Before my husband and I had ever started trying to conceive, I had already had plenty of conversations with myself as well as external dialogue with my husband about the type of mom I wanted to be. I was on a mission…or maybe a few missions. Some seemed simple and attainable while others I questioned if they were even reasonable. Nevertheless, I was on a mission, and there was NOTHING and NO ONE that could stand in my way. One of the biggest missions I set out to accomplish was learning to balance it all. Those who follow me on social media know that this is my focus as a mommi blogger. My life as a mom is centered around faith, family, fitness, food, and fun (my 5 F’s), and those are the things I have been on a mission to balance. Sounds simple enough right? Right! I got this!
Faith is my first F because without it, nothing else really matters. When I say faith, I’m not just talking about going to church and participating in ministry, although that’s a part of it. What I’m speaking to is the most important element of my faith: my spiritual growth and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Being born and raised in the church, it is very important to me that I pass the same Biblical principles and Christian values down to my son that helped me to grow in my faith. However, I can’t really preach something to him that I don’t practice myself. I mean I COULD if I wanted to, but I’d rather lead by example. So, spending time in prayer and the Word is key for me.
Who knew that prioritizing time with God would be more difficult after having a kid? I thought this was going to be the easy one to maintain. But once you incorporate a full-time job, a husband, a baby, and leadership in two ministries…whew chile! I’m ashamed to say that the exhaustion sometimes gets the best of me and I end up trying to rest during the times I used to spend with God.
Listen. I know me. Exhausted Joanna is irritable, stressed, and a ball of anxiety. Not to mention, when I’m exhausted, my passion for ministry leadership begins to fade. I just want to go home and rest after work instead of driving out to the church for rehearsals. But the time I spend with God is just as vital because when I don’t take that time, I’m still irritable, stressed, and a ball of anxiety. So, which takes priority? My physical well-being or my spiritual well-being? I could always just catch the sermon on Sunday thought. That should get me through at least a few more days, right?
After my faith comes my husband and my son. Prioritizing my family is an area in which I feel I do a pretty good job. Quality time is my primary love language so making and spending time with my little family is easy to do. Not to mention, the time we spend together energizes me and brings me joy (perfect remedy for the exhausted Joanna).
However, I don’t always get it right when it comes to time with my husband. By the time we get the baby to bed, it’s around 8:30PM or later, and on most days, I haven’t even eaten dinner yet. So, by the time I eat and shower and get settled, I’m ready to crash and have very little energy left for my husband. Some days I’m able to push through and other days I’m not. It’s an ongoing struggle that I still haven’t found the solution to. Luckily, I have a husband who is EXTREMELY patient and understanding and cuts me a lot of slack in this area. But at the same time, it’s still an area that I want to do better in. I NEED to do better for the sake of my marriage.
Why does fitness come right after my family and before food and fun? Because fitness is a necessary part of being healthy so that I can live a long life and be here for my family. I also wanted to introduce fitness to my son at a young age with hopes of him developing an appreciation for it that will lead to a healthy lifestyle for him. Once I get into the swing of things, I work out consistently without anyone having to push me to do so. I started off with a membership with Daily Burn so that I could work out in the comfort of my own home. It was convenient and the workouts were challenging and even fun. Daily Burn offers a wide variety of workouts to choose from so it was perfect for me!
Later, I took some classes with Camp Gladiator, fell in love with it, and got a membership. I was getting up early in the morning to make it to my 5AM class, and anyone who knows me KNOWS I am NOT a morning person. But I was THAT motivated! I also kept my Daily Burn membership because I liked having the option of working out at home or going to my outdoor CG class.
I was so on top of my workout grind that I was becoming a source of motivation to other women. Until one day…I was no longer on top of it. I’d gotten a new job that required me to be at work earlier. Although I tried to continue to go to my 5AM CG class, I would have to leave before it ended (which really bothered me) in order to make it to work on time. I continued to go and leave early as often as I could. Then, one day the load and stress of the new job started to weigh heavy on me.
I was exhausted (work is the main reason exhausted Joanna is a thing) and eventually became physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted. I completely stopped going to my 5AM classes because I was struggling just to get out of bed in the mornings. There were evening options that I could’ve taken advantage of, but by the time I got off work, I had nothing left to give. Not even enough to do my at-home workouts. I was running on fumes. I still had a desire to get back on top of my fitness, and there were even random days here and there where I actually worked out. But those days were few and far in between. Honestly, I’m still struggling to get back to where I once was.
How can food be a priority for a mommi who has all these other things going on? Because folks gotta eat! Specifically, myself…and my family, of course. As a foodie, food plays a very important role in my life. I love trying new foods, I love eating yummy things, and I LOVE to cook. Cooking is a stress reliever for me (so is eating), so I had to make food a priority for my own sanity. Hashtag self-care!
Well guess what, y’all. I managed to fall off in this area too! Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Of course, you did. Let me be clear. I did NOT fall off of the eating train. Baby girl misses no meals over here, which is part of my problem. However, I did fall off of the cooking train for a hot minute. I no longer had the time or energy I once had to go grocery shopping and cook with my new job in full effect. Combatting rude, inconsiderate people in the grocery store after a long day of work was the last thing I wanted to do.
I would order curbside pickup when my brain was functioning at a high enough level for me to remember to do so. But when I did cook, I didn’t bring the same fun and creativity into it. I kept it really simple to save time so I could get off of my feet and rest. With the current state of the world, I can say that I’ve been cooking a lot more and the genuine passion and creativity is back! I guess there is a silver lining in every situation.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the most fun-loving people you will ever meet. I love to kick it with my friends, laugh, make people laugh, and just enjoy life. It’s who I am and what I do. So, what does a person like me do when their closest friends up and move away. Yep. That’s right. They left me! One day we were all living in the same city and hanging out regularly. Then, the next thing I know, I’m the only person who’s still here! How am I supposed to have fun with no friends???
I know what you’re thinking. “Your husband is still there, girl. Chill out.” LISTEN! You don’t know that man! We have some really fun times together. However, there are things that I enjoy that he has NO desire to do. Which wasn’t an issue when my friends lived here because the things he didn’t want to do, I would just do with them. He’s also an introvert who can do without being out and about. As you can see, he’s not in either of these group pictures. LOL! I, on the other hand, love hitting the streets and doing all the things.
Months after my friends left, it dawned on me that I had not spent much time doing the things I enjoy. I was spending much more time at home, which I’m sure my husband appreciated, but I wasn’t feeling like myself. It almost felt like there was a void. No. Not almost. There was a void. I was no longer consistently feeding my social butterfly, and she was slowly withering. But let me tell you how God works.
Remember that new job I got that’s been sucking the life out of me? I could not understand WHY God sent me there…until recently. I’ve met four amazing women who I almost instantly clicked with. They’re not my coworkers anymore. They are my friends, my sisters. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we encourage each other, we correct each other, we pray for each other, and we support each other. We are all so different, yet we mesh so well, and our group just isn’t complete if one of us is missing. God knew what I needed when I needed it, and my fun social life that once was is not slowly on the mend. Shout out to The Heffas! Don’t judge us.
Alright, let’s review. When it comes to my 5 F’s, how am I doing with balancing it all? My faith in God is still strong, but my consistency with spending time with him is in ICU right now. I’m killing the game when it comes to spending time with my family unit, but I need to step my game up when it comes to the time I spend with my husband. Fitness? That’s on life support right now sooooo…yeah. Food is continuing to be eaten, and I’m in a good place with my cooking. So, there’s a win! The fun aspect of my life is on the come up and will be in full force once we’re able to freely move about the world again. So, have I accomplished my mission to balance it ALL? No. And I probably never will.
Here’s what I’ve learned about motherhood and life in general. We all go through different seasons over the course of our lifetime. In some seasons, you’re holding up all the plates and balancing all the things and wearing all the hats and killing it in all the areas. In other seasons, you’re struggling to catch your breath and can barely remember if you put on deodorant before you left the house. That’s just life! And what does balance even mean? When it comes to motherhood, I believe balance is subjective. To one mommi, balance may look like standing tall on both feet with your chin up high while steadily holding a plate on each finger. To another mom it may look like a torrential downpour of tasks that all hit the ground because she successfully ran in the house to intentionally dodge them all.
Well, to me balance looks like this picture. Smiles on our faces while my son does the fool and I stand on one foot to keep him from busting his head open. All while my husband is his usual, chill, unbothered self. Is it a perfect picture? No. But we’re all happy and healthy. I may not be standing up straight, but I’m still standing. Learning to balance it all is simply doing your best every day with whatever strength and sanity you have left so that you and your family can walk out into the world with smiles on your faces because at the end of the day, you still have each other. That is the goal. That is the mission.
Mommi Joanna, out!