Category Archives: Balance

Crafting My Life, With Thanks to Amber Strocel

I can’t tell you how delighted I am to share this book with you! When Amber of put out an invitation for readers to review her Crafting My Life Playbook, exchange guest posts, or otherwise join with her on the journey she has begun, I knew I wanted to participate. Amber’s work has been such an inspiration to me as I have settled into the role of mother and begun the task of figuring out where the intersection between my personal goals and my life as a mother lies. I knew I would enjoy reading her Crafting My Life Playbook, but what I didn’t know was how timely it would be for me. Continue reading

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On Imperfect Mothering and “Negativity”

Balance restored. The recipe for a truly great day at home: put away the computer and head to the kitchen! Oh, but there were grumpy moments, too, and that's okay!

It has been quiet around here recently, as a few of you may have noticed, and there are a few reasons why. The first is that I’ve simply been grouchy, and not feeling much like writing. The second is a preoccupation with house hunting and other preparations for our upcoming move. Another issue, however, is that I’ve been feeling like a rather lousy parent, and as a result have not had many insights to share. Continue reading

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Gently Night Weaning a Toddler

Otherwise unrelated photos of the toddler in question.

As usual, Annabelle has done many new things this week, but the biggest change for all of us has been an end to nighttime nursing. Something about this pregnancy seems to have made Annabelle1 want to nurse all the more, and many nights she was nursing all night long, which made for lousy sleep and an aching back for me. While I know that some women manage  not only to tandem nurse, but to nighttime nurse two children, I also know that such an arrangement would make me personally a pretty grouchy mama.  Continue reading

  1. Age 21 months, for those who aren’t aware.
Photo Credit: Jesslee Cuizon

Giving From the Heart

When I decided to write through my study of Nonviolent Communication, I thought I would dedicate a post to my experience with each chapter, for a total of thirteen posts. As I write, however, I’m reminded of how very much there is in each one, and how deeply they all resonate with me. Instead, I’m now planning to move back through the book, writing on each concept that has touched me separately. This means, of course, that my Sunday posts may go far beyond NaBlogPoMo (yes, I missed a day). We’ll see where this goes!

Giving From the Heart

Photo Credit: Jesslee Cuizon on Flickr.

The title of the first chapter in Rosenberg’s book is “Giving From the Heart,” a concept that has been on my mind almost constantly since I encountered it in my first reading months ago.  We all give of ourselves on a regular basis: a smile, a word of appreciation, a gift, an act of kindness. Many times, we do these things simply because we would like to. I hug and kiss my husband and daughter because I love them. I cook for them because this love gives me a desire to care for them. I say kind words to friends because I feel they deserve it, and I want them to know that.

These small gifts not only gratify the receiver, but knowing that I have been able to give something of value, however tangible or intangible, brings me a great deal of joy as well. At the same time, my relationship with those I give to often leads to a desire in them to give back to me, and the cycle continues, ideally anyway. Continue reading


Yesterday’s post seemed to elicit a “wow” response from many readers, and I’m afraid I may have unintentionally created a less than balanced picture of life around here. I don’t want to discount what I do, but I also don’t want to make others feel like they should be doing more than is workable for them. In the name of balance, I thought I would share a bit of my humanness: my contradictions. This is not to tear myself down, but to speak to those of you who are feeling down in the dumps for your own contradictions. You’re not alone – few of us are living up to our own ideals all of the time, but that’s why they’re there. The ideals keep us motivated. They keep us thinking, growing, and trying our best.
A sampling of my own contradictory, less than ideal tendencies:

Sometimes we just have to relax
and let it all hang out, you know?
  • While I don’t use many store bought personal care products at all, I still go to the salon every once in awhile for a pedicure. While there, I breathe in all sorts of awful fumes and soak my feet in a host of toxins. This makes no sense, but somehow it really does make me feel good. One day I will live near a “green” salon.
  • I am a fairly strict vegan most of the time, but I value kindness and graciousness as well. Every once in awhile, I eat something that quite possibly contains dairy or egg, not because I really want it or because I can’t help myself, but because I feel it’s the most polite and reasonable thing to do.
  • I advocate a healthy diet that includes minimal processed foods, and I have a sweet tooth. I can go weeks without sugary foods, but then I may have a sudden craving for Newman O’s, and I may give in to that craving and buy a box, and then I may eat half of said box in one evening.
  • I also have days where I feel far too overwhelmed to cook. If I don’t have it in me to go out, I’m not above popping an Amy’s pizza or burrito in the oven for dinner. There have definitely been days when this overwhelm lasted through breakfast, lunch, and dinner, leading me to pull out frozen, totally not homemade options for all three of our meals. I would like to say that I cook extra on days when there’s time and freeze it for a rainy day, but at this point I’m just not that organized.
  • I find that Annabelle and I both feel better, and that I am much more productive when we follow a routine that involves getting dressed and ready for the day very shortly after we wake up. Some days, however, I am tired, distracted, or overly focused on some other task and I find myself still in my pajamas at 11am.
  • I love the idea of buying local and keeping my money in my community. I also live in a very geographically isolated location where many items are overpriced and others aren’t available at all, so I end up ordering things online at least once every couple of weeks. In fact, I usually order from Amazon for the free shipping. I know that there are far more sustainable options, but I’m not ready to make the switch just yet.
  • I believe in raising awareness and working to normalize breastfeeding by exercising my right to nurse anytime, anywhere. Especially as Annabelle gets older, however, shyness and self doubt occasionally get the best of me and I put off nursing until I can do it in private. I kick myself later.
  • I love the idea of community, and I’m thankful to have a pretty great one, but some days I just don’t want to be around people, so I stay home.
I don’t always remember to take my own advice. I say things I don’t like, and do things that go against what I believe in. I let laundry pile up, and I don’t sweep my floors often enough. I sometimes get snippy with my husband, or impatient with my daughter. There is surely more that could be added to this list, but in short: I’m not perfect. I’m a work in progress, and hope that I always will be.
What are your contradictions?