Little Acorn

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

finding the balance within and without

I read about a beautiful, strong woman this week on A Cup of Jo who let go of wanting children after 10 years of infertility, who resolved herself to find happiness in an unexpected life without children, and inspired readers with her honesty and strength to overcome her grief and enjoy life for simply the sake of life. Mara Kofoed struck a chord with me when she wrote, "With infertility, at first, I would think, oh my gosh, if I could just get pregnant, life will be so amazing, and I’ll be so happy, and this child will just make my world. For years, my worth and identity was wrapped up in having a spouse and children. But then, I realized that I was putting pressure on this child to fulfill me, when in reality, it’s my job to find fulfillment, not anyone else's."

It made me reflect on our arduous journey to get to this point, what I vowed to myself, what I owe myself. Mara's words rang true to me and I feel they are tremendously universal, no matter what your situation. Simply put, find the happiness in the life you live right now. 

Back in the beginning of 2012, after a long and painful battle with infertility, I finally learned this lesson, I earned it. I learned to let go, to not let having children or not having children control my every thought, my every emotion, my very being. I vowed this to myself and this promise helped me to move on and be at peace with the next step in our lives, whether it was another IVF, egg donation, or adoption. That found peace within most assuredly helped our frozen embryo transfer (FET) become successful, resulting in a little Acorn.

But fast forward to today and while reading Mara's words, I felt a pang of guilt in the gut. Have I so easily forgotten this hard-earned life lesson? Ehem, well, yes. I completely ignore it when I am lost in these deliciously mundane weekdays and the fiercely precious weekends. I get so wrapped up in our daily lives, in my child and her happiness and the joy she brings me that I forget to still look for that light within, not matter what. 
The truth is, there's so much pure, rascally stinkin' joy in that child that I can't help but swim in it until my fingers get all pruney, according to Meg Ryan. I mean, come on!

I get lost in her. I am lost without her. And that scares me - that I can so easily jam-pack all of my satisfactions into one tiny little basket-case (grin). I should to an extent. She's my child after all and I worked damn hard for her. I love her more than I can describe and I cherish the moments I have with her. But my goals, my art, my creative self, my peace of mind, and my tired body are important too. I can't lose sight of my own path while paving the one for her.

So how do other mothers find this balance? No, how do other people find this balance? A balance between what they love -- whether its their children or their partner or music or their job or their dog or even adrenalin or ice cream or wine -- and loving themselves? Is it all or nothing? Are you either completely selfless or selfish? Or do people truly find the balance of happiness within themselves and without?

I see that some are pretty good at it. Or at least appear to be. Social media has enhanced our sense of community and opened our eyes to so many ideas and shared inspirations. But the very thing that is inspiring is also undeniably isolating. I see perfection on the screen and I wonder where they learned that crucial lesson in juggling that I don't know about. OR are they just faking it? An Instagramic diversion. A Pinterestic illusion.

For me, it's not always easy to balance out school drop offs and early morning bird surveys and nighttime teething screams and folding laundry and playing hide-and-seek and client meetings and and creedside exploration and a home-cooked dinner. Let alone have time to balance my own, God-forbid selfish, pursuits. There's just not enough time at the end of the day sometimes.

And apparently I'm not alone. I heard that the average mother gets just 17 minutes to herself each day and typically spends it staring blankly at the latest book or magazine she's supposedly reading.


I don't know if that is reassuring or flat out terrifying to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't have time for myself! But I have to make the effort, at least every once in a while. I need to for my peace of mind, health of body, and whole of heart.
So a step in the right direction is a girls' weekend getaway to Marfa, Texas with my best friend to celebrate our 35th birthdays. They say Marfa is a gritty West Texas cowboy art colony. I say it's the time I need to decompress and remember what its like to be the artistic foodie I am deep down inside. We'll hopefully get to embrace the eccentric food scene, the beautiful art galleries, maybe even the expansive Big Bend, a quirky film festival, or a dip in the local hot springs, which should make this a much needed weekend to help reclaim myself.





  1. Beautiful pics, Kensley! Enjoy the time with your bestie! -Carrie J

  2. I was reading Carrie's comments thinking, I don't remember commenting on this post...strange. LOL.

    Yes, soak her in! Don't feel guilty for that! But, I agree, it's easy to get lost in the thick of everything with so many things on your plate. Pre-kids, I would always wonder why my sister wouldn't let her ILs (who lived in town and was willing) watch the kids for the weekend for her and her hubby to go on a weekend trip. Her answer - she felt like the only time she got to see the kids was on the weekend, so she wanted to be with them as much as possible. I didn't understand it until I had kids. Now, I totally get it. The weekends are that QUALITY and QUANTITY of time you didn't get to spend with them during every other weekday. Usually, it's just enough time to eat and take them to school, or eat and put them in bed. So, of course, it seems "wrong" to plan NOT to spend time with them on the weekends. However, when we DO get some time to ourselves (either as a couple, or alone), and the kids stay with family, I find out how much they LOVE to spend time with others (or one on one time w/mommy or daddy), as well (and others with them). Then, I realize I am being the selfish one by not wanting to share them. Then, I feel silly and wonder why I thought I needed to be with them every second. So, definitely break away every once in awhile. They will love you more for it, and you will love them more for it. :-) Have fun on your trip!

    1. I always love your perspective, Carrie! So true about the kids needing their time with others. She had such a blast with her grandmother.