Like a Circus, Moms Perform The Balancing Act
I've been asked time and time again - "How do you do it all?" How do you balance, motherhood, being a wife, working out and your career? I'm far from perfect. I have my issues, my OCD tendencies, my lose my cool moments; but there are a few things I do that help in the day-to-day. I've outlined them below and hope you find them useful.
1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule - I schedule my weekdays. Have I mentioned I'm super Type A? On my work calendar I put everything from Doctors appointments, workouts, work calls, travel time to pick up Mila from school. I put it all. That way, I'm never triple booked (well, mostly never). I make sure that I make time for work, personal and family time - it's honestly helped me a ton. Before Mila, I was able to maneuver a lot around; but now, she throws a whole new wrench into the system. If there is something that is extremely important with work, I'll either try to move something around or tell them no and to find a new time (it's the new me!)
- Mila, girl - She's even on a schedule. I need to know how to plan for my days, what times I can do certain things; etc. I read numerous books and decided to follow the Moms On Call "method". Having her on a schedule is the best thing for me and our family.
- Workouts - This is HUGE for me. It keeps me sane and better for my health than wine (which, I clearly indulge in often). I'm not an early bird, I can't wake up early and workout. I've done it a handful of times and hated it. I don't want to go into fitness with the mindset of hate. I have to do it when I'm mentally there. I usually work out during my lunch time. I know everyone doesn't have this flexibility and I know this is a luxury. But, I need it, this is my time and lunch time seems to be the best suited and were I get the most out of it. I'll mix it up between cardio (Peloton!) and my Personal Trainer (at home fitness for the win!) But, I know everyone doesn't have this, and I didn't have this until recently. I've found other ways to get it in, running, HIIT at home (Insanity was key early on for me), pushups, squats, whatever - I got it done. Also, doing this at lunch gives me the mornings and evenings with my nugget; plus, clients eat lunch too!
2. Career Organization - This kind of relates to the above, but different. Different in that I now have to write my To Do list, client notes, thoughts during meetings; etc down on paper or an online service (thanks, Mom Brain). My to do list, is career focused: prospecting, XYZ email, harass legal, follow up with XYZ person. This way, when I'm running around doing a million other things, I know that my job is tidy. Of course, I question myself, can I do more? Is there something I missing? But, I'm also working on that anxiety of sometimes what you're doing is enough.
A couple of things I use below:
- Moleskin Notebook - Old school way to keep everything on track (even client notes and my thoughts during the meeting). I like the writing way most of the time.
- Wunderlist - Great mobile and web app to keep you on track.
3. Delivery - I get almost everything delivered, groceries, baby food, formula, paper, envelopes, random gadgets; etc. There are some weeks that are lighter than others and I can go to Target and Publix, but most weeks are beyond chaotic and it stresses me out to think about all the household "things" I need to get done.
- I have Shipt which has the nicest people do the grocery shopping for you and then deliver it to your door (I also HATE grocery shopping so this is a welcomed service), this service cost $100 a year and some of the items are a little more expensive; but, in my eyes...time is money. There are other delivery services available for groceries; but, Shipt was available in my neighborhood. Some other ones listed below - check them out to see if they're in your area.
- Amazon Prime - Game changer. Literal game changer for Motherhood. I honestly, don't know how my parents did it before the conveniences that life has to offer now. I bow down. Think about how much time you spend driving to and from the store and the actual time in the store. This service saves me about 2 hours a week...at minimum. You know what I can get done in 2 hours?!
The reasoning for doing the delivery is because I was stressed to all levels and would call my co-worker/friend who has 3 babies and would be freaking out...she simply said "simplify your life and get shit delivered" I listened and it has done wonders for my sanity.
5. Brain Breaks - I'm not sure if I mentioned this; but, I work from home. Yes, I know how wonderful! I do love it, but it comes with its own added pressures. When I worked in an office my brain breaks were either chatting with my coworkers, finding something to eat, searching (i.e. stalking) on Facebook/Instagram and it would give me about 30 minutes to decompress. My brain breaks these days are; washing bottles, throwing in a load of laundry, folding laundry, doing a quick touch up clean (I'm a clean freak); just tiny things that get my mind off my stressful job and are also productive for my house. If you do not work from home, why not use those "brain breaks" to make doctors appointments, write your To Do list (personal), walk outside to get some fresh air, something for yourself - but that is also useful to get those mom tasks done.
6. Maid Service - Did I mention I'm a clean freak? I love, love having a clean house and having things in their place. But, again - time is money. I 100% believe that having a cleaning service come and clean your home is life changing. Yes, it may not always be up to your standards (which, mine never is); but, for the most part the essentials are cleaned and on the weekends I'm not bent over scrubbing toilettes, instead - I'm snuggling with my nugget and venturing around Atlanta. The 2x a month that I have her come is worth every single penny when I don't have to spend my weekends cleaning; rather, I'm spending quality time with my family.
7. Daycare - I know, there are so many mixed feelings from mom's on daycare. But, I for one, LOVE IT. This has given me the sanity and peace to get my personal and professional life handled. Wether it be to go to a doctors appointment, speak with a CMO of a company or to workout in peace - daycare has Mila girl on lock. I know she's in good hands and that she's playing, learning and being fed and something that I couldn't do for her 5 days a week. Plus, the more people that love her - the better!
I know what you're thinking, man - you're spending all of your money on other people doing things for you. I'll say "you are correct!" Why? Because, my time focusing on my family and my career are worth it. Because, I love having a clean house and I don't have time to do it, I pay for it. Because, I hate grocery shopping and there is a perfectly good app that allows me to order them to my house, I do it. Now, I'm not saying that this is the only way to balance motherhood - this is what works for me. I have an amazingly supportive husband that helps a lot (but, as moms know, men are great but they can't do it all), I have the get-it-done mentality; which I feel if you have that mentality you don't need all those fancy apps and can truly do it on your own. Taking away the fancy delivery and cleaning person, if you're organized and scheduled, you can do it all. But, what I've learned (and am frankly still working on), is that asking for help, is OK. You don't have to do it all, all the time. There is a support system that you can lean on to help you every once in a while. I'm still finding that in Atlanta, but I know that when family is around...I'm starting to ask more and more and its given me a sigh of relief.
I'm coming to find out that the saying "Motherhood is the hardest job, but the best job" is 100% true. There are days I struggle to get it all done, it gives me massive anxiety if I have something left to do on my list; I've been up at all hours to night trying to get things accomplished. But, I've been working mentally on..."if the dishes aren't done, its ok. If the laundry is completed, its ok" Knowing that everything doesn't always have to be done and perfect is starting to give me a sigh of relief. Bottom line, momma's - don't be so hard on your self. There are winning days and losing days. Both are equally as important to have and you grow from them. Know you have at least one momma rooting for you (if not more), that's me! You got this!
I would love to hear of your tips and tricks of how you balance it all! Please share in the comments below.