It’s nothing new to say that we moms are trying to do it all these days. I know women who own businesses, volunteer in their children’s classrooms weekly, find time to host girlfriends in their homes, drive multiple children to and from activities and are still coming up with creative endeavors for their future. But even these women don’t always feel like they have achieved balance.
For years my personal mission statement has included the goal of a balanced life. I can’t say I’ve achieved it but I’ve certainly learned a lot as I aim toward it.
1. Write a personal mission statement.
Sometimes just clarifying what you really want out of life is the hardest part. Writing a mission statement gives you a template from which to set goals, maintain priorities and help you know when you should be saying yes and no. My mission statement is: To create a healthy, positive and balanced life for myself and my family. To be generous, never stop learning and strive for good design. And above all, to do everything for the glory of God, becoming a women of noble character and grace.
2. Give your best yes
Learn to say no. Busy moms hear this a lot but, until now, haven’t known how to do it gracefully and without guilt. Author Lysa TerKeurst shares the brilliant trick of the ‘small no’ in her book, The Best Yes: Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, available here. My interpretation of the ‘small no’ which has given me a whole new confidence in both saying no and yes is to simply state that when I take on a project I like to do it right and give it my all. By explaining that at this moment I cannot offer my best yes to said project or request makes everyone feel like I’m actually doing them a favor by saying no. And then I’m sure to add that I’m open to being asked again in the future. This way you actually find yourself available to give your best yes when the right occasion or project does arise.
3. Embrace technology
So often technology seems like a distraction or even a nemesis (like when your whole contact list is erased) but when used effectively, it can make you feel like a super hero.
Amazon Fresh has changed the game when it comes to grocery shopping. I make my list right on the phone app as need arises throughout the week and then I grocery shop from the comfort of my sofa, often with a glass of wine in hand for the full effect. Private Facebook groups are an amazing way to quickly communicate with a group of parents. I can find out about missing homework or get a reminder about a field trip from each kid’s class page. Banking apps, texting to keep in touch, and working from home out on my sunny deck (like I am now) are just some ways technology can help create a balanced and enjoyable life.
4. Keep it simple at home
All white linens and towels make it easy to throw it all in together and bleach your way back from any mess. The less dishes you own, the less you use, and the less you have to wash. For me, laundry and dishes are the lamest part of the homemaking duties and totally distract from the fun stuff. I recently discovered the coolest product from the family owned company Puj. Their PhillUp cups are a brilliant solution to simplify parenthood, which is their mission.
5. Work hard, play hard
I find that there is a natural ebb and flow to motherhood. Some days are demanding from the moment you wake till way past when the kids are down. And other times you unexpectedly find yourself alone with a few hours to spare. I say, ride the wave. Work like mad when you need to, check off all the to-do boxes and then chill when you can. Take a break and don’t feel guilty! Let the dishes sit and the clean clothes pile up. Your sanity is more important and the dishes will be there when you’re back in go-mode.
6. Make date night a priority
I thought dating my husband was pretty important when our kids were babies but now that they stay up late and have their own opinions around the dinner table, date night has become paramount! My husband and I rarely see a movie on date night because it’s not about being entertained, it’s about connecting. My favorite story is of a high-powered, busy couple who have committed to spending one hour every evening in their own living room. They have a glass of wine and talk uninterrupted every day, if there is a secret to strong marriage this just may be it!
7. Play to your strengths, get help with the rest
It really does take a village, none of us can do it all alone. Offer your talents to your friends and accept their help as well. Gleen from other’s best practices. Most of my best mom tricks are not original, they are the brilliant solutions of a host of more experienced moms. Have your kids make their own lunches, even as young as first grade this is doable. If you can, hire a house cleaner so that you can spend free time doing the things you love with the people you love. Ask to carpool, it isn’t a new idea but I think sometimes we forget it’s an option. It’s healthy to realize we need each other. Similar to learning to saying no graciously, learning to ask for help is one of the secrets to a balanced life. It feels good to help others, give that gift to the people around you, and let’s have it all.