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.
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.
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!
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.
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?