By Jennifer Chung
Finding balance seems to be one of the hottest topics amongst busy moms everywhere. We read about it, watch TV shows discussing it and pose the question to other moms — how do you find balance? When do you say yes or no to the many demands life serves up? I like to refer to a favorite quote when I’m feeling overwhelmed, “She designs the life she loves.” The reality is, finding balance is never simple or easy, but getting better at prioritizing can help us get a lot closer.
There’s no perfect balance and no right answer for everyone. Family often takes precedence over everything else, but there are times your job or your friends may need some extra investment and energy. If we don’t conscientiously know where we stand with our priorities and take control of how we budget our time, its easy to run out of steam. Here are a few things to think about as you try to plan your time:
Find Time To Recharge. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day or a few times a week, you need time to feel centered and at peace. This could include meditation, exercise, a bath, a night out with friends, or roaming the aisles of Target by yourself. So lose the guilt and make yourself a priority.
Create Dedicated Family Time. I find that I feel the most frazzled when I try to multi-task family time, errands, and work all at once. As tempting as it is to be wired and available all the time, everyone (including you) pays the price for doing too many things at once. Kids can sense when you’re not totally present, so make sure that you have dedicated family time set aside where everyone (including your partner) knows that they are the center of attention.
Learn When to Say Yes And When To Say No. The PTO needs volunteers for the book fair, your daughter’s Girl Scout troop is selling cookies, your son wants to be in three sports that require you to drive him to practice five nights a week. You need to decide who gets your time, and how to say no confidently with no excuses. If you don’t have the time, give a donation in your place or delegate – ask a neighbor or friend to take your daughter to a dance or hire a mother’s helper to run errands.
Good Enough Is Good Enough. As a former perfectionist, I’ve had to learn to let things go a little. For me, being organized is key to our home running smoothly, but I’ve decided not to spend twenty minutes searching for a stray puzzle piece or making our bed every morning. And meals don’t have to be perfect either – I strive for easy, balanced meals and have also found some healthy delivery options that we use a few times a week. And we’ve all seen photos of beautifully packed school lunches. Don’t sweat it. Just tuck a lunch note in your child’s lunch bag letting him know you love him.
It Takes A Village. Even if your village is a small one, a village is what it takes to get through life as a parent. If you have people in your life that are willing to help, take advantage of it! This could include grandparents, extended family, a good babysitter, a neighbor, or a network of friends. Plus, it’s good for your kids to build relationships and feel secure with adults other than yourself.
Parenting Expert and mom-of-one, Jennifer Chung, is the co-founder of Kinsights.com – part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to answer their questions while also helping them track their child's health information. Organize your child's growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. For more information on Kinsights, please visit their website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.