Do you ever wonder how to do it all? As a working mom, I am always trying to find that perfect balance in work and life. One of my favorite bloggers, Gabrielle Blair (aka Design Mom), offers some excellent advice by sharing thoughts that have helped her to find that work life balance.
1) Doing it all is a myth. Doing what you love is the goal.
No one is doing it all. If it looks like they are, it’s a mirage. On days where my blog is really good, that means I spent a lot of time on it and had to let something else go. Usually it’s the housework. There’s no point in doing it all, the better goal is to spend your day doing things you love.
2) It’s okay to ask for help. If you have a parenting question or if you need an extra hand, ask someone.
Ask for what you need. Don’t assume people will know. Your spouse doesn’t know what you need. Neither does your mom. Neither does your sister or your best friend. If you need help, ask for it — and be specific. There’s no shame in needing help. Everybody needs help.
3) As parents, we joke about sleep, but it will make or break your day. Make it a priority.
Everything is better when you’ve had enough sleep. I know it seems impossible, especially when you have a newborn, but do whatever you can to make it happen.
4) Multi-tasking creates poor results. Do one thing at a time and do it well.
Sometimes it can’t be helped — we’ve all made dinner and had the baby on our hip at the same time. But when possible, do one thing at a time. Play with your child, then let the child play on their own (or with a sitter) while you do your daily tasks. Put down your phone when it’s family time. Wait until your kids are asleep to start that new project. Twenty minutes of uninterrupted, concentrated work is far better than an hour of trying to do 5 things at once.
5) Manners matter. Be nice. Play nice.
If you send that snarky email, it will only create more work (and a headache) when you have to manage (and obsess over) the aftermath. Just be nice instead. If you do something rude or mean, apologize as quickly as possible.
6) Appreciate and embrace your current season of life.
If you’re pottytraining your daughter this month, it might not be the best time to schedule the family vacation to Paris — where public toilets can be few and far between. Do your best to acknowledge and appreciate the current season of your life. Your baby may not always be so snuggly. Your curious preschooler may not always assume you know the answers to every question. Embrace your current life. And when it’s hard to embrace, know the next season is coming faster than you think.
7) Comparing yourself to others is the fastest way to a bad day. Don’t do it.
This is a huge one! But sometimes, this is really hard to do. When I find myself slipping into comparison thoughts, my best way out is to do something creative — whether it’s baking or doodling or a major DIY project. If I’m engaged in something creative, my brain won’t make space for destructive thoughts.
8) Just say no. To unnecessary activities. To extra stuff.
Give yourself permission to say no. You’ll receive requests for your time at school, at work, at church, in your neighborhood, and a dozen other places. Saying no to something so that you can spend a Saturday morning making pancakes with your kids does not mean you’re lazy or unhelpful. This is your life and your time. Say no to the unnecessary.
This extends double to “things”. Every item you bring into your home will require you to store or maintain or otherwise decide what to do with it. Own less. Say no to extra stuff.
9) Prevent Internet-as-Blackhole. Schedule your online time the same way you schedule other work or entertainment.
Don’t get online unless you actually have time to BE online. If you check your email in the middle of family dinner and find an urgent task, you’ll either have to leave the family dinner to attend to it, or try to finish the family dinner while feeling panic-ed about the urgent task. You’re probably getting online for work purposes or entertainment purposes. So, schedule your online time the same way you schedule your work time and entertainment time.
10) Find an activity to call your own. Something you do to feed your soul.
It’s easy to forget yourself among your roles as employee, parent and spouse. Find a little something you can do regularly that’s just for you. Reading a novel. Taking a class. Whatever it is that reminds you: in addition to being an attentive spouse and hard-working parent, you’re also an interesting person.