If you are having trouble finding balance and are always busy, you aren’t alone mama. I started this blog while trying to find a sense of balance within my career, family, and self-care. Four years later, I have learned that balance is a journey that we are all on. I did not realize that so many women were struggling with the same thing. A common thread in mommy groups and talks on Clubhouse is how to maintain balance and not lose yourself in motherhood. It is easier said than done. Motherhood is challenging and a time of constant change. I was intentional about not including “easy” in the title of this blog post. No matter what, following this advice or not, motherhood is hard.
Let Go of the Mom Guilt
We have got to stop setting unrealistic expectations of ourselves. You know that grandmother of yours or friend that has a spotless house, always has a cake in the oven and volunteers in her spare time? She is on a different journey than you. Please do not beat yourself up over things that you cannot control. If you had a long day at work, order take out, skip your HOA meeting. Neither makes you less of a person.
I am a chronic committer. Prior to the pandemic, I was overbooked and always busy. I have had a lot of time to reflect on those habits and going forward I am going to prioritize and be very selective of what I say yes to.
Another important part of letting go of the mom guilt is setting boundaries. Once you can differentiate between work, family and self-time some of your stress will melt away. I find that I get the most anxiety when I am trying to juggle all of the things at once. When the quality of my work is affected because I was not giving something my undivided attention, that is where the guilt comes in.
Prioritize Your Activities
There are a few ways that you can do this and it could actually be a whole blog post on its own, but let’s start here. Use Sunday to plan the week ahead. Write down on your calendar or planner only the things that are mandatory. I highly recommend that you utilize Google Notes, Google Calendar as well as a personal paper planner. However, for the task at hand, you define mandatory. It does not need to mirror anybody else’s. For me, it would be work/meetings, campaign deadlines, my blog schedule, medical appointments, bills, Cassidy’s gymnastics class, etc.
Next, take a look at your dinner plans and make realistic choices that fit your schedule. We order Home Chef, so we choose a few meals that are oven ready for days where we are swamped. Monday’s and Tuesday’s have been low carb days for me the last 3 weeks, I plan for that as well.
I encourage you to not commit to anything that makes you reschedule something else unless it is an emergency. Remember, you have your non-negotiables down on paper already. We touched on boundaries in the previous section, but setting boundaries is crucial when it comes to your calendar as well. Leave work at work, be present at home.
Each day, I like to end my workday by making a small to-do list of projects for the next day. Order the projects hardest to least difficult and watch your momentum gain throughout the day. Make sure that you add time in for self-care. Maybe it is 15 mins in the morning for worship and prayer, a time slot for exercise, bonding time with your spouse and kids, or watching your favorite show.
Outsource Household Tasks
If you have committed to scheduling and still seem to be always busy, consider outsourcing. Please do not feel embarrassed to hire help. You will actually be surprised at how many people do this. What I like to do is grocery pickup and/or delivery. I started skipping the grocery store when I began having seizures. Only because I couldn’t drive. However, now, I rather order my groceries ahead. It saves so much time and I rarely have a whole day off of work. I do not want to spend that time off in the grocery store. I have also been known to pay to have my yard or house picked up. It sounds ridiculous but think about it this way, opportunity cost. What are you missing out on (time, money, etc.) by doing ____ task? Answer, is this worth it. If not, spend the money. Common items that you can outsource: house cleaning, lawn maintenance, grocery shopping, and meal prep services.
Whether you are a new mom or a seasoned one, I hope you were able to get some ideas from this post on work-life balance.
Comment your tips below!