LIFE BALANCE: What it Takes to Make it All Work

Mother preparing kids for school

Parents, we work 24 hours a day – even in our sleep. Spouses, kids, jobs, dogs, cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking, and yes, remembering to label cups, containers, and clothes. Each one of these “chores” requires multiple mini-tasks. In my marketing project management system, I’m realizing that I could use a similar product just for managing the day-to-day things we need to remember to do just to make our lives run smoothly. Some days, a few of these things get put on the backburner completely. Things that cannot go to the wayside are work, kids, and dogs, but the rest needs to get done eventually, or you will find yourself up at midnight pairing socks while tripping over the dogs and getting your sweatshirt caught on the doorknob.

This happens to us all. No one tells you the amount of dropping and picking up of stuff you will do on a daily basis, all while trying to remain calm. As organized as I like to think of myself, I lose it all some days and leave the beds unmade, dishes in the sink, and trash bins at the end of the driveway because of a deadline or forgotten task. I have to force myself to focus only on what needs to be done “right now.” I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is losing my patience with my kid because I forgot something and now we’re in a rush. I’m not okay with yelling at the dogs because they are in the way when they just need to go out – again. I’m not okay with not texting friends back when I swore I would never do that after I had a child.

If you’re not okay with this either, then what can we do to change it? Here are a few suggestions, and things that I have put into practice. I know that not everyone can do the same things given different situations, but take what works for you:

Change your job to match the lifestyle you want. I gave up life in the corporate world to work from home so I could be there for my daughter should she need me within 5 minutes.

Get enough sleep. Since we only watch TV on demand anyway, postponing the binge of House of Cards, Season 5 is not a big deal. If you are not rested, you will have a harder time keeping up with your life commitments.

Drink water. If I don’t drink at least a few glasses of water throughout the day, I get a headache, which can lead to impatience, which can lead to chaos. 

Eat less sugar. Eat more vegetables. You know why. If you think balancing your blood sugar is not important? 

Exercise. I try to go for a long walk or do yoga after dropping my daughter off at school. If I don’t do this in the morning, it doesn’t get done. Not only that, but all my joints will also crack and I won’t have the energy to run around after her after school or pick up the 1003 things she leaves all over the house – or that I drop going from room to room.

Read actual books. It’s relaxing, expands your knowledge, and gives your eyes a rest after a long day. You will sleep better.

Schedule a night out and/or a day off. If you don’t take time for yourself you end up run-down, and there is no way you can be the kind of parent you want to be if you are always doing things for others and nothing for yourself. Recharge your batteries and be yourself once in a while.

That’s it – at least for today!

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