It seems like I’m on a continuous journey of trying find balance, create balance and maintain balance. Work, kids, husband, sports, exercise, cooking, self-care, career development, hobbies, leisure/family time, personal time and everything involved in taking care of a home-cleaning, laundry, landscaping, etc. There is a LOT to do and figuring out that routine during the week can be tough. And just when I think I’ve got it figured out…… something changes and we have to start all over. Have you ever felt this way?
Every choice of how you spend your time comes at a cost, but when so many things seem equally important how do you choose what makes today’s cut and what falls by the wayside for another day? More importantly, how do you protect your mind and spirit from the stress of it all?
It’s a puzzle I always seems to be working out, but I have at least learned one thing along the way….. Time is a valuable commodity and being so limited, fill it with family and time for yourself FIRST. As a mom, that has been a hard lesson to learn (and I still have to stop and remind myself at times) but if you don’t take time to nurture yourself, you will not be at your best. You deserve to be your best and your family deserves the best you; so take care of yourself. Please. Next, spend time with the people you love. Your babies will only be babies for a second. The laundry, the dusting – it can wait until the weekend.
For those a little on the OCD side, I know that hurts. 🙂 So here are a few practical tips for the “big 3” as I call it that we try to implement at our house. I’d like to point out that I have a wonderful husband who probably does more housework than I do and I’m grateful for that. Taking care of a home and family is definitely easier when you are part of a team but married or single you can make it work with some planning.
- Cooking – Try to pick out at least 5 recipes to have for dinner that week. Plan your shopping list around those 5 meals and take a few hours to prep as much as you can. I typically meal plan on Friday, grocery shop early Saturday morning and prep food some time on Sunday. Anything you can wash, chop, thaw, marinate or even cook for reheating will save you time during the week. Also, by getting to the grocery by 8am on Saturday, I can avoid a crowd and not take up too much time in my day.Also, get a few quick recipes under your belt that you can make in 30 minutes from items you keep in your pantry. There will be days you need a quick backup. Stir-fry is great because it is so versatile. Plus if you have a choice of chopped veggies in your fridge, it makes it that much faster. Spaghetti (either with noodles, veggie noodles or spaghetti squash) is a great quick option too.
- Housework – we’ve tackled this a few different ways. Sometimes my husband and I will “power clean” on a Saturday morning to try to get it done as quickly as possible, each taking a different task. When we have weekend plans, we may try to do one task each night during the week so everything is done by Saturday. Typically we try to do laundry throughout the week to keep it under control. Even one load a day or every other day is a big help. Putting away clothes? Well, that’s a different story.
- Exercise – My husband is so good and so disciplined about getting in exercise. He usually goes right after work or will often do cardio during his lunch break and a lifting session right after work. I, on the other hand, haven’t quite found my groove after having a baby this past fall. That needs to change. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind a lot this last week, so I’ve developed a new strategy I’ll be trying out on Monday. With a baby and everything else I have to do during the week, finding time in the evening to exercise never seems to happen. So I’m going to take advantage of my lunch break and use that time as fitness time. Yes, it will be a bit of a pain to have to clean up and go back to work for the afternoon, but I don’t really want to give up any more evening time with my family, so this is the best solution for me.
Remember – how you spend your time is your CHOICE. I choose not to give up any more evening time because that time with my family is important and I don’t want to add another daily activity that takes me away. By the time we pick up kids, get home, feed the baby, have dinner and clean up it’s usually time to feed the baby again then get everyone ready for bed. Exercising at 8 or 9 pm isn’t my idea of fun and who has the energy to do that anyway? My health IS important to me though, so I have to find a way to make it fit into the puzzle. So, lunch time it is.
Finding balance in your life is a continuous cycle and I don’t always win. There have been days that felt like rushed, stressed, unorganized chaos. But I’ve found that if you actively manage your time and your choices, those chaotic days are fewer and life seems to flow more smoothly. I like that feeling a lot better and so will you.
Until next time….