So, some big things have been happening in the past couple weeks for me. I am excited to say that the book series I have been working on for the past two years is about to be published! I am beyond thrilled that my dream of becoming a published author is coming true, but it definitely adds an extra amount of work to my already busy life. As a stay at home mom, I’ve always tried my best to spend a bunch of time with my kids during the day. I love doing outings with them to places like the zoo, and going for long walks in our local parks. Being able to leave the house makes my life easier because there are so many things to do and see. The kids are happy and get to expend a bunch of energy without me having to do much, which is great!
Lately, I’ve found that I’ve had so many things on my “to do list” that I have been struggling with finding time to get it all done. Balancing housework, making meals, playtime, working out, book publishing stuff, me time, husband time and family time is a lot. So, in the past few weeks, I started trying to do some of the book stuff and a little more housework doing during the day and letting my children have a little more ‘independent’ playtime as I try to get some stuff done. In doing this, I have been finding myself getting more stressed because of all the things I have to do during the days and more irritated when my children keep getting into the way of what I’m trying to do. It’s an ugly circle.
If there is one thing I know, it’s that when children start getting in the way when you’re trying to do something, it’s because they want attention. This happens sometimes with my son and daughters when I am trying to make dinner. Jack will start getting clingy and the girls will start playing in the cupboards. When they do this, I know that what they are really asking for is quality time with me. I am glad that I can recognize when the kids need my attention, but it definitely adds a level of guilt to my day as well. I don’t think any parent wants to be so busy that their children need to ask for attention. I know that it doesn’t happen a lot with my kids right now, but I’m afraid that if I don’t figure out some kind of strategy to balance work with play, that it might continue to be a problem.
So, I have figured out a couple things that I can do that will hopefully let me spend more time with the kids during the day yet allow me to get all my household chores and work at the same time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Let Things Go
Since January, I have been writing two articles a week, for this blog. I love writing and love giving a family food article along with a more parenting based article. Until my work load lightens up a bit, I am only going to do one article a week. That way, I can write one good article instead of trying to pop out two articles I’m not really happy about. It might be a small change, but it will add an extra hour or two in my day that I can spend with my kids. Even just saying this makes me feel a little lighter.
A good portion of my day is spent in the kitchen. Some days, half of that time is spent looking in the fridge trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Or lunch. By developing a meal plan and spending a portion of my time in the evening making those meals (and using my slow cooker), I know that the amount of time in the kitchen will be reduced and I can spend more time with my kids or use some of the time I usually spend cooking to complete some housework.
As an added bonus, by meal planning you can make sure that you get all the necessary food groups into your meal. As I am trying to be more calorie conscious when I eat, I can also make sure that the food I am making is low calorie!
Schedule Your Week
One of the challenges I find during the week is trying to fit in everything that I need to do. I have it all stored up in my head, and I make lists of things I need to do, but I always find that my day works better if I know that I have time to get things done in the evening, so I have more time to spend with the kids. Or, maybe I want to spend an evening with Jarrett and have a date night, so I might to try to get things done during the day. By scheduling my week out, I can know when I need to do dishes, laundry, work on my books, have a date night or have a ‘me’ night.
Incorporate Your Kids Into Your Schedule
I think it’s important to get your kids as involved as you can in your daily schedule. Especially during things like housework or cooking. It teaches them life lessons, and gives you an extra hand. Plus, it’s quality time together. It can be hard getting your kids involved when they are younger, but getting them to do things like stir a pot or help pour ingredients is lot’s of fun for them! Jack really loved unloading the dishwasher when he was one, and then stopped for a while, but now that he’s three he likes to help again. I’d avoid anything that involves chemicals, but things like sorting laundry, putting away toys, and helping with the dishes are great chores! Please don’t let your child help you when you mow the lawn. It’s not safe as there are blades and rocks getting spit from the lawn mower. Keep them indoors.
It’s really important to find a healthy life balance between work and play. If you go to any seminar about finding success, they will say pay people to do the mediocre things like cook and clean and pay your bills and watch your children. For many people, that is not an option. If you are like me and can’t pay someone to do the mediocre things, try incorporating these simple things into your lifestyle. Even if you do one thing, you will definitely be able to find a little more time for your family or your work.