HOW I FOUND BALANCE AS A WORKING MOM
When it comes to being a mom, let’s just start by saying that you are enough. Personally, I have now finally accepted that I am a normal mom. On the days that I feel I’m failing, those moments that I’m overwhelmed, or the gut wrenching feeling of being judged by extended family, I have learned to tell myself that a bad day is not a bad life. I have finally realized that success is measured differently for each individual family. The success in your own family depends on your own values and your own standards. I have finally accepted that I am enough.
I am not claiming to be some kind of expert, because of course my husband and I have a lot to learn about balancing family life and two stressful careers. I also know that what works for us today may not work for us in the future. But these are the things that work for us in our little world.
You can’t do it all
It took me a long time to realize what this phrase really means. I personally have heard this advice many times, but it didn’t resonate with me until one day I was totally overwhelmed at work. My workload had doubled over night and I immediately felt like I was drowning. One of my co-workers said to me in a pep talk, “You are not in a place that you are going to naturally finish all of your work. It’s time to get a routine. ”
When she said those words to me it was like a lightbulb went off in all parts of my life. I realize now that I need to set aside time for everything in my life and finish what I can before moving onto the next task. I need to accept that I won’t always finish everything on the list every day.
So, I set to building a daily routine. (Not my first attempt, by the way) But the secret this time was not to expect myself to end the day with a spotless home. Instead of demanding perfection from myself, I set aside manageable chunks of time for each area of my life that needs focus every day. I’m talking like 15 minutes in the morning to clean. Once that 15 minutes is up, what’s done is done and I move on.
This has seriously changed my life. Prior to this approach, I felt overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities and I would try to complete one thing to perfection. I ultimately ended every day disappointed in myself. Now that I have been able to establish both a balanced perspective as well as a routine that covers all of my daily responsibilities, I go to bed feeling accomplished and proud.
Get a life! Or at least a hobby.
Seriously, in the past few years of parenthood I let go of a lot of the things that made me smile. Before I knew it, my extroverted personality was lonely and miserable because I had walked away from all my energy outlets.
When I finally realized it was time to get back on the horse, I had no idea what to do. That is one of the ways this blog came about. Working on something that is just for me and has nothing to do with my kids or my employment has been great for me. Not that I don’t want this blog to be a success, but the feeling of having no ambition and no expectations has been energizing. It has also led me down a path of amazing literature and perspectives that I didn’t know existed.
Splurge on Convenience
When we first started as parents I tried my hardest to cut corners and pinch pennies. As a result, I was putting more work on myself because convenience does not come with penny pinching. With balance, it is okay to spend money on things that make your life easier. If it helps you save time or stress, then just go for it!
Lately, I have been a die hard fan of Market District Curbside Express for groceries. Grocery pick up in my area costs five bucks! And you will definitely find pre-packages applesauce and cottage cheese for packed lunches in my pantry. I spend another five dollars per week on the prepackaged food. Of course it all adds up, but I save at least an hour per week on groceries and cut my lunch making time by about 5 minutes a day. Totally worth the premium.
The most amazing week of my life.
Okay, the above statement is a gross exaggeration. But I recently stumbled upon working mom bliss that I highly recommend. I took one week off work BY MYSELF. The kids went to school and my lovable husband went to work.
IT WAS AMAZING!
I love my family and hate that I have to sacrifice so much time away from them as a working mom. But I needed a break from the daily grind! I put no expectations on myself, I didn’t tell myself I was going to achieve anything. For five days, I had about eight hours to do nothing. I took long baths, watched the Kardashians (guilty pleasure, I know!), and I indulged in about every lazy past time that I greatly miss as a mom.
I know that because of finances and vacation budgets, not everyone can do this, but even if you can take 1 day where you send the family out of the house, trust me it makes a difference!
It’s okay to do things for yourself.
In my routine, I budget time for self care. I’m not just talking about making sure you get a daily shower (although that in itself is sometimes a small success!) For me, self care is the daily things that I can look forward to. The relaxation I get from reading my news and journaling is enough to get me through my day. What ever it is that helps you to pause and appreciate your day, make sure you do it every day.