Sometimes it feels like I was young and living the single life one day and then woke up with a whole husband and two kids. Then, I laugh at myself. That young 20-something woman from yesterday thought she had a lot going on. HA! Now, I have a family to take care of, clean up after and dare to have personal goals of my own. While we have all come to the realization that there is no such thing as “balance”, there are ways to juggle it all. Here are eight ways I (try to) keep all the balls in the air.
1. Be present, focus on one thing at a time
This one is hard for me. And, I don’t always follow this advice. But those nights when the boys ask me to “Sit with us” when they are watching TV, I oblige. My multitasking comes to an end and I sit and watch TV with them.
2. Make chores 1:1 dates with kids
Most times I run errands by my self just to have some alone time. But, those can be perfect opportunities to have some alone time with your kids. The errands have to be done, why not do them with your kids and make them feel special. My boys love going to Walmart Grocery Pickup with me. And my oldest loves Target just as much as I do. His palate has matured and the cost of our Target dates have tripled! No more smoothie and popcorn for him. Starbucks is his preference these days. I have created a monster!
3. Work when they’re sleep
This one goes without saying. Saturday naps are the perfect time to grab a bite to eat uninterrupted and get some work done, uninterrupted. My boys have a strict 8pm bedtime. At 8:05 I am typically already on my laptop. That brings me to my next point.
4. Night time is the best time
Many of my chores are done at night. After our nighttime routine I get things done. I throw in a load of laundry. Clean a bathroom. And, I always make our lunch at night. Whatever I can do in the amount of time I have. It doesn’t happen every night. But, when I can squeeze in chores during the week, it makes the weekend that much better. When I’m really on top of my game I’ll iron all our clothes at night too.
5. Use time off for school events
Don’t shoot me. Just hear me out. Most school events, ceremonies, etc. are scheduled during the day while us working moms are…at work. I know that vacation time is coveted. But, your kids are worth it. Reserving some time to use for school events will give you the ease of mind to know you won’t miss everything. And, here’s the best part. These events will not last all day! Take the day off, see your kid get their award then get a mani pedi or even a massage. Thank me later.
6. Get to work early
This one is tough for me. I’m naturally a night owl. Waking up early does not come natural to me. Now that I have kids, I’m forced to be up. Most working moms (like me) must leave work at a certain time to be on time for pick-up. So, staying late is not an option. If you can, getting to work early gives you time to get prepared for your day, enjoy that cup of coffee a little more, wrap up items from the day before and get started on the current day’s to-do list.
7. Pick the best After school care – do research
Selecting a daycare and afterschool care is one of the hardest decisions a mom has to make. It’s especially important to find a site that offers benefits that work for your schedule. I was blessed to find the perfect care for my boys when we moved back to Florida. My biggest advice is to think ahead. How can the facility help once your kids go to elementary school? The daycare we chose also offers after school care for elementary schools in the area. So, when my oldest son moved up to Kindergarten, we were able to have him go to his old daycare, with his brother, after school. Not only do they pick him up, they provide a meal. Yes, a meal, not a snack. So that’s one pick up for two kids, homework done and they’re not starving. That’s a working mom win!
8. Take your laptop everywhere
We often go to my grandparents house for the weekend to get some quality time with them. I always bring my laptop with me. I enjoy my time with my family. But there are those times, especially at night, when everyone is doing their own thing. That’s when my laptop comes out. Finding those moments when you can get a little work done is great, so equip yourself to be ready to take advantage of the moment.