Balance. It is something we as mommas strive for, yet I wonder if it is something that really exists.
For a long time, I thought about what balance looked like for me and my family. My circumstances have changed a lot since becoming a mom, as I have navigated the waters of working mom, stay-at-home mom, and freelance work-from-home mom. In each instance, I stressed strived to find the perfect harmony between my time and family time.
Balance, I have realized, is not a perfect harmony. Navigating life as a mom isn’t even about finding balance, but rather, it is about finding your priorities. In order for me to keep a semblance of sanity and my family as priority number one, I must have my time carved out in five different areas.
When I was seeking the perfect balance, I thought my time had to be more, well, balanced. But I realized that it never will be. And that’s okay. How I spend my time will ebb and flow, whether I am spending a Saturday out shopping with my baby girl, going on a date with the hubby, or having a girls’ night out. Or I might have a week where I am working a couple evenings.
I have found that by allocating my time amongst those I love most (including myself!), I am able to keep my priorities – and my head on – straight.
Here are the five things I need to keep my sanity:
1. Family Time
I love the time I spend with my family. Even if it’s just a lazy Saturday building forts, playing at the park, or swimming in the back yard, the simple times we spend together are the times my heart cherishes the most. I enjoy doing things just the three of us, with extended family, and with friends. For me, it’s important that we get the core family time in as much as we can during the evenings and weekends, since my husband and I are both working during the day.
2. Me Time
Confession time: This is a constant struggle to not feel guilty about me time. But I need it so badly for my sanity. My husband is good about making sure I enjoy time for myself to rest and unwind. And yet I feel like with the free time I have, I should be accomplishing a task — like laundry, cleaning, meal prep, or writing this blog post. 🙂 But writing is relaxing and enjoyable for me, and one of the things I am most passionate about.
I need me time to recharge so I can be my best self for everyone else around me. During this time I enjoy writing, going for walks (slowly running again after a long hiatus!), baking, and praying. I have found that my relationship with God is directly proportionate to my relationships with others, and I need the calming, peaceful presence of God to fill me and give me the grace, love, and strength I need to be the best momma, wife, friend – and the list goes on – possible.
3. One-on-One Time
Most days, I get to enjoy a good bit of one-on-one time with my daughter. She does daycare drop-off with Daddy, and each evening I pick her up and we get time just the two of us until Daddy comes home. And we tend to alternate who does bedtime, which allows each of us the opportunity to have that one-on-one time (or much-needed alone time, depending on the night — let’s be honest). I love the special bond we have during our mother-daughter time, and I love almost even more the bond she is creating with her father. (Side note: Overhearing daddy-daughter bath time has to be my favorite thing ever. Especially the part when my usually non-singing hubby sings to my daughter, “Oh where is my hairbrush?”)
4. Husband Time
Focusing on my marriage and spending time with my husband are huge priorities, yet I don’t do either as much as I would like. For the sake of my hubby and for my daughter, making sure I get quality time with him is a must. It may be a conversation over a mid-week dinner, a few minutes to catch up before catching shut-eye, or a stay-at-home date night, but this time is so necessary for my marriage and for my peace. My husband is my rock and my confidant, and I am so thankful for the time we share and that I have him by my side through life’s adventures. I want for my daughter to see the healthy relationship we share and the love we have for each other so that we might be a good example to her.
5. Girl Time
One of my girl friends has taken to hosting semi-regular margarita nights. Not going to lie, I look forward to these more than a strong cup of coffee on a sleep-deprived morning. I need fellowship with other women, time to share what’s on our hearts and to be there for one another. Time with my closest friends restores my energy and uplifts me in a way only women can. Their encouragement and support remind me that I can get through anything, and that I am not going through it alone.
This list is not to make you feel like yours should be the same. This is what I need. Sometimes I fall way short of my time in certain areas and heavy in others (such as one-on-one time and needing the hubby to help so I can get me time). The best thing I have found is to identify and communicate my needs so that I might be able to shift things around if possible. This is where communication with your significant other or those closest to you is key. Don’t feel guilty asking for help.
And remember, seasons of motherhood are temporary. Things will change. The craziness of mom life will take you in different directions and demand your time in different areas. Trying to fit in all of the above priorities is a struggle for me at times. That’s when you just jump in and navigate as best as you can. As they say, keep on swimming – and remember, as mommas, we’re all in this together.