Figuring Out the Maternal Balancing Act

I’m 29 years old, a first time mom to a beautiful and energetic 8 month old, and an overachiever who happens to be self employed and loves creating projects and volunteering with charities.

I’m surprised I have time to breathe, let alone eat and sleep.

Its funny. When you’re a kid, time is this vast, unknowable concept. A minute is sixty whole seconds, and an hour is forever. Have to wait a week for something? That’s an absolute eternity!

But as an adult, time does a curious little flip. A minute is only sixty seconds. An hour is eaten up in the blink of an eye. A day? A week? Over before you realize. Riff Raff said it best: time is fleeting. The more you realize it goes by too fast, the faster it seems to go.

Finding a healthy balance between work and play is essential, and often toted as key wisdom. But there is another sort of balance that gets overlooked, and it’s this I’m finding difficult to grasp as my life shifts from twenty-something independent to domestic mother goddess.

There is a balance between being a mother, being a wife, being a homekeeper, and being a business woman. Its a balance I have yet to master. I feel like Shakti, frequently depicted with multiple arms, should stop being so selfish and help a sister out with a hand or two. When I spend time building my business, my housework suffers. When I focus on housework, I feel like I’m neglecting my baby. When I spend the day engaging and enjoying my Ewok, part of me feels like the day is “wasted time” that could have gone into business, and the house is a mess when the husband gets home. And let’s not even start on my marriage – after all, who has the time or energy for sex when you’re juggling three separate time-consuming entities?!

I know I’m not alone, and that thought gives me hope. I don’t know a single woman who has “it” together: the beautiful house, the perfect family, the successful career. I hear you, Sheryl Sandberg, and I do want to lean in; just as soon as you teach me the black magic you utilize to give yourself more hours in the day. Or sell me your time turner. Whatever works for you.

Despite all my complaining (of which I have much more stored up, just follow me on Facebook), I have developed a couple tips to get me through a day without hating myself or running ragged.

  1. A schedule is everything. My calendar has a list of events, business meetings, personal outings, and appointments and tasks to finish within every category – from the complicated business projects to “go to freezer. defrost chicken”. If its not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist in my world. If I were to ever lose my phone and computer, my life would literally (figuratively) crumble into dust.
  2. Don’t be strict with the timekeeping. After the baby was born and I became a WAHM and began scheduling everything from outings to work webinars to using the toilet, I quickly learned that I have absolutely no concept of time. Whatsoever. I would schedule a task and think, “Oh, a half hour should be plenty of time to vacuum the floors!” And then the baby gets hungry, and a phone call comes in, and the cat vomits into the laundry basket and all of a sudden its two hours later and the vacuum is still sitting in the closet. My schedule needs to have the flexibility for me to rearrange at a whim – especially since before the baby came along, “schedule” was a dirty word in my house. I LIVED by the moment. Now I live by naptimes and diaper changes.
  3. Don’t forget yourself. As stupid as this sounds, make time for yourself. And DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. I am the biggest culprit of this, and its a daily, continuous battle of reminding myself that I’m a human with needs too, and that one day I’m going to wake up dead and regret not having pancakes for dinner that one time. (Or something.) I have a tendency to put others first, which I’ve been told is a very noble and lovely personality quirk, but after the baby came, it became a crippling flaw that was very quickly driving me insane. Where before, I could put my things aside to make a special dinner for my husband, or run an errand as a favor for a friend, now I have a tiny little helpless life that demands my attention. Lovely as she is, she counts as a baker’s dozen people when it comes to errands and favors and acts of kindness. If I were to put her first (and I do), and everyone else in some random order between her and myself, I would probably cease being an actual human and fully devolve into some version of a Mombot. But I’m not a robot. I’m a person, and I need to relax and unwind and eat that god damn bag of chips while binge-watching Nashville every once in a while. (And do it while not being a hypocrite to my clients.) So to maintain my sanity, and the safety and wellbeing of those around me, I make sure to take time for myself: monthly Red Tent gatherings with the ladies, stupid smart phone games before bed, and coffee. every. damn. day.

Do I have it all figured out? Hell no. I’ve only been a mom for 8 months, only recently started getting my business off the ground. Do I have days where nothing gets done because I’m trying to do a little bit of everything? More often than not. But slowly, with practice and experience, I’m growing into the kind of woman I always wanted to be. One that has it all together. One that can balance work with play with kids with romance. One that is happy, and healthy, and succeeding. I keep tweaking the weights, but I know one day, my scales will even out. Balance will come.

Hopefully it doesn’t come in death.


(But only kind of.)

Now what the hell are you waiting for? Get off your computer, stop listening to my babble, and get to work! Me? I’m going upstairs to snuggle my husband. He seems nice, or so I’ve been told.

I set up my first Samhain altar in years tonight. For the past three years, all I’ve had was a tiny corner kitchen shelf which had barely enough room for candles, my cauldron, and Goliath (my garygoyle). Tonight, in the new house, with this being The Ewok’s first Halloween, I wanted to use the new year as an excuse to start some new traditions.

Samhain altar 2015
Samhain altar 2015

I put the call out on social media that I would light a candle and send some reiki for anyone who asked. I put out some tea lights – one for each of my ancestor spirits and a couple for the Kaptain’s as well. I really like the idea of lighting candles with the Ewok when she gets older and explaining how they’re there for those souls to find their way back to us.

The altar also has some loose sage and a cauldron to burn it in, a tall black candle that will stay lit all day, and some totems and amulets that need to be charged. The Kaptain found an applewood branch last October that he thought looked just like a wand and took it home. Its stayed in one piece all year long, so that found a place on the altar as well. (I find it funny that he’s not really Pagan, and loves to antagonize the fae, yet he’s the one they love to bestow gifts upon. Go figure.)

various altar sundries and samhain symbolism
various altar sundries and samhain symbolism

I have some pictures of my loved ones tucked into a wreath, although I think they’re going to move to a string I hung above the shelf with mini clips or clothes pins. I also added our handfasting cord as an afterthought, but now that its there, I feel like its supposed to be. We’ve been so stressed lately, its taking a toll on our relationship. Hopefully we can find some healing through it being on the altar.

My Grampy and my Uncle Mark; two men who have had a great influence on my life, despite both passing when I was very young
My Grampy and my Uncle Mark; two men who have had a great influence on my life, despite both passing when I was very young

There’s this woman named Aepril that I follow for astrology readings, and her latest post talks about how this is the time to put aside half assed projects and put our energy into the things that ignite our passion 100%. I’ve found myself doing that lately, especially with trying to get my business up and running, but I can see my attention focusing in my personal life as well. I’ve been drifting and unfocused for too long. Its time to buckle down.

Samhain is traditionally a time where we look inward at all that we’ve accomplished in the past year and begin looking to the future. The harvest is over. We’ve planted our seeds, we’ve nurtured them as they grow, and we’ve basked in their fruition. Now, we take stock in our steps, the rights and wrongs, and think about how we can change as we move forward – ever moving forward.

I’m starting to forge definite plans from the chaos that has been life the past few years. Its time to put those plans into motion.

Apple pie ready for Samhain supper tomorrow; in the morning I'll bake the charm bread and make the spiced cider. Yum!
Apple pie ready for Samhain supper tomorrow; in the morning I’ll bake the charm bread and make the spiced cider. Yum!

What are your Samhain plans? Show me pictures of your altar!

Why Its Important To Say Yes To Yourself

True story: Back in January, I pre-ordered a book called Homemakers from the founder of the lifestyle website Brit+Co. I was really excited for this DIY/style guide/homemaker’s manual for the tech generation. I’m a big reader and can usually finish a book in record time. The book arrived in the beginning of March, just a few weeks after The Captain was born. I figured I’d give myself a few extra days to finish it, in between feedings and diaper changes.

I just finished the book two weeks ago.

With a new baby, an overworked husband, and constant social and familial commitments, sometimes my own desires get swept aside. People want to be in my daughter’s life (and I definitely don’t blame them!). Bills need to get paid. Hubs and I need to balance our volunteering with Extra Life, cosplay appearances, and LARPing with not overloading our daughter (or our budget). At the end of the day, I’m lucky to get half an hour of downtime to stream via Twitch before the baby wakes – never mind actually sitting down to do any substantial work on my business.

To be an adult has somehow become synonymous with putting your family, your bills, and your home before your own needs. When did this happen? When did we stop saying “Yes” to ourselves out of fear of seeming selfish? And where is the line between self-care and self-centered?

I find this problem a lot when speaking with potential massage and reiki clients. On a certain level, people know that massage and reiki are beneficial to health, but they don’t take the step to schedule because “I can’t fit it into my kids’ schedule” or “I have bills to pay” or even “It feels like a luxury that I can’t enjoy with my entire family”.

I get it. I really do. I have the same problem. Somehow, saying “Yes!” to ourselves has become a dirty word. But it doesn’t have to be that way.


Without self-care, we can’t fully expend our energy to care for others. Our bodies are a wellspring of energy, but they are not infinite. We need to replenish ourselves to be able to continuously draw from that well.

The best way to replenish your wellspring is to say “Yes” to yourself.

Allow yourself that massage, video game, new book. Take yourself for a walk around the block. Pick up some flowers at the store and treat yourself to air cleansing, sweet smelling beauty each morning. Know that you are worth it, regardless of what others say.

It doesn’t have to be over the top, but it should be something that makes you happy. When we are happy, we tend to spread that happiness out and to others. It’s the power of paying it forward, of random acts of kindness. Taking care of yourself makes it easier to take care of others. Happiness is contagious, after all.

How do you say yes to yourself?

The Biggest News To Come Out of the E3 Microsoft Press Conference

E3, otherwise known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is basically Gamer Christmas. We get console demos, gameplay trailers, new tech to play with, and a bevy of new game titles to make us worry about our bank accounts over the next year. I’ve only been a video gamer for a short portion of my life, but E3 quickly became one of the most anticipated events of my geeky year.

As a fangirl firmly planted in the Microsoft camp, their press conference was my highly anticipated Christmas Eve to the actual Expo’s Christmas – and they didn’t disappoint! New games, a new interface (which I’ll expand upon later), a new controller… but ultimately, they gave us the most requested gift on our geeky little lists:

Backwards compatibility!


When the Xbox One and the Playstation 4 were released, the biggest complaint by far was that we wouldn’t be able to play our old 360 or PS3 games on the new consoles. With the price of the new consoles being so high, it was definitely a con on the list of reasons to upgrade. But Microsoft heard our cries, went to work, and announced yesterday at E3 that the Xbox One would be getting a backwards compatibility update later this year! (If you’re an Xbox Preview member, you have access to this feature now with a limited supply of games.)

The way they’re implementing the change is pretty simple, but pretty ingenius: they basically built an Xbox 360 emulator that will update on all the Xbox Ones of the world, and you run your 360 games through the emulator! Its like a program, or an addition to the existing software, that will download automatically (for free, even!) and give you the ability to play your old games.* They’ll still be on your Xbox One (so you don’t have to get fancy and link your 360 through the Cable/TV slot on your Xbone like we did), and all your Xbox One features will still be available, like screenshots and snap screens.

You won’t be able to cash in double on those achievements, however; because the games are still coming from your 360 save clouds, with 360 coding, you’ll get the achievement based on which version of the game you’re playing. Sorry, power gamers.

They have a small selection of games now, including the entire first party catalogue, but will have expanded to over 100 games when the general update comes later this year. Bill Stillwell, from the Xbox Platform Team, says the biggest hurdle is tracking down legal permissions for games whose licensing may have changed, but that they intend to continuously expand the initial catalogue by asking us what games we want to see, and adding as it becomes possible.


During the E3 interview, they displayed the feature using a fan favorite: Borderlands. Due 100% to the platform team’s favoritism, Borderlands is one of the titles you’ll be able to play on your next gen console. Because it’s still technically running on a 360, the graphics aren’t improved at all, but really, does anyone care? The only question this raises is for re-released games from the 360 to the Xbox One, like Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. One has to wonder if people will just buy the Pre-Sequel and opt to download their original copies of Borderlands 2 instead of buying the Handsome Collection package. It’ll be interesting to see 2K Games’ numbers after the update drops.

I think the coolest thing about this update, for me, is the ability to play multiplayer with your friends, regardless of which console you’re using. It’ll come in handy when I want to play Destiny with someone still living in the stone age (aka using a 360) or if I want to play Borderlands with a friend who purchased The Handsome Collection!

I’d say this is pretty big blow to Sony and their Playstation Now network, since Xbox will be updating all their consoles, and the service is free! This may be the action that swings console fencers towards the Microsoft camp.

What 360 games are you looking forward to playing on your Xbox One? What else do you hope to see during E3? I’ll be updating here periodically on big announcements, but for more continuous E3 coverage, make sure to follow me on social media!

If you’re in Marlborough MA this weeken

If you’re in Marlborough MA this weekend, or if you’re looking for something to do with the kids, come visit our @ExtraLife table at Lego #BrickFestLive! at the Royal Plaza Trade Center! We’ve got games, legos, raffles, and a live Sign Up station. #FTK