I am feeling more grounded in my status of "mommy" now. I also think I am close to figuring out what I need to add back in to feel like my life is properly balanced between work, mommying, marriage, and me. I definitely need to add yoga back in, if only because my back is killing me now that I'm lifting almost twenty pounds of baby in and out of her crib!

Speaking of marriage, Ask Moxie's post today got me thinking about balance in marriage, too. One of the questions she posted was from someone whose husband wouldn't help out on the research about child-rearing or participate in making decisions, but then criticized her decisions. I've noted Hubby's lack of interest in baby research before, but he will read things I point out to him, listen to me summarize research, and participate in decision making. For awhile, this bothered me. But then I remembered some relationship advice someone once gave me: a good relationship isn't 50-50 all of the time, for every task. It just needs to average out over the long term, and I think ours does. I may do more baby-related research, but Hubby does far more yard work (I do almost none because of my allergies), and has quite a lead in the laundry and garbage-emptying departments, too. He also does most of the research about large purchases (like cars, TVs, computers...) I think the overall breakdown is probably close to 50-50, but we're not really keeping score- we just trust that it all balances out.

I've actually been thinking a bit about marriage, lately, too, ever since Moxie announced that she is getting a divorce. It definitely requires some conscious effort to keep a marriage strong through these early days of parenting. We've both undergone a lot of changes, and so has our relationship. So much change would be hard on its own, but adding in long term sleep deprivation and dealing with the demanding little bundle of joy who wants what she wants and doesn't care if Mommy and Daddy were having a quiet drink and snuggle... well, I can see why a lot of relationships founder. Of course, I don't know what happened in Moxie's marriage, and that is not really the point- her announcement was just the event that triggered these thoughts. So far, Hubby and I are doing well. We've had a couple of brief (one night) getaways without Pumpkin, thanks to my parents, and have had a lot of help from all of our family as we've adjusted to our new lives. I can't help but think about one of the songs we chose to have playing at our wedding rehearsal BBQ, called Won't Give In, by the Finn Brothers. The pertinent lyrics are:

What does it mean when you promise someone
That no matter how hard and
Whatever may come

It means that I won't give in
Won't give in, won't give in.


Of course, no one could hear this lovely song, since, as I recently posted on Cara Mama's QOTW about wedding memories, we had our rehearsal BBQ during a mild cyclone.


Cyclone Sheila brushed past Rarotonga on the night before our wedding. The wedding itself was beautiful, and in retrospect, the BBQ was pretty special too- all of our friends stood out in the wind and rain and ate and drank with us, which brings to mind another part of the refrain from that song: "Everyone I love is here". Of course, everyone we loved wasn't there, since we chose to have our wedding in the middle of the South Pacific, but the people who were there definitely made us feel loved.

2 comments:

  1. I quite enjoyed Eat Pray Love, although I could see how it could be annoying. It made me want to go to Italy.

    My acquaintance/friend just announced a divorce, and like a death, it really makes you aware of your own marriage's mortality.

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  2. I'm that way with books and movies that everyone says you either love or hate... I inevitably just think it was okay.

    I've been pondering marriage and divorce for some of the same reasons you have. Our marriage sounds to be in a similar place as yours. It's hard work, but we have a strong core.

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