Finding balance in parenthood – It’s not an all or nothing practice

by Asha Hossain

The other night I was talking to my partner Dennis about time. The time we have or don’t have for ourselves and each other since we became parents. And how less sleep influences our mind and really gets stuck in our body as well.

Before Sura was born we got to go to bed around 10 pm and wake up around 6 am. Which means plenty of time for a good night sleep, a proper yoga practice in the morning, working on beautiful projects, meeting with inspiring people, have time to reflect and be with each other A LOT!

Doing it all

Nowadays we only have that little timeframe after Sura goes to bed. Somewhere after 7.30 pm (if she falls asleep easily) and we need to put everything else in those evenings. That means sometimes work a little bit, answering emails (we both work on some very cool projects and don’t spend every day behind our laptops) or replying to friends, family on the phone. We want to talk to each other, cuddle and be together but also want to read books, watch some beautiful movies, take baths and meditate. And most of all, at least 1 hour before we go to bed, we want to feel soft and calm so we can slide into our beds and enjoy a good night sleep.

Goodbye sleep

But honestly, we can’t store all of those things in those few hours that we have in the evening. Especially when Sura tends to wake up a lot during the evenings (goodbye me-time and expectations, hello beautiful teacher!) and let’s not forget that I’m teaching yoga classes a few nights per week as well. Suddenly going to bed has sometimes stretched out to 11 pm and sometimes even 12 am. And with some waking ups during the night and early active toddler mornings it becomes the well-known tiredness of motherhood, parenthood.

The balance in being present

As part of our mindful practice and being present with whatever we’re doing, we try to enjoy the time with our daughter during the day (and nights) and we also like to take time to respond to messages with attention. With everything we do, we try to engage with our utmost self. In the end, it sometimes feels like there are never enough hours in a day, to do all those beautiful things with presence. And exactly that is what makes us feel stressed out, gives us depression and burn outs as parents, while living our lives. Because we can’t put all those things in a day (or evening). But the beauty of it, it’s not an all or nothing practice!

All or nothing

We can always find ways to mindfully brush our teeth, brush our hair, wash our face, saying lovely words to ourselves when we do so and that could be the yoga and meditation practice we’re kind of missing out now. We can cuddle up, read a book together, share the things from those books, laugh about it and enjoy finding our together time in that. But most of all maybe we need to let go of that expectation of doing it all and create picture perfect! Maybe we need to NOT force all of it, enjoy the flow of the evening and see how it will unfold, instead of creating that feeling where we “have to”. And just maybe we need to be ok with one little thing for today and if that’s just breathing, that’s ok.