What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Work/Life Balance

Here's a piece of advice: don't ever ask me for advice on work/life balance.  I don't know how to do it.  I've been pulled in multiple directions lately, and the whole family is feeling it.  


Ben is starting preschool next year - in a private church-based preschool 3 days/week, and in the public school's special ed preschool class 2 days/week.  Ben has to undergo some evaluations, and then Emmett and I will sit down with representatives from the school district to figure out Ben's IEP (Individualized Education Program).  We'll have these IEP meetings at least once a year until Ben finishes high school.  I've been researching Ben's rights and thinking/praying about how to advocate for him in this situation.

Meanwhile, Evan and Corrie are both excited about the church Mother's Day musical.  Just typing those words reminds me that we totally missed rehearsal tonight.  Oops.  We ran errands instead.  I took all three kids to the grocery store, Hobby Lobby AND Wal-Mart, plus we picked up milkshakes from Sonic and visited Emmett at work.  Then I fed them frozen pizza and put them to bed - we skipped baths.


And Evan is still playing soccer.  Note to self: don't forget practice tomorrow!


Plus ... we have exciting plans for the RGVDSA this year, and I have a long to-do list.  It has been wonderful to see the organization grow, but there's a lot of time and work involved.  And my vision feels bigger than my abilities.


Ben and I drove up to the school district this morning to drop off some paperwork, and I realized that sometimes it is just hard to be a parent of a nonverbal kid.  Ben babbles - he's very expressive - but he has no reliable spoken words yet.  He has tons of signs, so if I'm looking at him, we can have conversations.  But in the car, I can't see his signs, so it's easier to just turn on the radio or talk to someone on the phone.  

Part of me is grateful to have one quiet kid (Evan and Corrie talk all the time) but it's not fair to Ben for me to view his silence as my free time.  When I would drive with the other kids, we would sing in the car or point out the windows at trees or machines.  And I remember to do that with Ben some of the time, but I often find myself just forgetting to interact with him.  My mind goes straight to that to-do list.




I have similar moments with Evan and Corrie.  "Just wait ..."  I say, while I type one more email.  "Instead of running in the race, will you sit with me at a table to hand out info about Down syndrome?"  I ask.  They lose some of my time and attention so that I can be an advocate for Ben and for other individuals with Down syndrome.  It is their sacrifice.


So ... tonight while the kids and I were running errands, I asked all three of them, "Do you mind?  Is it OK that I do stuff for the Down Syndrome Association?  How do you feel about it?"  I want them to know that they are the most important people in my life.


They responded immediately.


"It's great, Mom!  You do a walk, and then there's cotton candy!  And popcorn!" exclaimed Corrie.  "And it helps the best baby in the world - Ben!"

"It's the right thing to do," said Evan.  "You help people."

And Ben smiled and waved and signed a song.

I think this will be a long journey - figuring out the balance between family and service.  For today, I am just thankful that these three (and Emmett!) are on my team. 


  1. Oh Deb, what a wonderful rumination on where life has you these days and the blessing that you are to your family & your community through service. The whole concept of "work - life - balance" really needs to be done away with - several years ago I heard a woman speak on "work life integration" & the reality that in some seasons you are more focused in one direction than then other but you never have the balance. This is a conversation that I have with so many friends & colleagues - those in the workforce, those not, those with kids, those of us without. I love that Evan & Corrie are so engaged with what you are doing & can't believe that you are now prepping for preschool with Ben. Blessings to you, my friend!

  2. I often have similar feelings to what you describe, I am definitely bad about keeping everything together! Your kids sound really sweet. I wouldn't worry about them sacrificing, it sounds like they're having a great time! It's a good lesson for kids to learn that they can't always do what they want and they aren't the center of the world (this, at least is what I tell myself when I fret over the exact same thing). As our son has gotten older, I try to make sure that he doesn't feel like our focus either, and he is expected to help others and contribute to our household too. Everyday life with lots of kid and parent activities can get hard, but it keeps things interesting.

  3. I remember as a kid being upset because my mom would spend time visiting others in the hospital or at home when they were sick (Even on holidays)...as an adult I look back and appreciate that now about my mother...that she cared for others when they really needed It. It sounds like ur kids already appreciate ur unselfishness. Good luck on rgvdsa day planning:) miss yall!

  4. It's hard keeping things together and I've got 1 kid! It just seems like we are all pulled into different directions and we don't want to ever let anyone down. I love Corrie and Evan's response to your question--you are raising them to understand what things are important to fight for. They will have the empathy and compassion that others lack. Keep rockin' on, Deb!