Is there such thing as life-work balance when you are a mom? Lots of people have been asking this question.
This being said, there are some tangible things we can do to be more organized with our limited mommy-time every day.
First of all, I’m going to assume you are taking care of yourself. Because it goes without saying that if you don’t get enough sleep, exercise most days, and eat fresh foods there is no way to find balance in your body, much less your whole life!
After that, I’ll tell you two things that have been monumental in helping keep my family schedule organized so I can be more productive than the average bear.
shared mobile calendar
The first is a shared mobile calendar. We Driskills use google calendar, but any online calendar will allow you to see what your partner or childcare provider is doing and vice-versa. This in turn will give you a chance to plan without having to discuss or argue about priorities at every turn.
School gets out early next Friday. No problem. It’s on the calendar. Both parents are aware.
You are both working late Monday night. The last one to book work, books the sitter.
You want to go out with the ladies. Check the calendar to see if there’s a night you wouldn’t have to hire a sitter at all because another adult will be home.
There is a bit of a learning curve as you all get used to relying on an app instead of your day planner or wall calendar to tell you when to go to the dentist. But the payoff in increased communication, and the practice of actually planning ahead, will seriously change your life and possibly save your marriage.
Can I get an Amen?!
hire some help
The second thing I recommend is hiring household help. I don’t mean a butler or a catering service to cook your meals. (However, if you can afford it and hate to cook, then I do mean exactly that!) I mean taking an honest look at some things you really prefer not to do and figuring out who could do them for you.
There are small jobs in every home that can be outsourced—maybe to your own children as chores (bingo!) Or consider help that is already in place. How happy was I when I discovered the dry cleaner down the street will iron a man’s shirt for $2? I thought for sure I was going to win the noble prize for marital harmony! Now, instead of spending over an hour ironing (and not very well), I spend $10 and pick those puppies up later. $10 is worth 85 minutes to me.
If money is tight, get creative about how to outsource. There are young students in every town who want to earn money. Find those and let go of the guilt because you may be saving money by doing it yourself, but you are still spending–spending your free time. You may also be building up some resentment. (Not that I know anything about that!)
There is no cookie-cutter model for achieving a work-family-self balance in your life. Finding balance is like parenting itself. Everyone feels like they could be better at both things. But the reality is, the majority of us are doing a pretty darn good job.