It’s safe to say that mom life is never boring. Millions of moms around the world battle the everyday struggle of simply finding time to “do it all”—myself included. However, even on those darkest days when you just want to give up and binge on Netflix, there’s a way to balance being a mom and finding time for yourself.
There’s no secret “key” to being able to balance everything. If there were, we’d have all unlocked that door by now, right? When it comes to finding a work-life balance, it takes patience and understanding of your true goals. This can be increasingly more difficult if you work from home as well. Trust me! When you’ve got little ones in the home during the workday, it can add a few extra stresses and hurdles, too. I’m happy to share all the tidbits of knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years. What works for me may not work for all. But I can say that if you’re stressed now, any steps forward on a different path can help.
1. Make a real schedule.
I know, I know. Schedules can be tedious and draining… I get it. But, this is where you need to think differently. Make a schedule that fits your lifestyle. If you know that you’re going to get sidetracked during the day, create your daily schedule to accommodate that. It’s the only way I can manage a home, three kids and running my blog.
Planning on eating lunch at noon? Write that into your schedule. But instead of giving yourself 30 minutes to sit down and eat, pencil in an hour—just in case. If you allow yourself a bit of wiggle room in your schedule, you automatically don’t feel as stressed. And when you don’t feel as stressed, things just tend to go a bit more smoothly. Be sure to pencil in some time for things YOU enjoy throughout the day—whether that means taking a 30 minute break to watch your favorite show or making a quick call to your friend while you clean the kitchen. And when your schedule of tasks is over for the day, stop there. Don’t you dare try to clean another thing. Let yourself rest.
2. Use your phone for something other than scrolling through Facebook.
More than likely, your cell phone probably isn’t very far from you at all at this very moment. Most people know where it is at all times and are constantly grabbing it, reading mom blogs with it, playing on it or just scrolling and wasting time.
And while I won’t ask you how much time per day you spend on in Internet searching and scrolling, I will ask you to change your mindset about your phone. Instead of looking at your phone as an escape, look at your phone as a tool to help you overcome and stay on track. Phones are helpful in so many ways that we often tend to forget their true function. Your phone can help you balance everything. It’s crazy simple.
For example, if you know that you need to do at least three loads of laundry every single day, but somehow it never happens, your phone is there to help. Set an alarm to put a load of laundry in at 8 a.m. and another alarm at 9 a.m. to move it to the dryer. Boom! Just like that, you got a friendly reminder from your phone and you’re on track (now folding… that can be a whole other alarm on its own!). Keep setting those alarms throughout the day and soon enough, you’ll start to notice that your mind will create a routine that you don’t even have to think about. Plus, knowing you got your tasks done during the day means more peace at night when you have time for some TLC. No one wants thoughts about their dirty dishes during a bubble bath.
3. Outsource, outsource, outsource.
As a mom, you’re always busy! You have a million little and big things to do. The best tip I can give you is to outsource the things that you don’t enjoy doing. For me, that was grocery shopping. Loading three small kids into the minivan to find the best deals at Aldi was a marathon to say the least. I would come home utterly exhausted. Since I found InstaCart, a grocery shopping app, I haven’t been in a grocery store in months. It is well worth the small additional fee to save my sanity and time. Remember, balancing it all doesn’t mean doing it all. Getting rid of some tasks means more time and energy to take care of yourself.
4. Define your physical and mental limits, then stick to them.
I’m a firm believer that when you’re mentally healthy, it has a direct positive effect on your work-life balance. The longer that you run around and wear yourself out without giving yourself time to rest, the more crazy and chaotic your home life will be. That chaos leaves you with less time to take care of yourself. The moment that you understand your mental and physical limits as a mom, you’ll find a much more effective manner to do everything.
I understand that giving yourself time every day to relax may not be possible if you have a little tribe of children keeping you busy. But ask for help so you can collect yourself and be a strong mom again.
5. Make your happiness a priority.
When it comes to finding balance, you need to always remember to factor in your happiness and personal growth as well. Our minds are a beautiful thing and so it’s important to take care of them. No matter when you choose to do so, do something for yourself daily, even if you start with only five minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized you feel. More than likely, your work-life balance will start to show improvements as well!
—Suzi Whitford for Fairy Godboss