Thursday, September 14, 2017

How to Balance Mommy-hood

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Filed under For Parents

bluebonnetsI was listening to a webinar once on maintaining balance in your life and the presenter (I can’t remember who it was or I would definitely give credit) explained this exercise to illustrate how we maintain balance:

Stand up on one leg and close your eyes. Notice how you feel. What are you doing to keep your balance? You are making small adjustments to maintain your balance. That’s what work-life balance is like!

I’ve since noticed a lot of blog posts and Facebook statuses mentioning the elusive work-life balance. I always think of this exercise and the small, constant adjustments that must be made to maintain this balance.

Routines are one way I maintain my balance. I’ve written about work routines, but lately I’ve been thinking about routines for mommy-hood. My greatest resource for routines is Flylady.net. Be sure to check out her site–but be warned! There’s a LOT of information on that site and it can get overwhelming if you try to do ALL of the steps at once. Her whole method is about being nice to yourself and establishing one habit at a time.

When my kid was born, I had a hard time re-establishing routines. I started by writing down what I thought should happen, which wasn’t following the rules of being nice to myself or establishing habits! So after a day or two of not living up to those expectations, I scrapped those routines and just wrote down what was actually happening. Poof! I’m already doing this routine, so I start off successful!

Here’s what I was doing:

Wake up, start coffee, morning hygiene.

Change the baby, give him some milk, let him play in his crib.

Drink coffee, play on my phone.

Once I had a routine written down, it was easier to get started in the morning. I could check these things off my list, know that I was taking care of me and my family, and I could start to set some goals and determine how to implement them. I had a goal to start working out again, so I added the habit of getting dressed for my workout after I poured my coffee and before I played on my phone. Leaving my kid in his crib to play for a bit became a purposeful time for him to play independently, instead of me feeling guilty that I just needed some quiet time to drink coffee.

I was also able to acknowledge that I was “putting my oxygen mask on first” and not being selfish by turning on my coffee and taking care of my needs before I addressed my child’s needs. My mornings became more sane, and I felt more able to handle taking care of my very active kid.

Plus, I was now dressed for my workout–almost before I knew what was happening–so it made it easier for me to just go ahead and exercise instead of making excuses to put it off. After this routine became established, I added the next steps:

Pouring my second cup of coffee, going downstairs to start laundry, and writing at my computer for 30 minutes.

Then I make breakfast (a smoothie my husband sets up in the blender the night before), put clean dishes away, and check the calendar.

While having breakfast, I talk about the schedule with my husband, let my kid play in our bedroom while I make the bed, and then we go brush our teeth.

Then we all workout together.

The key for me was starting where I was, writing it down so I didn’t have to think about it and could check to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and then slowly adding more steps as I built each habit.

How are you maintaining your balance?

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