Guest Post with Meghan Joy Yancy
Meghan Joy lives in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota with her husband and their 6 kids. Meghan Joy homeschools their children while running a few businesses from home and keeping up with her Blog. They love family dinners, lazy Sundays after church, and random dance parties. She is passionate about healthy living, essential oils, family, homeschooling, and her faith. You can connect with Meghan Joy via her social media accounts either through Instagram and Blog.
As a family of 8, there can be a lot going on and a lot of personalities to interact with. Our 6 kids are all under the age of 9 and over the years we have learned the sweet art of balance. And we don’t always rock at it but we certainly strive to be better each day.
One of the biggest lessons for me to learn and integrate into our life has been saying “no.” The ability to not stretch myself too thin has been integral in finding balance and keeping things from getting overwhelming. And that includes even saying no to things that are good and fun. If I continue to take on too much and cram so many activities and events into our schedule, we will just be driving from place to place instead of truly living life to its full potential. And for me, that precious downtime is important and a priority. I cherish the days we’re home that are filled with playtime and imagination. I don’t want to be so busy “doing” that I forget to just “be.”
Everyone will find their own systems that work for them but I wanted to share a few tips and tricks that have made it easier for our family to find balance in each day. Also knowing that there will be different seasons of life and changes that come. I like to be flexible during those transitions so that we don’t let stress seep in. When we allow ourselves to be moldable, the different seasons of life can be more easily embraced instead of throwing us more out of balance.
In our family, we are entering a very different season of life. We just welcomed our 6th baby into the world on April 28 and have some very big changes occurring in the coming months as well. Things are going to look a little different than they have but our goal remains to stay balanced in all we do. I have firsthand felt the difference it makes in living a life of balance or not. My joy and peace is more abundant when I am making sure to keep all areas of my life a priority. One big difference maker for me has been Oola. It stems from an awesome book called: Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World-The Seven Areas You Need to Balance and Grow to Live the Life of Your Dreams. I’ve been following the OolaGuys for quite some time now, attended an OolaPalooza and have listened to many of their workshops on finding balance. One core concept that stuck with me is the notecard trick. Before bed each night, grab a notecard and write down 7 things you want to accomplish the next day. It may be “reply to emails” or “get bread at Target” or bigger things like “run 1 mile to train for half marathon” or “create website for business” but make sure you commit to them. And hey, if you don’t accomplish it all, just add it to the next days list and purpose to check them all off. This was a fun and simple way for me to stay on task and not let time slip away.
Let’s explore a few of the ways that we find balance in different areas of our particular family life.
* Health – my husband has always said, “Prevention is better than cure.” And it never really made sense to me until I needed to start going to the chiropractor after having my 2nd baby. Things were jacked up with my body and I was willing to pay any amount of money to fix it. If I could have been proactive, I wouldn’t have had to try and backtrack and fix what was messed up. Which has made me a firm believer in fully investing in our health.
* Fitness – we try to have a good compromise of allowing space and time for fitness because it’s an important aspect to our health. Both my husband and I run and so we normally tag team going for runs and the other one staying home with the kids during the others run. We try to do this every day, and if it doesn’t happen, we don’t beat ourselves up for it. While my husband goes to a gym, I workout at home. I put on a youtube video and do an exercise routine with all the kids. It becomes a fun family affair. We also try to do family walks every evening in the summers and create a habit of activity as a family.
* Food – although organic food is more expensive, especially with large families, it is worth the investment to fill our bodies with nutritious and beneficial foods that will truly nourish us. Again, it’s all about balance. So, I’m not saying we don’t indulge in a delicious piece of chocolate cake on birthdays. But we also try to make healthier options more often and the “treats” are spread out and done on occasion. We are “grazers” by nature and so we tend to just snack all throughout the day and then sit down to a family meal in the evenings.
* Essential Oils – we live the oily life through and through in our home. Although I do run a business from home with essential oils, we would still be using them in our lives. We have basically replaced every single chemical-filled product in our home with that of essential oils and Young Living products. Every single day, we are bettering our health through these oils and healthy living choices.
* Family- our time as a family is truly cherished and because it is such a high priority for us, we don’t add much else into our schedule that would pull away from that. The open schedule to just spend each evening at home together is precious. When asked to do something or go somewhere or volunteer hours at this event or that activity, I can easily say “no” now. It wasn’t always that way but I have learned to protect what is important to me. I don’t have to have anything else going on, but can be confident that I do not want to add any other errand to our planner. When we have a more clear schedule, we’ve carved out time to make memories as a family.
* Homeschooling- has turned more into unschooling as this schoolyear has progressed. That does not mean that we do not do school. But it means that we allow the space and time for our children to naturally learn and explore. We still use some curriculum and we still teach the foundations and basics but we cut out the unneccesary logged hours to try and keep up with the rigorous schedule that most students have. And that’s just our personal viewpoint. We still value education and learning, but not at the expense of actually living life. Because that is where we truly learn… by living.
* Faith- is the biggest piece of our lives. And it’s not actually a “piece” of our lives, but our entire being. Everything revolves around our faith in Jesus Christ and serving Him in all we do. By teaching and by example, we want our children to realize the importance of spending time with God every day. That cultivating time for growing our relationship with Him is even more important that any other aspect of life. It’s all for Him in all we do. We pray together as a family, have time for devotions, and leave space for discussion, questions, and exploring God’s word together.
There are many other aspects to life and all the roles we each play. One thing I always try to remember is that my husband and I get to create the culture of our home. We don’t have to let the ways of the world or how “everyone else is doing it” to dictate how we run our lives. And when that is remembered, it gets a little easier to say “no” to all the extras and to truly take hold of our lives and live it by design, not by chance or by someone else’s schedule. You have to get to the point where you are going to decide how you want to live life and then start making your decisions to reflect that. And when you do, you will find so much freedom in it. So much adventure in the midst of peace. It’s a beautiful thing when you realize that balance is tangible. That it is within grasp. And that you can live a life of balance too.