Small things for balanceSubscribe
I know work/life balance isn't really possible - for me, it's about finding little moments of balance. I thought it would be great to share our tips for how to achieve them in this group. I'll go first:
-Once a week I take a night off from working and my husband and I watch a movie and either cook or order out. I work pretty much all night usually, until midnight, but one night, I stop as soon as we put our daughter to sleep.
-I take one afternoon per week to spend with my daughter and try to do something fun together. It's never fancy - today we went to get her some new clothes for school, but on the way took some photos in one of those photo booths, found her a Halloween costume, and she got to ride one of those little rides they have at the mall.
What about you? What are some things you do to find a tiny bit of balance in your crazy life?
I've just adjusted my work schedule slightly so I can drop my kids off at school 2 days a week. I know I can make up the 2 hours throughout the week, and that little bit of time makes a huge difference -- regular contact with teachers, getting to know other parents, seeing my kids interact with friends/teachers, and just spending time with my kids.
I know I have a pretty good situation....my husband definitely helps A LOT to lighten the load, I have a flexible job and can work from home 1 day a week, and my mother takes care of my son 2 days a week. Still it's tough sometimes...most of my friends who live nearby stay at home with their kids and don't seem to understand why I work or why I can't have a play date on the one day a week I work from home. In my town I think working mothers are a rare breed.
So my biggest challenge is guilt....guilty for not working the hours I used to before my son and guilty for not being home!!
My biggest lifesavers are hiring someone to clean every other week (couldn't live without her) and Dream Dinners - one of those places where you put together meals and then freeze them.
I try to find bits of balance in different ways...
As a mom: Having one of the older kids help me cook dinner, even though help should definitely be in quotes there. Making a conscious effort to do things one-on-one, even when the busy part of my brain wants to be "efficent" and combine activities. Sending e-mails to them during the work day to remind them that I'm thinking of them, and to remind myself that there's more to my life than my work.
As a wife: Taking time away from the computer (and away from the never-ending household chores) to watch a movie and drink wine on the couch with my husband.
As a career-oriented woman: Coming here, definitely! But also taking the time to update my story archive blog, and giving myself permission to not feel guilty about having to work late when I need to. It sounds kind of new-agey, but sometimes I need to tell myself that it's OK to let my husband put the kids to bed, that it's OK to get my work done. JennS, I totally agree -- the guilt is one of my biggest challenges, too.
As myself: A tall glass of whatever strikes my fancy, a very hot bath, a good book, and the understanding that no one is to disturb me while I'm soaking in the bathroom unless they're bleeding. I haven't been interrupted yet!
The easiest way for me to feel balanced quickly is to watch my show. My husband knows that on Thursdays our daughter needs to be tucked in before Grey's starts and that any noises from down the hall are to be handled by him. There is no talking to me during my show because that's my one hour a week of just me time. I find myself looking forward to it on particularly stressful weeks and it makes Friday seem more bearable.
When life has been chaotic I also like to lock myself in my room with my scrapbooking supplies. I'm not the most creative person in the world and I know my books will never look like Martha Stewart did them but it's really easy for me to just lose myself in the cutting and arranging and sometimes I let my daughter "help" by making pictures with the scraps and glue.
hadsmom - you just inspired me to do something creative tonight. I am not a scrapbooker, but I love making stuff - and after reading your post above realized that I've not done anything creative in a long, long time. It's such a great way to decompress and to turn off all the work/chores stuff.
I completely agree with Jenn: "So my biggest challenge is guilt....guilty for not working the hours I used to before my son and guilty for not being home!! "
I don't think I'm doing a good job of balancing anything right now. Its all falling down!! I have a 7mos and a 3 yr old at home with I do not spend enough time. I keep getting sick. I cannot seem to do good enough work at work anymore. And the idea of spending time with my husband seems more like a chore to me right now.
The one thing i have added to my scchedule is spending time in the evenings with my children at the daycare, getting to know their friends, their teachers and playing with "new" toys the have.
Shama-Mama - I do the same at my daughter's daycare, except I do it in the morning. I actually schedule that time in, making sure I have no meetings, calls, etc. It's really helped me get to know her friends, teachers - I feel more connected. (And I think it's helped a bit with the guilt thing...)