Living a Balanced Life as a Mom
It's not easy being a mom in this day in age. There is a lot of pressure for us to juggle it all...and if you're like me, then you do want it all! You want to be the all-star mom, perfect wife with a tidy house, provide healthy meals for your family, have an amazing career, spend time with wonderful friends, etc. Truly, the list for me goes on and on. But wait...you can't be PERFECT at it all! This is an idea I had to come to grips with, and still struggle with on a daily basis.
Being a fulltime-working Mommy can sometimes lead to stress and feeling guilty. You may be feeling you are not perfect at any "job" you’re doing. The list below is some ideas that have helped me have a more balanced life. I’m sure you’re aware of these ideas, but sometimes we just need a little reminder! ;)
- Stop feeling guilty.
There were times I felt so guilty that I wasn't with our daughter, Teagan, when I was at work. Then, there were times I was with our sick daughter and felt guilty for not being with my team during a project deadline. The feeling of guilt always surrounded me! You must learn to put this guilt aside and live in the moment of what you're doing. Forgive yourself. You're doing the best you can.
*Tip: Work with your family and employer to establish boundaries for what is acceptable correspondence during family and non-family time.
- Send your child to a trustworthy quality childcare.
One of the items that helped me stop feeling guilty for not spending all day with Teagan was finding the perfect childcare setting for her. I enjoy knowing Teagan is receiving great care, learning and experiencing life with other children.
*Tip: We used online sources like sittercity.com, researched childcare websites and referenced friends’ experiences with different facilities to find the right fit for our family. We also noticed we had to change childcares based on our daughter’s current development stage.
- Communicate your needs with your employer.
I think you will be surprised at how flexible employers are these days. A lot of managers are from a home with two working parents, and understand the challenges that we face. At one company I worked for, I was able to come in an hour early, take a 30-min lunch and leave an hour earlier to beat rush hour traffic. My employer even let me work Fridays at home. I wasn't able to work with our daughter in the house, but at least I was just 15-min from her school and didn't have to get dressed for the day!
*Tip: When discussing a proposed scheduled with your employer be prepared to explain the benefits of your ideal work schedule. Such as, you will be more focused and productive if you come in earlier than the rest of the staff.
- Family Day.
I'm sure you noticed we created a "Family Day". We pick 1 Friday out of the month and close the office to spend time with our family. Our daughter gets a kick out of this idea. She knows it's a special bonding time for us.
*Tip: Mark this date on a calendar. It should be a consistent event your kids and you get to look forward to!
- Spend one-on-one time with your partner.
This idea has always been important to Dr. B and me. We realize that we need a break from everyday stressors of our professional lives and being parents. We breakaway at least twice a month to remember why we love each other. Remember, if there's no "us" there's no family.
*Tip: You don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy each other’s company. Some of our best nights are movie nights at the house.
- Me time.
This one is so important! For me, “me time” is working out. I really enjoy exercising. It has so many benefits.
*Tip: Find what makes you happy whether it is a simple bubble bath, reading a book, shopping…identify this activity and make time for it each week.
- Quality time with your children.
Even if it’s an hour you have to spare with your kids, make it quality time with them. Don’t multitask and check email, surf the web, text or talk on the phone. Dedicate your attention to them. If you have chores that need to get done, get your children involved in helping you. Teagan loves to help with the laundry and cook in the kitchen. She is a little worker bee!
*Tip: Create a family hobby that is fun for everyone. Our family hobby is working in our garden.
- Be organized.
We have a personal, family and business calendar that merges into one calendar to get a quick glimpse of everyone's daily activities and commitments. We even plan weekly menus. This helps me have healthy meals prepped and the ingredients on hand. I am able to plan one meal and take the leftover ingredients to make another meal.
*Tip: Make enough food to serve 3 dinners. You can have this dinner twice in the week and freeze the other one for when you need a quick meal one day.
- Automatic bill pay.
Would you believe how much time you save by setting-up automatic bill pay?!?! I used to spend hours paying bills, not to mention the effort and cost in mailing payments. My life is so much simpler with the use of automatic bill pay.
*Tip: I only do this with fixed bills.
- Schedule family dinners.
If your family is like ours, you may have problems squeezing all your loved ones into your life. We started planning big family dinners either at our house or at a restaurant. This allows us to reconnect with loved ones.
*Tip: Do not stress about trying to coordinate with everyone’s calendars. Select a date for the get together and if people can make it great! If not, no worries there is always a next gathering around the corner.
- Make your mom connect on social media.
I still haven’t convinced my mom she needs a Facebook account. By having a social media account, family members can stay updated on your family’s life, such as seeing those cutie pie pictures of the kids. You won’t have to take time to print the pictures for them…they can view them online!
*Tip: Placing your family’s life online can be scary. When setting up an account make sure you go to the privacy section of your account to adjust settings as needed.
- Budget for support.
If you have a very busy schedule, setting a budget to help with necessary chores will streamline your life and allow you to dedicate your precious time to other areas in your life.
*Tip: Reach out to family or fiends to see if they would like to pick-up a few side jobs that will help both of you.
If this seems a little overwhelming, try adding just a few to your list. You will quickly see how much more balanced your life can be!
We would love to hear your ideas on keeping a balanced life! Use the comment form below to share your experiences.