The Mama Juggle and Finding Balance

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This is another post that was suggested from my reader survey I did a few months back. Someone asked me to post about how I juggle it all. Ha! I definitely had a little chuckle. Someone must think I have it together. That is definitely not true, but I feel like I have found ways to make life work. I’m warning you, this post is long and a little a lot heavier than usual. Don’t judge. Here we go…

Like everyone tells you, being a mom is hard work. But it is THE best work. The very best. I love being a mama. This crazy ride of mamahood has been the happiest and most fulfilling time of my life. Sure, the sleep deprived nights of the first several months are brutal and the ordeal that is eating out with a toddler is trying, but those are nothing compared to the joy my little man brings to my everyday. Watching his reaction as he sees a tiger up close for the first time or hearing him giggle as he zooms down the slide make the hard stuff worth it and even the littlest things are more fun. This last year+ has been a year of learning and lots of change and I’m only recently starting to find the balance.

Now, I’m certainly not an expert, nor do I have delusions that I’ve actually got it all together, but I no longer feel like I’m barely hanging on in survival mode. So here are my personal thoughts on finding the balance. One secret? It starts with having a kid that sleeps through the night. Sorry, but it’s true. Mess up sleep and the whole family is on the struggle bus.

Work

Ah, work. I think all moms probably struggle with this one and I am no different. I have a full time job and go to the office every day. Logan goes to school (daycare) everyday too which is 15 minutes away from my work. I love being able to interact with adults at work and contribute to the household income, but I hate that I get so little time with Logan during the week. I am also always wondering if the work I am doing is more important than spending time with my little and I struggle with that. When I’m doing a monotonous task or something I don’t particularly enjoy, I think to myself “ugh, I could be doing xyz right now.” #momguilt

Working full time also makes it hard to have time for much else during the week either – chores, errands, fun. So, we’re still figuring this one out. I think this post sums it up nicely. No matter which route you go (working mom, SAHM, WAHM) there is always something you sacrifice and that decision is very personal.

So how do I handle a full time job as a mama? I just do it. I think whatever is your new normal is what you adapt to. A few things help. My work is very understanding when I have to suddenly leave to pickup a sick kiddo, which has been important since daycare germs are vicious.

I am also happy with Logan’s daycare and think he really learns a ton there and benefits from the social interaction. I honestly don’t think he would get the same learning experiences and social benefits at home with just me. If we were to go a different route someday (PTWM, SAHM, WAHM) I would want him to go to some sort of ‘school’ at least a few times a week. What also helps the work/life balance is making the most of our weekends together and making sure that it’s quality time since we don’t get the quantity of time.

Home

Keeping up with chores with a toddler is a futile task, but I try to keep the house from looking like a tornado went through, most days. Confession: We hired a cleaning lady that comes every two weeks to do the big deep cleaning chores. I feel so sheepish, spoiled and guilty saying that, but it helps tremendously. I’m not killing myself on Saturdays trying to clean the bathtubs, scrub toilets and mop the floors, instead I’m soaking up some quality family time.

It’s not like I get out of doing all the chores though, so I try to do a little bit during the week, so it doesn’t pile up on the weekends. A couple months ago I discovered the delayed start button on our washing machine and it is the best thing ever! So at least a couple days during the week I’ll throw some clothes in the wash in the morning and set it to run right before we get home, that way I can throw them in the dryer that evening. We won’t talk about my lack of folding…but it really helps to at least get through a few of the endless loads of laundry during the week!

I try to clean up the toys, high chair area and dishes nightly, which makes the housework seem less daunting. Or sometimes I just let it go and have to learn to be ok with that on occasion. Sometimes mama just needs to relax!

I definitely slack when it comes to the cooking department. I really don’t enjoy cooking, so it’s typically whatever I can throw together at the last minute. I attempt to make meals on Sunday for us to eat on throughout the week. I’ve considered trying out Blue Apron or one of those types of services, but don’t know if it’d be worth it. I’m no help in that department. Please share your tips with me!

Marriage

Before we had kids I did not understand what people talked about when they said kids change everything. My husband and I’s relationship was solid and I was completely in love with him. How could that change?

Well, I still think our relationship is solid and I am still in love with him, but there were some rocky times at first as we both adjusted to becoming parents. When we weren’t meeting each others expectations, when we were sleep deprived and easily angered, when we argued over the division of labor (still do!), when we were so exhausted we barely had a real conversation with each other. It’s also hard to get out of the mom and dad mode and get back to being husband and wife to each other.

You really have to make a point to spend time just the two of you. It took me awhile to understand that and actually want to do that. I love my kiddo, why wouldn’t I want to do things with him included? But it’s SO important.

We’ve gone on a few date nights and even a couple quick weekend trips just the two of us. My favorite thing to do is to go on Friday lunch dates. When we’re both working and we sneak out for our lunch hour and try out a new restaurant and just get to talk to each other. Bottom line: make time for quality time with each other.

Me

Since my husband travels frequently I usually get some “me” time on weeknights after Logan goes to bed. By that point I don’t have a lot of energy, but it gives me time to decompress and do things I want to do. That time usually consists of relaxing and watching television, which I don’t consider “quality” me time, but sometimes that’s all I can muster. Every once in awhile I find the will to do things I really enjoy like make over my home office, blog, or work on my Etsy shop.

Now, there are a lot of things I’ve let go of personally that I wish I could keep up with better. I rarely have time to get a pedicure, my friendships aren’t where I’d like them to be, and my bod isn’t in the best shape. I’d love to have the will to work on my health a little more as that would probably result in me having more energy, which is in short supply these days, but I’m just not there yet. I’d love to find more mom friends in our town, but I don’t have much time and really don’t know where to start! And mama could really use that massage that I got a gift certificate for on my birthday last year, but I don’t want to waste my precious weekend time by being away from my little one. #workinprogress.


As you can see, everything is a work in progress and it will constantly be changing as our family changes. But, I love this season of life that I’m in and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I hope this post helps you if you’re struggling with being a new mom or at least makes you realize that we’re all in it together. I’m certainly not winning housewife of the year over here.

What do you other mamas do to find balance?

Linking up with Jessi and Jenn for What’s Happening Wednesday

More about Brittany

  • Aww lady! I think that you and your hubs are doing great. I understand that it is hard sometimes but you do a good job of staying organized and Logan is the cutest. I would also help you if I lived closer! :-) Hopefully one of these days we can catch up too. Sending hugs to you!! xoxo

  • Mackensey Stang

    I love reading this because it is so real. A HUGE struggle lately is our marriage. Not because we have fallen out of love, but because we spend nearly two hours a night putting our toddler to bed because he has started fighting bedtime. It is so frustrating to want to sit and watch a show together, and literally not be able to for DAYS at a time because the children don’t allow it. Date nights and such really are so important. We did an overnight without the kids this summer for a wedding, and we were both SO much happier the entire week following, even though we felt guilty leaving them at the time. And I work full time as well, and I think it is key to find an employer who understands that at the end of the day family comes first. The capability to be able to pick up and leave when necessary is invaluable!

    • I hear you lady! I always have a better attitude after the hubs and I get some quality time in. It’s tough and lonely when you don’t get that time together. I hope it gets better for you soon!!

  • Jennifer Bailey

    Wow this is so well said! I love how honest and real you are with all the aspects of life and motherhood. Looks like you’re doing an amazing job and should be so proud of yourself!

    • Thank you!! This post was definitely a bit outside my comfort zone, but I always appreciate other mamas who post the real side of motherhood!

  • I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing :) I too am a full-time working mom, and our daycare is 15 min from my work too! I loved that post you linked to as well. My husband and I had a rough year, but lately things have been a lot better and we have been more intentional about spending time together.

    • Thank you! I’m glad others can relate. It was definitely an adjustment on our marriage, too!

  • Jessi Otey

    Excellent post! Clearly so relatable for me! You go Mama! Have a great rest of the week!

  • i’m not a mother but i can definitely see that there are pros and cons to staying home or working, or working from home, and someone sacrifices either way. you gotta do whats right for you, but it would be hard to find that and one thing might not be right all the time. i am honestly scared about my relationship/marriage when we have kids. haha. like you said, we are rock solid and all that, but i know what we are like, and we are not happy when we are sleep deprived, and i can see fights happening when we expect more or something from the other. but we’ll just have to work through it, i guess :) glad you get some me time, even if it’s not ‘quality time’. i hope you’re able to fit in that massage!

    • I think I was the most scared about being sleep deprived! The sleep deprivation is rough, but you get out of that stage so quickly. There’s definitely an adjustment you have to make as a couple when you become parents, but as long as you’re both aware of that and talk about it you’ll be fine!

  • Love this! And you seriously shouldn’t feel bad about having a cleaning lady – I am considering getting one and I’m staying at home haha! But for the same reason you mentioned, I don’t want to spend my weekend day cleaning while Nick watches the baby when we could be spending quality time together. I think it’s money well spent so good for you!!

  • Thank you for this totally real post. I really don’t know how moms fit it all in! I visit my sister and I can barely even respond to an email in a timely manner. I appreciate the insight on how to keep your marriage strong and that is something I know I will try to do with Mark…..make that time!

    • Thanks, girl! You are a rockstar when it comes to juggling all the things, so I’m sure you’ll make it work!

  • Biana Perez

    First of all – your honesty in this post is amazing! I think you find your groove as best as you can (although I’m not a mom yet) I cant begin to imagine how difficult and different things become!! I’m already jealous of the daycare situation you guys have!! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Gosh it is SO hard to find balance as a mom! I always feel like I’m failing at it. Like I’m a SAHM and still can’t find time (or energy) to clean and cook as much as I would like to – and don’t get me started about how my marriage has changed – but the kids are alive and happy so I keep telling myself I’m doing enough!

    • Alive and happy is seriously a lot of work! I think I would struggle both ways – working or staying at home! They both have their good and bad!

  • Ally Harding

    This is a great post and being a working mom as well I can relate so much! You really do just make it work. I had no idea how different my life would be once Oliver was born and I went back to work but it’s so much harder to find the balance of being a great mom, wife, employee, and house keeper. I have learned that not everything is going to get my attention 100% all the time and usually it’s my house! It can wait, spending time with my child when I’m not working is what matters most to me. I only see him for 2 hours a day Monday-Thursday so he’s my priority. I just signed you up for the free blue apron trial so I can’t wait to hear what you think! It’s been a life saver for us. We wait to cook once we put Oliver to bed and it’s actually been a lot of fun cooking together and talking about our day!

    • Thanks, lady! I’m glad you understand the struggle. My house is always a disaster too, although Logan is now starting to “help” around the house and it’s so cute! He’ll put things in the trash can for me or pick up his toys. And don’t worry about the Blue Apron trial – I’ve gotten a few of them already and haven’t pulled the trigger yet.