Sometimes it seems like we can never get the parenthood-peace balance quite right. There’s too much of one thing (probably bad) and not enough of another (likely good). And the more we try to compensate, the more off kilter things become.
It’s normal that some days are going to be chaotic, but making small adjustments to how you react to some of life’s bigger challenges (like meal preparation and getting kids to after-school activities while holding down a full-time job) can help increase your positive outlook and lessen your stress load. Here are a few workable solutions to everyday stressors:
Problem: A good majority of the home and child rearing responsibilities fall on your shoulders
Solution: Realize it’s not fair and do something about it. No need to be confrontational or abrupt. A casual discussion during a date night airing your concerns might be met in a more welcoming manner than a possible angry a standoff at home. While discussions about the workshare/balance are hardly romantic, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t speak up if you feel like your responsibility plate is overflowing.
And don’t forget the kids! Although they may seem like punishment to them, chores do children a lot of good in the long run.
Problem: Your boss expects you to play on the company softball team and always attend after-work drinks
Solution: Your boss needs to realize he can’t demand your presence after your workday is done. There’s nothing wrong with team building exercises and getting to know your coworkers better, but seasonal commitments or meeting for drinks at the bar after work instead of family time is not okay.
Maybe you don’t want to speak up for fear of risking your job, but setting non-negotiable and firm boundaries – especially when it comes to your precious time – is the only way he’ll know you’re serious.
Problem: Mornings are crazy and you can’t seem to get out of the house on time
Solution: Organization is key. You know that there are people who love to organize other people’s lives so much they do it for a living, so why not hire them to overhaul yours? Streamlining your closets, organizing your wardrobe and the kids’ sports equipment by season, and making your kitchen shelves more practical can all lead to more seamless mornings that will help get everyone to where they need to go on time.
Problem: You’d feel better if only you had more energy
You’ve probably heard the saying that if mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy, right? So do something about it.
Solution: Learn to be more selfish, but not in a bad way, of course. Getting fit might take a little more effort, but starting small and seeing better results over time will keep you motivated and you’ll also have a lot more energy. A fitness tracker is a good way to constantly remind you to keep moving and find creative ways to do so.
Downloading workout apps on your phone helps exercise stay varied and fun, there are literally hundreds of different ways to burn calories and build muscle to choose from. You don’t have to be a slave to the gym, working out when and where you want to will help you dread it less.
Problem: When you have some time to yourself, there’s always somebody who needs your attention
Solution: Get a hobby. Take up knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, sewing; all these things require enough concentration to give you a mental break from everything else going on in your busy household but keep you physically present.
If you want to take it one step further, find a hobby that gets you out of the house one or two days a week. A language or cooking class, art, pottery, gardening, or Tai Chi, something that interests you yet doesn’t require a huge commitment can give you that oasis of self indulgence in the middle of a busy week for you to look forward to.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving balance life, it does get easier as your kids get older. The irony of it all is that as soon as life gets quieter, you’ll find yourself yearning for those crazy days!