Let’s talk about finding work-life balance as a mom, today. Isn’t it true that we are all trying to be little ‘over-achievers’ most of the time? We are always trying to do ‘just a little’ more. As moms, we feel we must. Most of us don’t stop to think that stress results from a poor work-life balance.
Our kids need us.
Our spouse needs us.
Our home should be spotless clean.
The food hot… the floors clean and then we want time for ourselves.
Yes, I know. That is really stupid. I can’t be everywhere. I shouldn’t be. It will kill me. It already is.
I know I want balance in my life. In the past two months, I have tried one idea after another every week. I was hoping to find some way in which I would make everything fall into place. All I want is to squeeze in everything that I want into my day.
May be I should get up earlier than my kids, I thought. I was already getting up at 5am… I tried to get up at 4am. It didn’t work. I fell asleep at 6am, right after my son went to school and I slept till as long as my toddlers were sleeping. I had to drink more caffeine and I was more stressed than usual.
My husband suggested that I should sleep when the kids slept so that I could get up earlier. So I went to bed at 8pm. Only… I couldn’t fall asleep till midnight and it was still the same. He suggested I give up my lone cup of tea for the day so that I could sleep early. I fell asleep at 8pm alright but, with the caffeine withdrawal symptoms I was so tired that the next day, I slept till the kids woke up and then I was too tired to do anything the whole day.
My husband suggested that all the screen time was giving me anxiety so I should just turn off the wifi through the day and turn it on only when the kids were asleep. That meant no internet between 8am and 8pm. It didn’t work because then the toddlers got up at 5am and they napped at wrong hours and didn’t go to bed till 9pm. I was too tired from the running all day that I couldn’t work at nap times. I got no work done that week.
My sister suggested that I should assign days for everything. I thought it was a fantastic idea because I already had days for chores at home and assigning days for my blogging would be perfect, I thought. Did it work? Yes. A little bit. It was working… but then I was so happy that I had been ticking things off my chart that I started to fill it up again.
You see the reason why our work-life balance gets off balance is because we fill ourselves with too many things. The minute (sometimes even before) we have ticked things off our list we start adding more to it. The minute we find a little time, we want to go ahead and squeeze in some time for a new hobby or we do stupid things like say ‘yes’ and commit to something bigger.
The lesson that I learnt this past month is that time is a finite thing. (I know, ‘DUH!’) We often don’t realise this but we only have 24 hours in a day. Oh Gosh, we can’t extend that!! We can only do a certain amount of things in a day. Mom or not, we just cannot do everything. There are things in our life that we have to and there are things that we can choose to. The things that we have to are the things that life is about and those that we have to balance out are those that we can choose to do or not. Am I making sense?
I have been so tired the past month that on numerous occasions I thought I just wanted to give up everything and go away. I even told my husband if it wasn’t possible for us to go away somewhere. He said, I needed sleep.
No, I need some time out, I said. Some time to disconnect from everything and then get back into the groove slowly. ‘Are you sure you aren’t filling too much into your day’, he asked. He knows me well!!
He was right that I needed to remove things from my life. I had to set my priorities again. With all that I had learnt from the mistakes the past weeks and all the things that I did do right, I think I have finally found my balance. Here is what I did that is working.
1. Make a no-fail to do list. A list that lists only three things that I must do in a day. Among those three things, I am making sure none of them are the same category. For example, I pick only one blogging task, only one chore that must be done and one hobby.
2. Learn to say ‘no’ to yourself too. I am attention deficit and I forget easily. I found that I had been filling my calendar up blindly. I made a rule that I would never hit reply to an email or message as soon as I saw it. I will give myself till that evening or the next day to reply. This really helped me from filling my plate too fast. I also told myself that if I found a new craft or hobby to try, I cannot start another project unless I finish atleast one of them. Finish one, add then, I have decided. I could write down what I wanted to do and I could save it on my phone to try later. (I have atleast a 100 new screen captures on my phone since then!)
3. Plan, plan and then write it down. I love having schedules and plans for my kids and home. I have been making some schedules for myself too. We already had menu plans and chore plans but I needed something that was visual for my blog and social media. I decided I had to assign days for when I will do what.
4. What can I cut off my list: Instead of adding things, I am now looking for things I can take off my list. I found that blogging more than 3 times a week was becoming stressful so I have cut it down to 1-2 post a week. I found that I can use the weekends (my off days) to write and schedule. It works! I am less stressed.
5. Get some sleep: I don’t know if it is because this plan is working or why but I am really so sleepy on the weekends. The past two weeks, my kids and hubby have left me alone too. When your world looks sad… sleep!
These are my goals for this month. I hope to continue and work on these points and hopefully, if I persevere, I may get it right this month.
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Have you found your work-life balance as a mom?