Balancing life is tough stuff. As women, we wear multiple hats including wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, boss, maid (anyone else?), chef, and more. At times, it can be overwhelming. Some days, you feel like you have it all together, and other days, not so much. Although my job as a wellness coach has always been flexible, when Bode was born, I transitioned into doing my work mostly from home vs. leaving my house to go into an office every day. I am so thankful I can do this, but I have found working from home creates a unique set of challenges that takes some extra intention to overcome if you want to remain balanced and sane. I am not perfect at it by any means (what fun would that be), but over the past 10 1/2 months, I have put some strategies into place that not only help with both balance and sanity but also allow me to feel good about myself and find joy as I navigate the daily circus. 🙂 I want to share them in hopes that a strategy or two will resonate with you.
1. Get up 30-60 minutes earlier than you have to. This is truly a game-changer for me. Bode gets up around 7:00 am most days. I typically set my alarm for 6:00 am and this allows me time to brush my teeth, turn on the coffee pot, make my breakfast, let the dog out, feed the dog, and have about 30 minutes or more leftover to read a book, check email, or work. By the time he wakes up, I have had time to “wake up” and feel productive–this makes me a better mom right off the bat. Case in point: It is 6:31 am on Saturday morning as I write this. Seems crazy, but blogging brings me joy, and starting my day with joy is worth waking up early for.
2. Shower, get dressed, fix hair, and do makeup. Who doesn’t feel better when they have taken a few minutes to pamper themselves in the morning? I am a realist and know that every day is not going to consist of the full getting dressed, fixing hair, and doing makeup (at least for me), but we need to shower at the very minimum! I have seen firsthand how easy it can be to stay in your pajamas–bed head and all–for the entire day when you work from home. I have totally been guilty of hopping in the shower 20 minutes before Cody gets home from work and pretending like I was nice and fresh all day. As tempting as pajamas are, I feel so much better when I take the time to shower and put of fresh clothes (even if they are comfy pants). Plus, random errands always come up and I feel much better running into friends at the grocery store with styled hair and a swipe of mascara on.
3. Make a plan and stick to it. It is easier to accomplish tasks if you make a plan and stick to it as best you can. An example of this for me is that I always work during Bode’s nap time. I do this in lieu of dishes, laundry, washing bottles, etc. and I make no exceptions! I have found this to be a super effective strategy for me. Because I have allotted time during the day for my work, it allows me to feel more at ease when I am wearing my “mom hat”–there is less worry about when I will have time to respond to emails, questions, etc. Yes, at the end of the day there may be a few more dishes in the sink than there otherwise would be, but I always find time to get things tidied up in the evening.
4. Mandatory friend dates. There is nothing that makes me feel more sane than spending time with friends. It can be SO easy to use the “busy excuse” and miss out on these special moments. I always leave friend dates feeling uplifted, joyful, and thankful. At minimum, you should schedule time with friends once a month. Personally, I try to schedule something at least once a week but I don’t get too hung up on it if I miss a week or double up on another. Don’t overthink it either–take your kids with you and make a play date out of it if you have to–it will be good for all of you!
5. No comparisons. Ladies, this is a big one–the comparison game is a no-no. I know, it can be easy to compare ourselves to other women who are in seemingly similar situations. We begin to question how they can have it “all together” and find balance so effortlessly while we are over drowning in our Venti lattes. Let’s remember that no two situations or lives are the same, so we can’t possibly compare apples to apples. Spending time in comparison truly steals joy. If you are guilty of comparison, take the energy you spend on it, and begin to focus on how you can water your own grass. Think about what you are thankful for in your own life.
6. Realize your limitations (and be ok with them). You can do it all but you can’t do it all well. At certain stages in life, we have to pick and choose what we put on our plates. It can be hard to say “no” to events, volunteer opportunities, work projects, social gatherings, or other things you legitimately want to do, but there is only so much time in a day. You may have to choose between “good” and “good.” It is not productive to pack your schedule so full of things that it leaves you feeling overwhelmed, resentful, or angry. We all need a little wiggle room and time left for rest and relaxation.
7. Use a sitter. This has been a critical one in helping me find balance between work and home life. The fact of that matter is that it is hard to get work done from home! I utilize a sitter one to a few times a week so I can have time to be fully immersed in my work. In this time, I am able to concentrate, be creative, and feel inspired, which is important in my line of work. It is amazing what I can get done in the span of a few hours when I am completely focused. Every so often, I have “mom guilt” over this, but at the end of the day, I know it is good for my sanity, life balance, and happiness. If you aren’t currently working (outside of managing your household) don’t feel like you can’t use a sitter. Heck girl, hire a sitter and take a solo shopping trip to Target (or a nap)!
8. Take time to prepare food for yourself. As a wellness coach, I commonly hear women say that they don’t have enough time in the day to prepare food for themselves. Instead, they eat on the fly, pick off of their children’s plates, or go through a drive thru. I get it, not every day is perfect, but you have to take time to nourish your body with healthy food. What would you tell your children if they told you, “Sorry mom, I am too busy to eat lunch. I am just going to keep pushing through.” You would probably tell them to sit their cute booties down, take a rest, and eat their lunch. Likely, you would even make it for them–carefully adding a fruit and veggie to their plate and cutting the crust from their sandwich. Don’t you think you are worth that same care? Eating healthy, nourishing food is the foundation to a happy life. When you eat good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good. When you do good, you have more joy.
I am just a beginner at this “work from home mom” thing and hope to continue to develop strategies that will keep me feeling balanced, sane, and full of joy on a daily basis. What has worked for you? Any tried and true tips? Leave a comment below. Xo.