"Having it All" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 07-24-2010, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Moms,

I'm wondering...for those of you with more experience parenting and working and "doing it all," what have you done to make yourself feel successful in all areas of your life?

I am trying to feel satisfied working my job (that I love), raising my baby, nurturing my marriage, maintaining my friendships, continuing to have some "me" time, and spending some time with extended family, in addition to all the regular household stuff you have to keep up with. OY! Seems like I feel like I have a handle on one thing and then another thing gets neglected.

I know I'm not the only one trying to "do it all"! And I am still new at parenting...my baby is only 8 months old. What are your strategies?

Let's talk and support each other...

Birthed a beautiful baby boy, Ethan, 11/11/09.
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#2 of 21 Old 07-24-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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I try to do it all, but I don't think it's possible especially if you are trying to do it all successfully. Things that get neglected the most are probably the housework. It's hard, but I am sure there's a balance somewhere. Every now and then I will take a half day or full day off from work, just to catch up on housework or go shopping for things I need while DS is at daycare.

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#3 of 21 Old 07-24-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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My housework and personal relationships suffer. I am okay with the idea that I can't do it all.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#4 of 21 Old 07-24-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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I'd like to say I can do it all, that I have it all figured out. But, I do not. I think I have gotten pretty good at balancing, though.

I think every thing in my life is a work-in-progress, from my housekeeping, meal planning, parenting, friendships, and career. My house is rarely a disaster, but it is also rarely spotless. I never feel like a perfect parent, but overall my children are happy. I go in waves with friendships; I have one super-close best friend and a handful of friends that I have had for almost 20 years. I have a job that I like and some days even love.

The mamas on this board (mothering.com) have lots of good advice and I have used lots of the suggestions over the years.

Mama to DS 10/04, DD 12/06, and DD 11/09 my baby
Missing DS 10/08
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#5 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 01:37 AM
 
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I've found reading books on parenting, work/life balance, and working motherhood to be really helpful and encouraging. Some that I have benefitted from: Getting to 50/50, How to talk so kids will listen, Positive discipline.

I'm learning to be REALLY careful about what I say "yes" to when asked to volunteer at their school or at our church. I'm trying to only commit to what I can realistically do without feeling crazy and resentful of the job/role. My husband is really encouraging in this....he reminds me that it might stress me out later if I commit to too much at a time (which I am prone to do).

We try to do 5-8 pm as no-screen time (TV/computers off) and spend time together as a family....whether that is fixing dinner, cleaning the house, or playing in the yard....5-8 is our time. (We both get off work early though, so this works for us)

Monday night we have family cleaning night. We clean for about an hour, eat a simple dinner, and then go out for frozen yogurt as our "reward" for working so hard. (If you can afford a housekeeper, I highly recommend it. We had one for a few months and it was great to be able to count on the deep clean getting done every few weeks.)

Let the small stuff go- sometimes I have to be OK that we are eating rice and beans for dinner for the 2nd time that week. Or that the kids didn't get a bath that night. Or that the house is a mess.

Make sure you get time out with friends without the kid(s). It is so refreshing to be around other moms, and learn from them too.

Looking forward to other people's comments...I agree this board is so useful for support and encouragement. I come to the working parents section a lot, b/c I don't have a lot of close friends who WOH so it is super-encouraging to come here and see what others are experiencing and how they are balancing it all.

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#6 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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certainly the housework is neglected - shamefully so.

friends? well - i maybe get to go out 1x/month or something, but I hope that I will soon find some mommy friends and it'll be closer to 1x/week, giving both me and my kids interaction time. i made them all sign up for facebook so I have 1 central way of communicating my goings ons to friends and family without making 100 calls.

ITA with not volunteering for too much. I rarely say yes to someone elses call to volunteer, but I often speak up when I see volunteer opportunities that I think I can handle.

I also just got a famiy weekly dry erase calendar. I have a calendar on the fridge for advance appts, vacations etc, but this one I use to communicate plans with my husband and it is wonderful.

oh, and the "me" time... i often visit family and let them spend time with the kids so i can veg, or the "me" time is also work, since it helps me socialize.

~ Professor Mama to Gabito (July '07) & Danita (April '10) ~
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#7 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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I can't do it all. I don't even try for a perfect life. But I do strive for moderation and am very mindful about making decisions that will help me to honor my priorities.

I know it's not an option for everyone, but for me working part-time is perfect. I have time to myself, I have time for friends, I have energy to parent my children well, and I'm also able to enjoy and take pride in my work.

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#8 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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Housework is not important enough to make it on my list of priorities so I delegate that task to a housekeeper who comes three days a week, one of which she stays on late to look after the kids to keep a date night for DH and one other evening for us both to have us time apart and afternoons to do stuff like errands. I live in different continents from my extended family, so that helps with the expectations from them...the odd e-mail every so often keeps them happy, and they come for a visit once or twice a year.

I work in highschool education so I get long holidays which helps with the bonding with the kids and time for myself and with my friends.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#9 of 21 Old 07-25-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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Perfection is over rated. I do "do it all" but I get to define what "all" means. Sometimes "all" means plans for the day get dumped and we spend the day vegging out at grandma's. Or the day is way to nice to spend it inside cleaning so we go to the park instead. Sometimes survival is that is acomplished. That's the nature of life. At the end of the day (and the day ends in adulthood), the kids don't remember the perfection, they remember the times had, whether it's something as simple as the Teddy Bear picnic in the living room because rain prevented an outing or Sunday afternoons vegging in front of the TV watching rented movies and eating junk food (great teen memories that my girls still remember). It's surprising that what my kids remember are the little simple, spontaneous things that I had forgotten because they weren't big, elaborate, expensive, insert whatever adjective denotes "perfect" here, or planned out. But we had fun.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#10 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebunny View Post
I think every thing in my life is a work-in-progress, from my housekeeping, meal planning, parenting, friendships, and career. My house is rarely a disaster, but it is also rarely spotless. I never feel like a perfect parent, but overall my children are happy. I go in waves with friendships; I have one super-close best friend and a handful of friends that I have had for almost 20 years. I have a job that I like and some days even love.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
I can't do it all. I don't even try for a perfect life. But I do strive for moderation and am very mindful about making decisions that will help me to honor my priorities.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurabfig View Post
We try to do 5-8 pm as no-screen time (TV/computers off) and spend time together as a family....whether that is fixing dinner, cleaning the house, or playing in the yard....5-8 is our time. (We both get off work early though, so this works for us)

Monday night we have family cleaning night. We clean for about an hour, eat a simple dinner, and then go out for frozen yogurt as our "reward" for working so hard. (If you can afford a housekeeper, I highly recommend it. We had one for a few months and it was great to be able to count on the deep clean getting done every few weeks.)

Let the small stuff go- sometimes I have to be OK that we are eating rice and beans for dinner for the 2nd time that week. Or that the kids didn't get a bath that night. Or that the house is a mess.
GREAT tips.

OP, I made myself a list of priorities and pinned it to my desk. Every day, I do a quick check-in and consider whether or not my time allocation is in line with my priorities. If not, I adjust my time as best I can. I never feel like I'm doing it all quite as well as I would want to, but I let go of most of that a long time ago, and am generally OK with being good enough.

professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)

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#11 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 07:35 AM
 
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I have somewhat a unique situation since I've done it all in a very short period of time (SAHM, WAHM, WOHM). I've switched around so much because I've tried to be with DD as much as possible but it's HARD because sometimes my work has been ignored more than I wanted (I can set my own hours).

Right now I'm WOH and the one thing that DH and I both do is we go running together in the morning after dropping DD off at the daycare. We both have fleixble hours so we can get away with not working as much during the day and making up that hour at night. It's really nice to get exercise in and also have that bit of time alone with DH.

Another thing we do is just take DD out often. For our anniversary, we'll go out as a family to a nice restaurant. Even though she's little we try our hardest to make it work because we need to go out for our own sanity. We also still go out with friends etc. and have just gotten them used to the fact that we always bring DD with (it's not like we can afford extra childcare anyways!).

Housekeeping is our biggest weakness. We have a really small apt so it's quick when it gets done but it doesn't always get done. We're trying to get better about it but that still needs work...
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#12 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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I wanted to chime in that Getting to 50/50 is a great read so far!

Right now my exercise time and housework are suffering a bit, but I am feeling really good about the balance I have with family time, couple time, me time and work time right now. I don't have any local friends outside of my workplace friends, so that is also something I would like to work on too, trying to be friendly with the other daycare parents and plan to take a bigger step there soon

I will say I am extremely protective of my time now. I am working 7:30-4:30 so I have more family time at night and makes dinner/bedtime/etc. easier. I've got a good routine going for dishes and laundry, trying to work in the rest of the housework We do pay someone to mow our lawn and do some of the flower bed maintenance, that is very much worth it for us. Because if the vacuuming gets put off a bit, at least it only bothers us, when our yard work gets put off too long, our poor neighbors have to suffer too and I feel bad.

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#13 of 21 Old 07-26-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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I second trying to get some sort of schedule established. I was grocery shopping on Thursday evenings and cleaning on Friday evenings, it was working out great until our kids' music lessons got moved to Thursday.

You just have to let some things go. My house is not a pigsty, but it isn't immaculate either. DH are in a constant battle as I am a big de-clutterer and he keeps bringing junk into the house.

Neither of us gets out with friends as much as we'd like because non-working time=kids' time. It seems every few months we get a little crazy and then we ask my mom and dad to watch the kids for a Saturday afternoon so we can go out to eat and to the movies or something.

I think with every working parent, it just is what it is. I love my job and I WANT to work, so we try to make things easy for ourselves.
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#14 of 21 Old 07-27-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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Once DS was born, I went to working 3 days at home, 2 in the office. At one point I considered WAH full time; but I actually enjoy my 2 days out of the house. DH keeps the baby these days - it gives them one on one bonding time, me time away from home and baby, there really is no down side.

The housework gets neglected the most. I stay on top of laundry as far as getting it washed and dried, but not folded and put away. DH has stepped up alot and cleans the kitchen and one of the bathrooms, and is good at keeping the floors swiffered and vacuumed. We go out alot the 3 of us, because we get stir-crazy. My MIL has been great about keeping DS when we need a date night, and my parents are always willing to help out with that also.

We have a small group through church that is all young families like ours, and that helps cement some friendships too.

I don't strive for perfection, but I do admit that it is work, juggling the roles of mama, wife, friend, daughter, and worker. But it is worth it! I don't include housekeeper, because, well, I let that ball drop entirely too often! Just try not to sweat the small stuff. and putting in the effort to maintain friendships is well worth it to me (but then, it has taken me 5+ years of living in this area to even HAVE friends. it is one thing I have always struggled with)

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#15 of 21 Old 07-29-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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I get help from others.

I dont do housework, i pay someone else to do it for me.
Anything I can delegate by paying or asking nicely I will do.

I have a personal assistant at work now, best decision ever.

I dont do it all, but I am responsible for it all so I manage those that help me and supervise them so that things are done.

Nobody can do it all, but having a team you can trust is incredibly helpful.

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#16 of 21 Old 07-29-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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You definitely have to figure out your priorities and get into a routine. It was so hard for me to get even basic stuff done after ds was born and I was back at work. Now he's 4, my work schedule has changed a bit so things are working pretty well now.

I have a pretty simple housework routine that I just stick with. Every day, I do the dishes after dinner, run the dishwasher and unload it whenever. We pick up before bed, make beds before leaving in the morning. Laundry gets done on Wednesdays and Sundays. I clean the house Saturday mornings and then do little jobs whenever they need it (sweeping, wiping down the bathroom).

I meal plan because it saves me so much time and money. And I grocery shop on pay day by myself (which also helps save time and money).

Dh and I have a date night every Friday night where we go to a couple's golf thing and mil hangs out with the kids. They love it and we're only gone 3 hours. We go to my mom's for dinner one night a week. I also work from 7-3:30 so while I leave before anyone else is up, I get a lot of evening time in with my family too.

I don't spend as much time with my friends as I used to. And I get very little exercise right now, but that's just how it is for now. Of course, I feel like I have things pretty well under control right now and dh's about to start a very intensive medical program, so it may all go out the window too.
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#17 of 21 Old 07-29-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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I doubt this is where anyone is at, but I'm looking at yurt living partly because I feel like maybe I can have it all then.

Less stuff to clean, more inspiring place to clean anyway.

Physical work to keep me in shape.

Need to reduce trash and waste, so will consistently cook good food.

Sunlight and fresh air to keep me vigorous.

And keeping my online job. But having more money because we're living on less, with the same salary.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#18 of 21 Old 08-06-2010, 03:57 AM
 
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I could never say that I feel successful consistently in all areas of my life, but sometimes I can get a little closer than at other times. I try to start each day with quiet time (even 15 min. if I can get it) with the 3 and 5 y.o.'s engaged in play of some sort right after they finish their breakfast- and I try to get grounded that way spiritually and mentally b4 the schedule begins.

I have my task list for the day and try to check the things off as I do them, and I do try to be intentional about making time to be 1:1 with the kids in play, stories, etc. where it can be fit in.

I work evenings during the week, so it may be different than those mommas who work during the day, but I try to make a balance between getting the necessities for things to be sanitary at home done (not a lot of de-cluttering or organizing tho- just laundry, dishes, vaccuum when the cheerios are crunching too much underfoot), and connecting with the kids to let them know they're loved, cherished, and more important that a sparkling-clean house. I let them know as it's getting closer to the time for momma to go to work, try to time it all as best as I can to make them snacks between getting showered and dressed, and give lots and hugs and kisses before I leave.

My alone time with my writing, reading, spirituality, happens pretty late at night after I get home; and I'm still trying to work-in my old yoga videos and my guitar/piano playing somewhere- sometimes just once a week on a Sunday, if I'm lucky. But I'm a work in progress, and my heart is trying. I try to be understanding towards myself when possible, and sometimes just take it all an hour at a time on the stressful days when things aren't going the way I'd hoped.

Good luck to you! You're heart's in a great place.

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#19 of 21 Old 08-06-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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I attribute my balance to:

Working part-time (three days/week)

Having a house cleaner

Having a husband who does just as much baby care + house work as I do (plus, he takes care of the dog!)
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#20 of 21 Old 08-07-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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I don't want to be negative again, but I have a feeling this thread is going to depress me.

I have a theory that women who balance career and family have one heck of a support system, whether that is their husband/partner, finances that buy services like nannies, babysitters, or housecleaners, or they have grandparents or other family who help out.

I'll be the first to admit. I don't have it all and I never will. I have no support system internally to my family and DH is sort of old school about work habits but new school about sharing income responsibilities.

Unless balance looks like doing a lot of your work projects at 2 am when your child has gone to bed, handling conference calls with a child in the background, running to the office and then running to pick up or drop off at daycare, piles of dirty laundry, no groceries most of the week, and a generally neglected house due to lack of time, then I don't have balance.

I have a better resume than a cleaner house. I bring home less paycheck than women in my field with no children. I look scattered and flighty at work because I can't travel or attend as many meetings or stay late or come in early.



But I'm not out of the workforce and I'm keeping my career from being dead in the water...and I think I'm a pretty decent mom.

I'm just not 100% the employer I'd like to be and I'm not doing 100% of the parenting I thought I'd be able to do. I miss meetings for my employer and field trips for my kid. It's the struggle of the juggle of career and family.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-08-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I think that one's definition of "all" plays a major part. I never wanted a perfectly decorated, spotlessly clean, no one lives here house. I wanted a home where people laughed, cried, played, and worked--a lived in home. I wanted kids who wore clothes that they could climb trees, run around, and get dirty. I wanted kids who spoke their own minds and thought for themselves. Which means that I had kids who didn't listen to me the first time and who would "break the rules" when what they wanted to do was worth more than following the family rules that they agreed to. I wanted good healthy basic food and not spend hours either shopping for it or cooking it. I wanted a healthy diet that included birthday cake, millions of cookies at Christmas, candy at Halloween, fast food every now and then. I wanted a life that I liked getting up and facing every morning (or in the middle of the night) more than I dreaded it. when I started to dread something, I changed it. Or learned to move on if I couldn't. But over all, I have the life I wanted. It has had it's ups and downs and it's bumps in the road. But that's life. I didn't plan to have 2 special needs children but I wouldn't change them for normal children at all. I have a dh who helps around the house but who also treats his job/career as a second family. His mistress is his job and I have to every now and then remind him that we are his first family and we come first. I have learned that when life overwhelms me, to let everyone know that and to take some time off for me if I need to. I didn't plan on having a 4th child 13 years after my 3rd, but life happens and I wouldn't give him up for the world. Even though he drives me crazy. It's a good thing that I never had a picture of this perfect life that I was going to have. Because I would have been very disappointed and would have missed all the fun along the way. Life is a journey to be enjoyed. Sure there are parts that I wished I didn't have to go through but without them life would have been boring with no color or flavor. There are no highs without lows. The trick is to change what you can and know what you can't. And to live the lows not just endure them. And count your blessings during them.

Anyway that's my 2 cents worth of living, loving, and being married for 37 years. If any of this makes sense to anyone. Over all, I have enjoyed my life, my dh, my jobs, my kids, and I wouldn't change anything even if I did have the chance to go back and relive my life.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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