by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
You look down at your beautiful newborn. You know you couldn't possibly love anybody as much as you love this child.
Then along comes a second sweet bundle, and like magic, that love explodes. There's enough for two with plenty left over.
Why doesn't your time and energy experience this same miracle? We wish that we had a magic wand that could expand the hours in the day and allow you to finish your chores. We don't, but we do have suggestions that can get your life feeling less chaotic.
Setting the Stage for Success
While you probably won't discover extra days in your week, you can choose how to spend your minutes and hours on the things most important to you.
Think about your priorities. Focus on the important stuff, not the urgent emergencies that tend to crop up. What would you like to accomplish long-term? Which items are the priorities today or this week?
Priorities can and will shift at any particular moment throughout the day. Practice staying focused. A day-planner can help you keep on track.
Organize Your Work
Create a calendar for projects and a "things to-do list" for the day. Check off tasks as you complete each one. To keep focused, leave room for those "must do yesterday" tasks that tend to crop up uninvited!
Organize Your Home
Add your household chores to your calendar. Schedule when you'll take care of them so your household can run smoothly.
Other moms have shared their organization tips, including:
• Planning dinner ahead of time
• Setting aside a day to do grocery shopping and those other "after work runs"
• Have a laundry day, bill paying day...
• Learn to delegate tasks within your family
• Allow yourself to redefine "good parent"
Keep the Kids on Track
You can schedule the kids "stuff," too! Pack diaper bags and backpacks the night before. Lay out outfits for the next day and set the table to help cut morning chaos and to get you all out the door. Are the kids older? Schedule their extra-curricular activities!
Set Aside "Me" time
At times, your personal time might overlap with couple time. Your connection with your partner is important, but not more essential than taking care of yourself.
Don't neglect self-care, including taking time to exercise, working on improving your lifestyle, looking for ways to relax through prayer or meditation. Heck, squeeze in time to go to the bathroom -- alone -- and rest. While we know you have to juggle a lot on your plate, make time to actually go to bed instead of falling asleep in the chair or on the couch.
Meeting the Challenges
In today's competitive work environment, employees are increasingly expected to work over and beyond a normal work day. At some point, however, parents must set clear boundaries to focus on family and shut off work.
Setting Your Work Boundaries
If you have to bring work home, set hours aside for family first. That includes kids and your partner. Allow yourself only to "work" outside of that time.
During vacations, resist the temptation to check email or answer phone calls, if possible. You need this time to recharge which, in turn, will make you more productive when you return to work.
Touching Bases with Home Life During Work Hours
At work, set boundaries for your home and kids. Emergencies aside, you really can deal with sibling wars, laundry woes, and planning a birthday party later, at home.
Let your family know that you do care and are there for them but explain that the more interruptions you have at work, the less time you can be with them later.
You can stay connected with your family throughout the day without it negatively affecting your work! Plan your breaks to be consistent throughout the work week.
Use these breaks to:
• Give a call to touch base with your significant other to let them know you are thinking of them.
• Talk with the kids or their provider to stay filled in on what's happening.
• Use that time to make needed phone calls or respond to family/friends.
This little "touch of home" helps you feel less frantic later on as you are able to stay in tune with one another.
Learning to Juggle
Whether you work away from home or have a business at home, juggling your life, family and career continues to challenge parents of all kinds. Have you discovered a better way to juggle your priorities? We'd love to hear your tips!