The Great Balancing Act

close-up-stones-flowers-green-wallpaper-previewBal.anc.ing act – an action or activity that requires a delicate balance between different situations or requirements.

When it comes to having time to do things, I always feel like the grass is greener.
Sometimes, I’ll see other moms and for example, I’ll think to myself: “Wow! She has three kids, two dogs, looks great, they all look clean, and she’s happy!  How does she do that??!” I’ve even been asked, “Where do you find the time to get all of that done??” Truth of the matter, there are a lot of things that I never get to. I have learned to create a balance that works, (on occasion) with me and my family. I say “on occasion” because I don’t necessarily have it down to a science, but I can say we still manage to find time to enjoy the things that make us happy and keep us ticking! I hope my suggestions will help you get it all, (mostly) done and keep you smiling at the same time!

I have been both a full-time, working mom, and a full-time stay -at -home mom and I can assure you neither is easier than the other. Both have their major challenges. Well, maybe the fact that you don’t have to watch Kipper the Dog on repeat when you go into work might make things a tad bit easier 🙂 But either way, if you let it, it’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed by the fact that you feel like you don’t have enough time. Time to spend with your children, time to clean the house, time to keep up with the laundry, time to even go get your nails done or do something nice for yourself. And of course, the time to work out.

It’s a balancing act. Some of you have perfected this technique better than others. Some of you realize that you need some help!  By the way, if anyone wants to be a live -in nanny for me – for free- please let me know! But, nonetheless it absolutely can be done. It does take some effort, of course, but there are ways that you can get back to you in such a busy chaotic “Mom world.” It comes along with the idea being kind to yourself. Giving yourself a much needed mom-break… For everyone’s sanity!

The first thing that is absolutely crucial in getting it all happily done is planning ahead. I actually stay up late at night, when it’s actually quiet, and plan out my whole week; sometimes even a whole month. I completely understand things come up at the last minute and I think that’s where flexability comes in.

 Don’t forget about you! If I’m going to be completely honest with you, it’s those times that I’m able to do small things for myself that I feel most energetic, most happy, and most content. So why not work those things into your schedule? Don’t you deserve a minute or two? But you also have to know your limits. Sometimes you have to say no to things. Which is something I’ve still been working on! I’m one of those types of people that says “Yes, I’ll be there!   Sure, I’ll come!” And then think to myself, “Oh wait, I have three things going on that day. And I still don’t have a babysitter!”

Life has never been more complex than it is now for my family. Ever since we came home from the NICU, we have been busy nonstop. Ashlynn is in physical therapy 4 to 5 days a week, Cristiano is not yet in school. And, sometimes I like to work still! Talk about planning ahead. That list doesn’t even include extracurricular activities, volunteer time, spending time with friends or family, or even a few minutes for alone time to do something I enjoy. (Yes, you’re allowed to do that!)

As mothers, it’s very important that we take care of ourselves both mentally and physically. I can speak from experience when I say there are days when I put myself absolutely last so my kids look adorable, clean, and cute.  I’ll have on a sweatshirt and jeans that I’ve probably been wearing for two days straight. But I can’t stress to you how important I feel it is to get dressed up and show up. Now I don’t mean full face of make up and lashes … clean clothes will do just fine! 😂 As frequently as possible, I wake up before the kids do to wash my face, brush my teeth. put on clean clothes, and get ready for my day. It’s as much a part mental preparation as it is physical preparation. The days I feel sluggish, the days I feel like not doing anything, are the days that I don’t get up with the mind set “I’m ready to go.” Please remember you are also allowed to have lazy days!

In finding a happy balance in your life, there is no right or wrong.  Create a situation that works for you and your family. It’s always great to get advice on what works for others, but, at the end of the day it has to work for you!  What makes YOU happy? What keeps YOUR family running smoothly? I am guilty of this, but I think as moms we listen to those that offer their opinions when no one asks them. Block out that noise. Who cares if your priorities are different from the Jonses? Who cares if your kids aren’t on a tight schedule, or ate a cupcake after 7pm. You’re not a bad mom. And if you get judged for that, then shame on them. Moms that don’t support other moms have so much to learn still. It’s a reflection on them and their current state of mind. (Which can always change btw!)And if you do have your kids moving like clockwork- it’s good you found something that works! Point is – DO YOU!

When I was a first-time mom, things like that bothered me…  this second time around, I honestly could care less what time things happen. As long as I can keep my scheduling perspective, my sanity, and my husband and kids happy, I feel like I had a successful day!

Speaking of priorities. What are your priorities? Make a list of your priorities and make sure those things come first. For me, my husband and kids always come first; everything else follows. I always like to make sure that I have some time to do my writing, or volunteer work. Maybe do dinner with a friend, or work out. Why? Because they make ME happy!! I am a true believer that a happy mommy creates a happy home.

Another helpful suggestion? Pick your tribe wisely. There is absolutely no time in your busy to-do list for mama drama! I have found a group of moms that are extremely supportive of each other. momsWe all do things differently, but support each other in the things we choose to do with our lives and our families. I have one friend who is an actress and brings her daughter to her rehearsals and plays. How fun is that!? I have one friend who is a full-time working mom boss and manages her 3 kids, under the age of 3 beautifully! I have another Mom who prides herself in taking her child somewhere new every single Saturday. I love that!  Another one is a pastor of a church and has 3 kids as well! As you can see, we are all completely different. Diversity is a beautiful thing for me.  Each of them bring something completely new to my life and my perspective. I am so unbelievably thankful for them and their condition-less support.

My last piece of advice, which I feel is most important – Focus on the positive!! This idea has never been more important to me personally than it has been this year. We’ve had some pretty tough stuff thrown our way and I have to say, my husband and I have remained, for the most part, on the up. We have so much to be thankful for…And those are the things we choose to focus on.
In the beginning of our tough stuff, as silly as this sounds, I actually made a list for myself. When I found myself creeping to “the Darkside” I would pull out this list of 10 things that were positive in my life and immediately after reading that list, I felt better. It may sound silly to some of you, but I can honestly tell you it really has worked!

So maybe you’re seeing a theme here: you have to “DO YOU!” You have to find things that make YOU happy and able to function in a positive state of mind. No one should ever tell you how to “Mom.” What they should be telling you is how to find your happy so you can be the best you possible.

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