Finding Balance... Glass Balls

This picture of the kids balancing on the ledge of the construction site was caught by Kathleen, aka the Original Cheese Lady the day the containers arrived. 

This picture of the kids balancing on the ledge of the construction site was caught by Kathleen, aka the Original Cheese Lady the day the containers arrived. 

When I shared this blog with Jeff his first reaction was that it was pretty personal.  I struggled with it as well.  It’s not about the construction, menu or design but it is about one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in this adventure and I think it’s important to share, that’s my disclaimer, it’s a little more personal than normal but we feel like we are welcoming you into our lives, our whole lives, so I’ve decided to share it.

With each New Year I try to take the time to reflect, to acknowledge what the year has given me, the lessons I’ve learned, the challenges I’ve faced and the blessings that have filled my soul.  I put myself through a series of reflections and try to let the moments and the learnings resonate.  I think about all of the pieces that make me whole.  Like most people I find myself pulled in many directions.  I am a mother, a wife, a restaurateur, an employee, a leader, a community member, church member, friend, an athlete, a blogger, a homemaker, a dog owner, a designer (amateur)...the list goes on.  It’s challenging to juggle the many roles and competing priorities without dropping the ball somewhere.  So I take stock; I accept that these things are not always equally as important and that often when leaning into one another falls short.  I accept that there are places I have fallen short and I forgive myself for it.  Ok, in all honesty I beat myself up, swallow that frustration and chase it with a big bowl of gelato and a glass of red wine.

The hardest thing to balance for me is being a working mom.  There are times that I miss important and sometimes ordinary moments that I’ll never have the chance to regain.  I love my work, I actually love what I get to wake up and do everyday.  I may not always love the 5 hour video calls or emails; however, the core of what I do makes a difference and that means a lot to me.  That said, like many working parents, I have horrible guilt, and a sadness when I kiss my littles on the forehead before they even wake up as I rush to the airport.  If you happen to work at the Muskegon airport you’ll know me as the one rushing in at the very last minute and   As I write this I’m on a 6 am flight for a long work week. 

I think the key to finding balance is a firm foundation. 

I think the key to finding balance is a firm foundation. 

So how do we balance these times when work requires us to travel or there’s an important call the very same time as the valentine’s party or a sporting event?  How do we respond when we get the glares from other parents when our snack isn’t homemade?  For me it’s a balancing act and (despite my time in the circus) I still struggle with it.  I try to cram everything in when I can and in an effort to juggle my mom and work hats I often fail with another.  My loving wife hat’s replaced with the list making, nagging wife hat or my restaurateur hat gets put on the shelf until what should be fun becomes urgent and we’re running around like ping pong balls in a tornado.  To be fair, I’ve always lived like this, chaotic, fast, spinning, pulling everything into me and trying to get as much life into everyday that I can.  I feel incredibly blessed to have everyday and there’s a piece of me that feels guilty to waste it.  I have never learned to be still and I have to take a deep breath and remind myself everyday to enjoy the journey. 

We love when we get to have Skylar back home for Saturday breakfast. 

We love when we get to have Skylar back home for Saturday breakfast. 

So we prioritize time to be together as a family.  We make Saturday morning breakfast every week with piles of waffles, pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls, fruit and whatever else we find in our refrigerator and then talk about our week and what we should do over the weekend.  Jeff and I marvel at how much Savannah can eat, Jr. can talk and Marley can pile onto a waffle sandwich.  Jeff and I have a macchiato in the morning and cover our to do lists.  We embrace the moments that we have together and try making tasks an adventure we can do together too, like accessory shopping or site visits.  I try to balance a long travel week with lots of calls and a fun family adventure on the weekend.  I drag the whole crew to Run club so I don’t miss a day with them and have the added bonus of having my son run with me (ok, in front of me!) and I take advantage of my time in airplanes and on layovers to keep everyone updated on our adventures. 

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As the restaurant gets closer to opening time only becomes more scarce and our “lists” become longer.  I’ve had to learn to let go of some things as well.  The clean house, organized closets, that extra workout, keeping up with Facebook, creating the perfect Pinterest worthy Valentine’s Day box, finishing even one scrapbook... I focus on family, making sure everyone is well fed in love and in food (having a chef for a husband helps here).  When we have that, when we have health, love, family, friends and food we have joy and laughter and blessings but most of all we have piles and piles of laundry, and that’s ok.  When you’re juggling, It’s important to know which balls are glass and which are rubber.  Some balls bounce back easily, they’ll always be there, others are like glass, we need to put them first.  As we continue this wild and fun adventure together, new things are being added to our plates each day, we prioritize, figure it out and work together to keep all of the balls in the air and when we drop the ball on grabbing groceries we forgive each other, laugh and call for delivery.

Jeffrey Jr. is helping to trim the tree that we sponsored for the Circle of Trees.

Jeffrey Jr. is helping to trim the tree that we sponsored for the Circle of Trees.

This shot was taken on the construction site, we try to take the kids down when we can. 

This shot was taken on the construction site, we try to take the kids down when we can. 

Marley works on menu design with Jeff. 

Marley works on menu design with Jeff. 

We headed up north for a quick family vacation over the holiday break. 

We headed up north for a quick family vacation over the holiday break. 

If you don’t fly out of MKG and you live in west Michigan here’s my unsponsored plug-fly Muskegon.  You can get anywhere with a quick layover, the coffee is free and you won’t find a better team of people from the ground crew to the flight crew and everyone in between-MKG rocks!

If you don’t fly out of MKG and you live in west Michigan here’s my unsponsored plug-fly Muskegon.  You can get anywhere with a quick layover, the coffee is free and you won’t find a better team of people from the ground crew to the flight crew and everyone in between-MKG rocks!