Finding balance seems to be one of the hottest topics amongst busy moms everywhere. We read about it, watch TV shows discussing it and pose the question to other moms — how do you find balance? When do you say yes or no to the many demands life serves up? I like to refer to a favorite quote when I’m feeling overwhelmed, “She designs the life she loves.” The reality is, finding balance is never simple or easy, but getting better at prioritizing can help us get a lot closer.
There’s no perfect balance and no right answer for everyone. Family often takes precedence over everything else, but there are times your job or your friends may need some extra investment and energy. If we don’t conscientiously know where we stand with our priorities and take control of how we budget our time, its easy to run out of steam. Here are a few things to think about as you try to plan your time:
Find Time To Recharge. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day or a few times a week, you need time to feel centered and at peace. This could include meditation, exercise, a bath, a night out with friends, or roaming the aisles of Target by yourself. So lose the guilt and make yourself a priority.
Create Dedicated Family Time. Multi-tasking family time, errands, and work all at once can make you feel frazzeled. As tempting as it is to be wired and available all the time, everyone (including you) pays the price for doing too many things at once. Kids can sense when you’re not totally present, so make sure that you have dedicated family time set aside where everyone (including your partner) knows that they are the center of attention.
Learn When to Say Yes And When To Say No. The PTO needs volunteers for the book fair, your daughter’s Girl Scout troop is selling cookies, your son wants to be in three sports that require you to drive him to practice five nights a week. You need to decide who gets your time, and how to say no confidently with no excuses. If you don’t have the time, give a donation in your place or delegate – ask a neighbor or friend to take your daughter to a dance or hire a mother’s helper to run errands.
Good Enough Is Good Enough. Give up being perfectionistic; learn to let things go a little. Try to be more organized to keep your home running smoothly, but don’t spend twenty minutes searching for a stray puzzle piece or making beds every morning. Meals don’t have to be perfect either – strive for easy, balanced meals. Try healthy delivery options to free up time a few nights a week. We’ve all seen photos of beautifully packed school lunches. Don’t sweat it. Just tuck a lunch note in your child’s lunch bag letting him know you love him.
It Takes A Village. Even if your village is a small one, a village is what it takes to get through life as a parent. If you have people in your life that are willing to help, take advantage of it! This could include grandparents, extended family, a good babysitter, a neighbor, or a network of friends. Plus, it’s good for your kids to build relationships and feel secure with adults other than yourself.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
I’m just not that coordinated – I’ve spent way too much time taking tennis lessons, trying to ski, and striking out on the softball field. Hand-eye coordination is just not my thing! So I stick to jogging and swimming, and I’m finally okay with it.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I appreciate that I have people in my life – my family and my close friends – that have seen me at my highs and lows and love me unconditionally.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
I’m a passionate animal welfare advocate, and getting involved with the San Francisco SPCA a few years ago has been incredibly rewarding. I try not to have too many goals that I have to live by – but a few that I’d like to check off my list are to live on a farm (one day, when I retire) and learn to play guitar.
What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
I’m a terrible cook – people find my knife and prep skills absolutely laughable. I laugh a bit like a hyena – which isn’t graceful at all, but at least it makes everyone else laugh
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my free time – as it gets more and more rare, I appreciate every second of it.