It’s a pretty well known fact: Moms are pulled in many directions and their to-do lists almost never get completely crossed off. There are the kids, the husband, the house, the chores, the errands, the laundry, the meals, the appointments, and on and on. It’s an intensive job that requires time management and organization to ensure that everything gets done and that there’s still enough time to spend enjoying your family.
Lesley Spencer Pyle, with her childrenHere are some tips to help you find some balance:
—Use a calendar to stay organized;
keep track of home, school and work activities and appointments. It may work best to use a desk calendar that you can take with you as well as set calendar reminders in a program such as Outlook to remind you of certain repeating activities, practices, birthdays, bills to pay, etc.
—Be a team.
Ask for help when needed and offer help where needed. Perhaps one week you can be in charge of homework or baths, and the next week your spouse can.
—Let go of guilt and know that you cannot possibly do everything.
Whether you need to hire a housekeeper, order take-out, or say no to a volunteer request, know that you are doing what’s best for you and your family but not overextending yourself.
—Schedule a weekly date with your spouse as well as individual time with your kids.
Also make time for yourself. Do not let one area of your life dominate the rest.
—Use your evening time wisely.
Instead of plopping down in front of the TV, go on a long walk with your spouse and/or your kids. Have a picnic dinner in the backyard. Play a game, or do something that enables you to really connect with your family.
—Be a smart shopper and meal planner.
Buy cookbooks with quick, healthy meals or meals that you can double and freeze for another night. No need to do it all every night.
—Know that you can always adjust and change your options.
If the choices that were right for you last year are not as good this year, reconsider and re-evaluate your options. Talk it over with your spouse and close friends. Then decide what is best for you and your family today.
Just as your children grow and your marriage matures, your individual, career, family and marriage needs will also grow, change and develop. Stay open to changes and realize that growing with each of these areas will be fresh, exciting, challenging and probably at times, frustrating and tiring.
—If you work, remember in the end
it is not going to matter how much you dazzled your clients or employer with long hours if you miss out on treasured moments with your children and your spouse.
—Do what’s best for you and your family.
Don’t allow others to dictate what the best option is for you and your family.
With these tips and your own tried-and-true ones, you will find that being a balanced mom is not fiction. It truly can be fact. It just takes planning, delegating, flexibility, a positive attitude and some great organization. LESLEY SPENCER PYLE, mother of two, is founder and director of HBWM.com, Inc (Home-Based Working Moms), a professional association and online community of parents who work from home and those who would like to. She is also the author of “The Work-at-Home Workbook”, a columnist with Entrepreneur.com, a Clubmom Work from Home Expert, a contributor to DrLaura.com and is also featured on DrPhil.com.