This is a great thread! I just went back to work about 3 weeks ago after not working for almost 10 years! It's been a tough transition on everyone. So getting some good ideas from other mamas is awesome! Thanks!
Work/Life Balance - How do you do it? - Page 2
We can't have it all. ANd shouldn't feel like we have to. I assume you work to pay the bills, so that is a necessity. If you can make a special event occassionally, that is great. I assume you mean the 8 year old is the one that you miss activies for. I am a work at home mom and I still can't m ake it to most of the functions. Helping with homework and spending time is far more important . . . perhaps you can leave work early 2-3 times in a school year for a special event. Maybe take a sick day that day if you have that options. Over the years I have noticed that it is the working mothers that cannot make the events-- so you are not alone. THink of all that you are able to provide for your kids by working and having a steady income.
I work one job that is 20 hours per week outside of the home and I also teach online college courses (which I can do at home after the kids to to bed in my PJs). I find that is all I am able to do. I also have a child with special needs, so that is a huge factor in my career choices. I, like most of you all here, work simply to pay the bills and have the most basic sense of financial stability. I don't have a secret recipe for work-life balance, but here is what works for me:
1) Having really low standards for housekeeping (I just make sure the place is sanitary, dishes and trash done, we have enough clean clothes to get us through the week, etc.) I just let clutter go, because I'm not interested in wasting time to put everything away and then have my kids drag it all back out in the course of a day or two.
2) Letting go of guilt and focusing on priorities. There are only so many hours in a day and I'm going to use the hours I have the best way I can, for me that does not include PTA or baking things for the bake sale. I'm happy to contribute some store-bought stuff or cash though :) At some point I had to accept that I couldn't be a working mom and also a Martha Stewart homemaker.
3) Making sure I take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Because I have a child with special needs, my stress level is through the roof. I have to make sure I am going to my yoga class or I would explode with stress (childcare is provided at my gym which only charges a very small monthly fee of $30 for unlimited classes and gym use). We attend church weekly. The children's church is great and allows me to spend an hour on Sundays getting in touch with my spirit and holding hands in church with my hubby without disruptions. I try to make sure we also take family hikes and run around the backyard often.
4) Kids help with chores, I let them prepare their own snacks, etc. ("clean up those legos or the vacuum will eat them up never to return" works well on my boys lol)
5) My husband and I share housecleaning and he is active in childcare duties as well.
6) Take-out food is my friend :) We found an affordable Thai restaurant that offers very healthy foods, so we pick up food many nights when we are both just too tired to cook and clean-up.
7) Warm bubble baths after the kids are in bed.
8) I have as many of my bills on AutoPay each month as I know I will have the money to pay for sure. That way I don't have to sit down and write out checks, fillout forms, etc.
9) Lay out everyone's clothes (including underwear and socks and shoes) the night before to make morning rush easier. I pack lunches the night before and I let them eat school lunch sometimes to give me a break.
10) I like to do laundry on the weekends only and then watch a movie or show I enjoy while folding the many loads. It makes me feel like I'm actually doing something fun rather than tackling mountains of laundry. Listening to my iPod with my favorite music also helps when I'm cooking or cleaning (which otherwise I just don't enjoy at all).
11) I take a personal day off from work at least once every couple months or so. Not a sick day, just a planned day off to use up some of my PDO days. I send the kids to school and then do whatever I want. Maybe I'll catch up on the house or maybe I'll just catch up with a friend or be lazy all day.
So maybe the key is that my kids have to get bigger before I am not overwhelmed? Does anyone have preschoolers or younger and still have a clean house? The only thing that seems to work is rotating toys and getting rid of extra clothes and stuff. If that happens then I can keep up with my own clutter and dishes better. But when one thing gets a little out of hand it's not long before the house is a complete disaster. What do you think? Do I just need to be more disciplined?
Hahahahahaha, not me. I have a just-turned-4-year-old and an almost-8-year-old and it's a constant battle against mess. Sometimes I tackle it for, say, 10 minutes and for those entire 10 minutes I feel really proud of myself. Ironically, it's slightly cleaner now that I'm a single parent because stbxh isn't around messing up more than he cleans. But I admit that if there is 1 thing I really really want to buy myself, it is a Roomba. Because in my dreams, my kids will be convinced it will eat their stuff so they will get better at picking up (lol, right?) and I could get some of the vacuuming done while I'm actually at swimming lessons or on the bus commuting or something (my commute is nearly an hour each way so there's plenty of time for some heavy-duty vacuuming going on). Also in my dreams my cats learn to sit on the Roomba and I make an awesome Youtube video and earn enough money from paid advertising that I can afford maid service. ;) Hey, I can dream! Dreams are pretty much the only time my house is neat and clean anyway.