This is our 22nd guest post in the Birth & Parenting Series! The other 21 guest writers’ stories may be found here. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime if you’d like to share your story of your child’s arrival, or a parenting perspective.
My girlfriend is one of those beautiful mothers who always comes with something baked, something dreamed up, something divinely inspired, on time, or even early, to every event you invite her to. Her son is just one, adorable, hip as hip can be, and all smiles all the time. Her husband is like my other little brother and I feel so blessed by their whole family.
She writes frequently for I Believe in Love, and I love seeing her insights there as well.
When I asked her how she balances her part-time work with full-time mothering, wife-ing, hostessing, volunteering, etc, she just smiled. So I pressed her–no REALLY? The answer? A little blog post for you:
Work/life balance – it’s a struggle for me to achieve it. I’m really good at saying yes, and really bad at saying no, most especially when everything is something that I want to do!
However, this spring, I was overwhelmed – overwhelmed with being a stay-at-home-mom (mostly), working a couple of part-time jobs (to help financially), moving into temporary housing, buying a home, painting said home, moving again, and saying yes to too many commitments. Something had to go. So, after much discussion with my husband, prayer and figuring out all options in my head, I realized that one of my jobs just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Off to the cutting room floor – I quit.
Immediately, I felt more balance come into our family life. There was less to think about in my brain. Less time in the car. Less pre-occupation when my number one and two priorities are calling my name. Those few weeks of imbalance, deliberation, and decision was another lesson in work/life balance.
Thankfully, my other lessons in balance haven’t been as hard, but lessons, nonetheless.
- Trusted daycare – Two different friends watch my son once a week each. I couldn’t get done what I do each week for one particular job without them. They are both joyful, caring, and patient women. It’s funny how many similarities they have without really knowing one another! J One of my favorite aspects of each home is that my son is able to be with other little friends (their own sons) in loving, exploratory, fun and peaceful environments. I know that he is learning how to be a good friend and a happy playmate.
- Meal planning – Yes. I am the typical Type A planner, and I would probably meal plan regardless of working. HOWEVER, I know that it makes our week go by so much smoother when I take the time to plan out several dinners for us during the week and go on one big shopping excursion. This minimizes the hangry (hungry + angry) moments and puts ease on my brain when I know what I’m making for dinner later in the day.
- Quality time – On the days that I work outside of the home, I make a specific effort to get in several points of clear, quality time with my son. Sometimes this is hard for me to consciously put my phone down, don’t put in the extra pile of laundry on the floor, don’t start making dinner yet, or quick clean up his toys before my husband comes home. However, these times of the walk around the neighborhood, a few extra books at bedtime, or playing a silly game that makes him laugh helps me to re-connect with my son after those hours away. He might not notice – but I do. It’s my way of showing my love for him.
This is my running list – something that I know I will always be changing and tweaking. Balance, for me, is a constant work in progress. I’m often on the edge of falling overboard, but these lessons (and others) help me to stay focused for my family.