Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime: Trying to Balance?

Balance (Feels like I am thinking about this all the time). Can we ever really achieve that feeling that we have shared ourselves: our time, our thoughts, ourselves as people with the people who we are passionate about growing with like family and friends? It is a daily juggle trying to find balance in my own life as a spouse, mother, teacher, volunteer, writer, reader, friend, and daughter (and there are probably more right?). Some days more of my time is spent as teacher, usually on school days when I am living in my classroom. In the summer, the balance shifts when I have more time to spend as a mom, cheering on the older boys on the baseball ball or soccer field, sharing a carpool to swim lessons for my youngest and rolling for a yatzee with all the boys (including my husband who I adore for his adventurous kid-like approach to life). Right now the balance is leaning toward mom and writer (I promised myself I would write each day so that I can accomplish a book that I am anxious to finish) but there are days everyday is tough when trying to write with 3 boys home during summer break (who I really don't want in front of video games all day). Yes, I have them in a few camps that they were interested in but I am not a fan of over scheduling (can get expensive and I would be in the car non-stop). I am one of those people who need to take it day by day to feel happy and am not looking for answers to the perfect schedule or routine because I know that if I have too much of a routine that I will only feel like I am working and then the writing won't be enjoyable. I have to feel relaxed to be motivated. Right now I am making my way through summer trying to balance my time with the time I know they need to socialize, play, read, etc ( I am also getting up early to write..well most days that is). When I do set the expectation that they need to think about something or use their creativity, they often want to grab the flip camera. It has been the best tool for them to play creatively at the same time allowing me down time.

My oldest has used the camera for documenting a game he and my middle guy created a game called Hand Ball. Their friend, who plays with imovie quite a bit, helped them create a video called How to Play Hand Ball posted on his youtube channel. You can view it here. There are other videos on his channel that he, his brother, and friends have created. I'll warn you that they are products of what 9-11 year olds are interesting and funny, silly,etc. Nothing inappropriate but borderline goofy.

My youngest (7 year old) grabbed the flip a few days ago when a friend and classmate of his was visiting with her mom. They both decided to create puppet shows. Mia, was very involved in creating the details in the puppets and telling a more involved story while my son enjoyed filming himself. I created a short movie of small clips that show steps he was taking to practice and then tell his story with the puppets. You will see him do a "test" for the camera, preview what is going to happen and then see two short clips he created on the go using his puppets. I am pretty sure last piece was inspired by the idea of a new character in the Mo Willems series, Elephant and Piggy.


Lauren said...

This just makes me smile. I loved the show, he was very creative and it was so him:) I also thought your thinking on balance is so important and a struggle that we all have in one way or other in our lives.

Anonymous said...

I loved the show! I was inspired by his imagination and creativity...I have to agree that balance is really hard to get a grasp on. I liked how you mentioned being on a schedule/routine limits us from using our potential-

Mary Lee said...

Balance. We all think about it so much and run after it like it's actually achievable. I'm starting to believe that it's a mirage. Maybe if we live in and savor the moment at hand without giving so much thought to the big picture, the worry about balance will **poof** be gone.

(Just thinking out loud here. Kind of a "denial" approach to the whole thing, I know, but the "work harder to achieve it" approach isn't working so maybe there's another way? Maybe another way I haven't thought of/invented/rationalized?)

Karen said...

I loved the "Grounded" video -- soooo clever! I can see Joey will have a future someday doing the Saturday Night Live short films. :)

As to balance, I couldn't agree with you more about the point of "scheduling balance" -- when it's scheduled, it's work. Best of luck with the writing, but enjoy this already too-short summer with your boys!

Cathy said...

Perhaps you said it best when you said, "the balance shifts". Perhaps the best balance occurs when our attention is where it needs to be.

katied said...

THanks for your comments Lauren, Karen, Cathy and Anonymous.

I like the idea of the denial approach...I like how you said it is about savoring the moment at hand. Sounds like trusting and letting go of the worrying about it may do me some good.

Mary Lee said...

Leave it to Cathy to say it more eloquently: "Perhaps the best balance occurs when our attention is where it needs to be."