A couple weeks ago, Joe and I got to talking about time, more specifically what seems like the lack of time we have as we grow older. As we’ve gotten married and transitioned into adulthood it feels as if the number of things, events and people demanding of our time grows and our time shrinks away. In many ways this is a lovely problem to have I suppose, a sign of a full life with many loved ones to see and adventures to be had, but a part of me can’t help but feeling stretched thin. I can’t imagine how we will feel when we add kids to the mix someday!

Of course, there are the day-to-day responsibilities, like our jobs, staying healthy and active, doing laundry, cleaning and making dinners.

And since neither Joe nor I work in the community in which we live, there is also the pull we feel to develop deeper relationships with members of our Church family and Bible study, to feel more rooted and connected right here in Central Iowa. Last year, we spent too many weekends traveling and I think our relationships here developed very slowly because of it. We want desperately to change that in the months ahead, and that takes time.

Our families live various distances away. My dad, second mom and little sisters in Idaho and we don’t see them nearly as much as I would like to or as we should. Joe’s parents and my mom in NW Iowa, five hours away. Joe’s sister and brother-in-law and our nephew, Baylen, four hours away, and Joe’s brother and his wife, four hours away. My best friend, four hours away. It all takes time.

Joe and I are both the type of people who need down time to do the mundane things in life in order to not wear ourselves ragged and to feel recharged. It’s difficult to say “no” to opportunities, events and activities in a culture that glorifies being constantly busy and on-the-go.

How do you strike a balance between what you know you need and what others need from you? I’m sure the answer is different for everyone, but I’m curious to know if anyone else feels the same way and if they have learned to find a balance that works for them and their family.

Can any of you relate to how I’m feeling? Tell me I’m not alone…

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  • TheFoodGospelAccordingtoRuth

    It is so nice to know I am not the only one who feels like this…..sometimes I feel like I have to schedule down time so that I don’t get sick from exhaustion….and not in the Lindsey Lohan/Hollywood way!

  • http://www.keepitsweetdesserts.com/ Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Oh I can completely relate! We actually live closer to our parents which is wonderful… but also gives them the expectations that we can see them all the time. I love to do that but it is so hard to balance with being on our own or building a social life. And I agree, downtime is necessary.

  • Jen

    You aren’t alone! I completely understand how you feel – it is so hard to strike a balance while continuing to feel whole yourself. I live close to my family and the majority of my friends, which is lovely but the ‘alone/recharge’ time often gets squished out of the calendar in order to meet everyone’s expectations. As well, add in things like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram which tend to suck out valuable time we could spend nuturing real relationships with those around us…and the only quiet time for one’s self left seems to be in the shower or sleeping! Remembering to take deep breaths, being present and in the moment no matter what is going on and learning to preserve recharging time is key.

  • http://www.realhomeliving.com/ Laura Britton

    Everything you said here resonates with me! We have learned too that we need to not book every weekend… we need time to just be where we are. Balancing all of this is definitely tough, and I’m sure it looks different for everybody. We’re still figuring it out as we go! Getting involved in church and being around town to do so is huge though. We’ve learned we can’t say yes to every invitation from family and that has been really healthy for our life here where we live, and also our marriage. I think you guys will be really happy that you’re choosing to invest in people in your church! We as Christians need that community to thrive!

  • http://www.alextriesitout.com/ Alex Meyer

    I totally understand this! I feel like I’m constantly running, and although I love the people I see and the things I do, it can get really difficult. I try to listen to my head (and heart) and give myself ‘me’ time. If I can make it work, that’s one weekend a month.

    If I don’t do this, I run myself down and become tired and grumpy. And then no one wants to be around me! So I’ve learned to be selfish, every once in awhile :) .

  • Amy P

    One thing that has surprised me about motherhood that is interesting to think about in light of this—life feels much less hectic now. I was never very good at enjoying the small moments, but every time I nurse the baby, I simply sit still and watch her. And we’ve spend hours under the tree in our backyard looking at the leaves and enjoying the wind. Part of this is a concerted effort on my part not to be doing something else during those moments (I never have the tv on during the day and I try not to be inseparable from my phone), but part of it is simply that a baby makes you move more slowly—this has at least been the case for me. I want her to grow up being able to concentrate on one thing at a time, to be able to enjoy nature, and to not always feel pulled from one thing to the next. It’s been a nice change. (Though we have zero family nearby so perhaps that has something to do with it- we’re home a lot…)

    • http://foodloveswriting.com/ Shanna

      That might be one of the best testimonies about mothering I’ve heard. Super encouraging, Amy.

  • Janay @ Ranch Lickin’ Good

    Oh you’re definitely not alone! I already feel that way and I have a few months to go before I’m even married. I’m originally from Iowa and I just moved to Chicago with my fiance. He’s originally from Ohio so we have to juggle both our families living far away as well as trying to make friendships here in the city. My fiance and I don’t get to see each other all that often either because he’s traveling for work 4 days out of the week. And being gone on the weekends really throws off our Sunday church schedule. We both are “yes” people and can never say no to anyone. We actually had a conversation similar to yours on Sunday night and we told ourselves that as much as we hate saying no to people, we need to from time to time to stay sane. And to keep building our relationship together. I feel for ya girl! :)

  • Cindy @ The Flipping Couple

    Oh girl. You are not at all alone! This is a constant struggle for us, and I don’t feel like I have a very good handle on it at all. Our schedules are so packed, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I try to block out one evening a week that we’re just home. Not running 12 errands, or taking the dogs to the vet or tearing down a wall. Just being home and taking care of little things and maybe sitting on the couch and hugging our puppies. We mostly failed at this over the summer, but with fall here I’m trying to start it back up again. We’ve talked about trying to block out one weekend a month that’s “us” time, too. So far we’ve absolutely failed at that, but if we can even get it in every other month I think that would help me feel sane.

    I think it’s going to be a battle for our entire lives, but it’s important to step back periodically and figure out what we need at different times in our lives to thrive. I’d love to hear anything you figure out!

  • http://livefaithfully.blogspot.com/ Urban Wife

    You’re definitely not the only one. We recently moved and have no family or friends near us. It’s easier to chill out on the weekends since we don’t feel pressure to visit family or friends. Yes it’s the other extreme but in this season of life for us right now, it works nicely. That is, until we settle into a new church/small group community and start making those new friendships and have every weekend booked up. :) Oh, and one other thing I’ve learned: it’s okay to say no. We all need downtime to recharge!

  • Kayleigh

    You are certainly not alone. And you think you’re busy now? Wait until you have babies! It’s so hard to balance between everything. But completely possible, if you rely on God and have the right priorities. It’s not easy, but possible.

  • natalie@thesweetslife

    oh girl–you guys sound exactly like us! i can 100% relate…we feel so blessed and like our lives are full of so many good things, but it’s terrible when those things become a burden that wear us down. finding a balance is something we are always working on–if you figure it out do share! :)

  • greensnchocolate

    I know all too well how what you’re talking about. It feels like there is just never enough time, and since my husband and I moved from Iowa to Minnesota for his residency, I feel I never have enough time for my family and my friends. I try to find balance by making the most of my weeknights (definitely difficult a lot of days!) to relax and catch up from crazy weekends.

  • emily palmer

    I just recently came upon your blog… and I love it! Thanks for your sincerity and sweet style. I love reading it daily now!

    embitions.blogspot.com

  • Kristin Graybeal

    I can certainly relate, hence my commenting, but for me it’s been a matter of prioritizing and realizing what makes me happy. You need to do what makes you happy and what is most important to you, a combination of both. If you feel stressed by a messy house and piles of laundry but you also are planning on leaving for the weekend to visit family, you have to find a way to either do both or prioritize which one is more important. Because I work Monday-Friday, I’ve learned every other weekend (at least) is me time. That means I do what I want, what makes me happy and helps me prepare for a good week. If I didn’t have those down weekends, I’d feel overworked and unhappy and it’d ultimately wear me down. Prioritize and do what makes you thrive, be the best person you can be and what makes you happy.

  • Laura

    I’m also very close with my family and a good many true friends from college — but only one is within 6 hours! I’ve found that having more frequent/less-epic phone conversations helps me feel more integrated into the fabric of loved ones’ lives, because it makes each conversation less weighted with catch-up and cerebral life status check-ins. I love hearing simply what someone made for dinner, or how their morning run was… it helps me miss them less, and feel more ok with my current geography.

  • Emily Schloerb

    I can completely relate to this. Someone told me recently that by saying “no” you open up an opportunity to say “yes” to something else. It’s hard because you feel the pull of family and friends to meet their needs, yet we can’t do that to the best of our ability by giving everyone only 50% when we’ve used the remainder of our energy just trying to survive.

    God gives us a lot of little moments throughout the day too. Don’t forget about those!. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish in the seemingly minute segments of time when we are aware they exist.

    • Madison Mayberry

      I love that! Great advice, Emily.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AngelaTenClay Angela Ten Clay

    You are seriously telling my life story in this post! I can relate with you so much it’s crazy.