BabyChatter Ezine
Baby Names, Baby Freebies, Coupons & Offers, &
Parenting and Baby Information
September 6, 2001, Issue 41
Teri Hanson, Editor, info@babychatter.com

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Getting the Balance Right
By Chrisoulla Nicolaou

Nine-month-old Christopher needs my attention. I have to change him, feed him, play with him and all the rest. Thirteen-year-old Theo is in the middle of exams and needs me to help him revise and to test him. He also needs a big boost of self-confidence.

I have a husband, two children and various pets. I also have a wonderful but demanding job working with children. All are vying for my attention – all of them need me. Whose requirements are most important? How can I respond to everyone’s needs without spreading myself to thin? How do I get the balance right?

First of all housework has taken last place on my list of priorities. Secondly, I’ve had to stop bathing the dog and cleaning-out pets’ cages, for now, and my husband has taken over the responsibility of feeding the pets. I spend the afternoon giving my nine-month-old my undivided attention until 6:30pm when he goes to bed for the night. Then I have the evening to do a couple of hours of revision with my eldest son, do a load of laundry and prepare the baby’s bottles and food for the next day. If there is any time left before bedtime (and I have enough energy) there’s always housework waiting to be done.

Unfortunately I haven’t quite got the balance right yet as I’ve been receiving a lot of complaints from my husband! I have tried to explain to all concerned that these are only temporary measures – normal service will be resumed when
the baby is a little older and isn’t so demanding. Does any of this sound familiar to you? How CAN you decide whose needs must come first?

Obviously, you must learn to prioritise. The way you respond to your baby can have drastic long-term effects. I
always put my baby’s needs first because I am instrumental in forming his character. I want him to know that I am
always there for him when he needs me. I want him to grow up feeling self-assured and confident.

My eldest son has to wait patiently until the baby sleeps efore we tackle any serious studying together. He attends
a very academic school and good results mean everything. But the time we spend together is exclusive. I try not to
do chores or cooking during this time as our one-to-one time is important for nurturing our relationship. I’m very lucky to have an understanding husband who is self-employed and so can sometimes help with the baby –
especially at weekends, so that I can get on with other things.

Decide what is important in YOUR life. You can’t afford to spread yourself to thin. Put your baby’s needs first and
then try to fit in everything else. Don’t forget your other children still need special attention, and so does your
husband. Perhaps you could ask a relative or friend to look after the baby once in a while so that the rest of your family can still get your exclusive attention. Don’t feel guilty if your house is a mess, if your ironing pile reaches the ceiling or if your sink is full of un-washed dishes. Your baby won’t be a baby for ever, but you will always be his Mom.

In time you WILL get the balance right after all you’re a mother – a unique species who is capable of doing anything
she puts her mind to. Everyone knows that – don’t they?

Chrisoulla Nicolaou
Copyright © 2001 all rights reserved.

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