Water, Sand, Pebble, Rock

Focus Less on the Little Things


Published:

Photo by SJitpitak/Shutterstock

Have you heard the analogy about trying to fit water, sand, pebbles and rocks into a container? If you start with the water and the sand, then add the pebbles, by the time you get to the rocks there is no room left for them no matter how hard you try to cram them in. But if you reverse the order and put the rocks in first, you get different results. After the rocks are safely in the container you can add the pebbles and they will settle in and around the rocks, filling in the gaps. The same happens to the sand, it will find a home amongst the pebbles and rocks as it is able to slip in between the larger objects. And finally, the water has the ability to flow everywhere, into the smallest spaces, even between the grains of sand. By reversing the order you can suddenly, and almost magically, get everything to fit.

Your life is the container. You have finite time and resources available each day to accomplish the things you want to do. I found that once I became a mom I shifted my focus to the smaller things in life, the water and the sand. I spent all day changing diapers, picking up toys and other things of that nature. I was just surviving. At the end of the day I would be exhausted but I never felt like I was really accomplishing much. It’s because I was filling my life in the wrong order.

I needed to look at my life and decide what my rocks and pebbles were. We all need to look at what the big things are that are important to us that we simply cannot ignore any longer. Maybe you stopped having date night with your partner because it seemed too difficult to find a way to make it work. Maybe you stopped volunteering because you felt you didn’t have the time to be away from the house and the baby. Maybe you let your membership and the gym lapse. Maybe you stopped dreaming about going back to school and finishing your degree because it felt too overwhelming. We all need to figure out what our rocks and pebbles are so we can put them in first and build the rest of life around them.

I’m not saying that changing diapers and cleaning the house aren’t important. They are. They absolutely need to be done but they can be done in tandem with the bigger stuff, not in place of it. They will fit themselves in snugly against those larger items, the ones that make your life feel like yours. We don’t have to put our lives on hold and exist on autopilot taking care of everyone and everything around us. We can take the time to put ourselves and our needs out front and center too. It doesn’t make us selfish, it makes us happier and better for all the people in our lives.

And those big important things, the ones that we know give the real value to our lives, are the ones to which we should prioritize giving our time and attention. Play with your kids, even when they get too big to think they want to spend time with you. Make time for your partner — go to dinner or for a walk or watch a movie. Take care of your body by exercising or meditating or cooking a healthy meal. Give care and attention to your rocks and allow them to fill your life first. The dishes can wait a minute. Facebook will be there in a quiet moment tomorrow. Today is the last day your kids will be this small. They will be older tomorrow. Cherish them, and the other people you love, today. Please remember to put the rocks in first, before your life gets so full of the little things and you’re unable to fit them in at all.

 

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About this Blog

Searching for Balance

A working mom's perspective on life with kids 


About This Blog

Maureen Churchill works full-time outside the home and is a mom to one wonderful little boy. Check in with her to see how she is searching for ways to balance her work and home responsibilities, as well as what she is doing to consciously slow down and pay more attention to the little moments that actually turn out to be the things that make parenthood magical.

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July 2019

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a tabletop display...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
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1720 Guess Road, Ste 90
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Durham, NC  27701
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

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Barnes & Noble Cary
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
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1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
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Herbert C. Young Community Center
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1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
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Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Locopops Dessert Cafe
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1400 Aviation Pkwy.
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View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Barnes & Noble Cary
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Kendra Scott- North Hills
4321 Lassiter at North Hills Ave
STE F100
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Contact Name: Sarah-Butler McKinney
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Cost: Free

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Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
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514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Durham Bulls Athletic Park
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Telephone: 919-460-3355
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319 S. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: $5

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Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Marti Kane
Website »

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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


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Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

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Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free: registration required

Where:
Kramden Institute
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Shop over 40 local makers selling handmade products.Enjoy food trucks, live music, wine, beer and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
The Wine Feed
307 S Roxboro St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Raleigh Night Market

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Ages 15 and older with special needs socialize with peers, play games, be creative and plan activities based on input from the group. Participants must be able to perform self-care routines...

Cost: Free

Where:
Alston-Massenburg Center
416 N. Taylor St.
Wake Forest , NC  27587
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Website »

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When Judah Ben-Hur survives an almost certain death sentence for a crime he did not commit, he begins a quest for vengeance. Angry at God and man alike, he embarks on a journey toward relief and...

Cost: $5-$20

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
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Telephone: (919) 977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

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Performances: Thursday July 25th at 7:30pm Friday July 26th at 7:30pm Saturday July 27th at 7:30pm Sunday July 28th matinee at 2:00pm $15.00 Advanced Adult General Admission $12.00 Advanced Student...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
Cedar Ridge High School
1125 New Grady Brown School Rd.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange Community Players
Telephone: 919-619-5856
Contact Name: Orange Community Players
Website »

More information

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Show Less...

Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online. Choose course #124967.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Meet celebrity and creative Guests from comics, movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, anime, video games and other genres. Enjoy costume contests, photo opportunities, video game tournaments and...

Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Edison Johnson Community Center
500 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC
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Cost: $25

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Sponsor: Kidzu Children's Museum

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Cost: $8-$15

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: Carolina Youth Theatre
Telephone: 919-553-1737
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Cost: $3/person

Where:
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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More information

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Where:
Cedar Ridge High School
1125 New Grady Brown School Rd.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange Community Players
Telephone: 919-619-5856
Contact Name: Orange Community Players
Website »

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Cost: $5-$20

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
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Telephone: (919) 977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
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Cost: $5 for ages 13 and older. Free for ages 12 and younger.

Where:
Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: $5 adults, free for ages 12 and younger.

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Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: $28/resident, $36/nonresident

Where:
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101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: Free

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Golden Belt Campus
800 Taylor St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Ages 11-15 use markers to learn the basic stroke sequences that comprise modern calligraphic lettering. Register online. Choose course #124716.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $8-$15

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: Carolina Youth Theatre
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

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Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
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Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

When Judah Ben-Hur survives an almost certain death sentence for a crime he did not commit, he begins a quest for vengeance. Angry at God and man alike, he embarks on a journey toward relief and...

Cost: $5-$20

Where:
Spiritual Twist Productions
1250 Aversboro Road
Garner, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: (919) 977-1976
Contact Name: Kathy MacDonald
Website »

More information

Performances: Thursday July 25th at 7:30pm Friday July 26th at 7:30pm Saturday July 27th at 7:30pm Sunday July 28th matinee at 2:00pm $15.00 Advanced Adult General Admission $12.00 Advanced Student...

Cost: $8-$18

Where:
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1125 New Grady Brown School Rd.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange Community Players
Telephone: 919-619-5856
Contact Name: Orange Community Players
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
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Cost: $10 ($9 Members): No Fee for Accompanying Adult

Where:
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Directories

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.