As a mom, wife, teacher, writer, and domestic engineer finding balance can be hard. All summer I relish in the fact that I can get the laundry done, clean my kitchen floor whenever I want and I still have plenty of time to play at the beach or do projects with my six year old. I may even occasionally kick back with a peppermint mocha and a book that is not on my school’s required reading list. I always want balance in my life, but I find it doesn’t seem to stay around as long as I would like.
Fall means heading back to school for my family. It takes me a month or so to get back into the groove of balancing writing lesson plans with scrubbing my kitchen floor. What usually happens is that school gets the best of me, and my kitchen floor…. well, it gets neglected. My back-to-school resolution is to not have another failed attempt at school year balance. I not only hope to find balance this year, I hope to hold onto it past winter break! I’m quite certain there are no magic answers as to how to find balance, but here are a few tricks I’m trying to implement to help me find some.
#1. Say “NO” to extra things. I’m the yes girl. I sign up for committees and volunteer to help at school, in my community, etc. This is good and bad. It has provided me with many terrific opportunities and new relationships, but it also adds to my stress, takes me away from my family and gives me more to balance. I’m learning to carefully choose what is most important. I can handle a committee that meets once a month, but maybe not three.
#2. Walk away from your Wireless Connection. This year I’m implementing a wireless night. I plan to have one night a week, that I don’t check email, Facebook, the I-pad, my phone, etc. I want that night to be free of the distractions that technology often brings with it. I love that our world is so easily connected and I can multi-task, but sometimes I need to unplug.
#3. Find your special time. Whether it is at four in the morning or an hour after work, or one hour a week, find some time to invest in yourself. Read a book, sit on your back porch, work out, do whatever it takes to fill your own bucket for a short time each day.
#4. Schedule a date night. If you are married allow yourself at least one date night with your spouse a month. If you are single, set up something with your friends or join a group of some sort. If finding a sitter is a struggle, try to network with other married couples with kids. You can babysit for their date nights and they can help you with yours. Another fun idea for parents is to schedule a date night with your kids. You can hit the movies, a park, or play Twister in the backyard. Make time for the people you love.
#5. Stick to a schedule. Limit the amount of running you have to do each night. Is your child in several activities each week? We try to limit it to two activities in the summer, and one per season during the school year. I now schedule laundry one day a week or as needed so I don’t feel like I have to do it each day. I clean once a week. I run errands that need to be run and limit how many trips I have to make so I’m not driving around like a mad woman.
I can’t guarantee that I won’t feel stressed at times this year, but I’m looking forward to all those peppermint mochas and dates with my husband and son. What could be better?
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