The Maternal Balance Beam
- on September 22, 2011
So I applied for Leadership Lawrence this year, and (wah wah wahhh) I didn't get in. Which is totally okay. I'm fine about it. Really. No biggie. I don't mind. It's FINE. Seriously, I'm totally down with not getting into a group of leaders for a community I worship and want to become more and more a part of every day. Really, I am.
I asked a friend, you know, not because I cared or anything, where she thought my application might have fallen short, and as gently as possible, she reminded me that in the past few years I haven't been, shall we say, very civically involved. As in, "Girlfriend, you need to volunteer. Like, a lot. Like, from zero to eighty mph, and, like, now."
"I KNOWWWWWWW," I wailed. "I KNOW I DO! I WANT TO! I THINK ABOUT IT!"
In the past three and a half years, I have gotten married, changed jobs, had a baby, taken on a second job, fixed up and sold a house, and bought a new one. Not that it's an excuse, but, you know, I've kinda been busy.
I've discussed ad nauseum the dilemma of the working mom. We always always feel like we're not spending enough time with our kids. We feel stretched in a million directions, with loyalty to job, family, friends, and everything else in the world. And add to that the community. Because I LOVE this community. It is not a stretch for me to want to dig in, elbows deep, and get involved in everything I possibly can. That is sort of how I roll.
But then there's a little boy at home who hasn't seen his Mama all day. And I always, every time, decide to stay with him.
And the same goes for working out. I've been tryiing to add more workouts to my week, and have been meeting with a trainer on Wednesday nights. And it's really cramping my style, to leave the house mid-evening and work out, only to come home just as my son is going to bed. And now I'm adding a second night of workout class to the regimen, because let's face it, one night is hardly even worth the effort and I'm not great about creating fitness opportunities on my own.
I rarely have a date with my husband, and even more rarely a night out on my own with friends. And I'm not whining. It's how I've arranged my life - I want to spend as much time as I can with my kiddo. I get up early, and go to bed early.
So I need to be volunteering. I need to be more involved in giving back to the community. I WANT to be giving back to the community. And as someone who doesn't have a lot of time for evening meetings or travel or weekened-long events, I need to find ways to make contributions that count on a schedule that isn't very accomodating.
To that end, I have found two opportunities in the upcoming weeks that suit our family fine. On Saturday, I'm walking for Autism. (Shameless plug: here's my donation page.) I can take Johnny with me and he can get some fresh air, see a few of his friends who will be walking as well, and we can even count it as one of my precious few workouts. WINNING!
Next month, I'm bowling for Junior Achievement. In fact, I'm recruiting team captains and team members and so far I've collected about 15 bowlers. My husband and friends and I, then, will count this as a Friday night out, so I can call this not only volunteering, but "going out" AND a date! TRIPLE WINNING!
The delicate balance of home, work, civic duty, and play is so hard to strike - I don't know a mom, working or otherwise, who isn't constantly fighting to stay on that beam. But I'm feeling like Mary Lou Retton (yes, I'm that old) right now, having found ways to wrap two or three of those gravitational pulls into one stable bundle.
I'm open to more ideas like the ones above. Please share suggestions of great causes and ways to contribute that those of us who need to multi-task can help out with!