Being a mom is the most incredible experience. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real to look at Juliana and know this smart, beautiful, funny three year old is my daughter and I get to be her mommy. To me watching her become her own person when a few years ago she didn’t exist is the craziest thing. Motherhood is fulfilling in a way I cannot express in words, but it’s also the hardest. No matter how hard I try, I know I can be doing a better job for her. Trying to balance everything and always keep her as my highest priority feels like walking a tight rope; body is constantly swinging from one side to another, correcting and then over-correcting.
Since starting Fifteen Minutes to Flawless, this walk has become more challenging. My love of beauty and fashion and a desire to share prompted me, but I had no idea I was tapping into such a strong passion. It’s been an exciting ride, but I’ve learned I need to frequently assess my priorities to make sure I am the mommy Juliana deserves (or at least as close as I possibly can be!). To help keep my priorities right and still keep going with this new passion, I’ve forced myself to get better at time management. I’m still so far from perfect, but here are five things that have helped me balance motherhood with my work and this blog:
- Analyze yourself and find out where you waste time. Before starting Fifteen Minutes to Flawless I’d burn time mindlessly scrolling through Facebook/Pinterest, and now the temptation is even greater because social media is such a huge part of blogging. I probably wasted an hour every day! Now I try to set aside time first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening for social media (unless it’s to quickly drop a photo), and then it’s for a purpose. Having this schedule has also helped reduce the temptation to check my phone when I’m spending with Juliana and Ridge. Unplugging in this way is something I’ve struggled with and while I’ve gotten much better I still slip up from time to time. Another way I’ve wasted time is texting. Texting can be distracting if I need to focus on something I’m trying to accomplish (like a blog post), so instead of texting friends and family I try to call loved ones when I’m cleaning or doing laundry.
- Time-block. This has been a big one for me. I talked about time-blocking here and it’s been one of the biggest keys for me to that delicate tightrope walk. 8am-5 or 5:30 I’m at work, 5:30-8:30 is family time, and then 9-11 (or midnight) I work on the blog. (The exception to this is once a week Ridge, Juliana and I will take blog photos after dinner). This routine has helped make sure the other stuff doesn’t creep into our family time, but also allows me to get done what I need.
- Have a master to-do list but create a daily to-do list every morning. I found when I work off my long to-do list I get less done than when I pick five things, write them out separately, and promise myself I’ll get them done that day. I don’t know what it is about seeing a short list, but knocking things off feels less daunting. I follow this strategy for work and for my blog and this way I’m usually able to get things done in the time I’ve blocked out for them.
- Know when you are most productive. I’m most productive in the morning and late evening (after 9pm). Knowing this, I try to tackle the big projects on my work list in the morning so I have less brain-intensive activities in the afternoon. This also makes it easier to wrap up things at work on time to get Juliana from preschool–or to have the laptop closed when Ridge comes back with her.
- Get up early. A few months’ back I stopped sleeping in on the weekends (ok, I still do occasionally when I’m really sleep-deprived!). I found that getting up around 7:30 on Saturday and Sunday allows me to get so much done in the two hours before Juliana wakes up (so lucky my kid sleeps in!). Along the lines of sleep, the other thing I’ve done is find out how much sleep my body needs vs. how much I want. I used to sleep 8-8.5 hours a night but I’ve found my body does just fine with 7. If I get less than 7 on a consistent basis, I start to feel it, so it’s a fine line (err, skinny tightrope).
I hope these tips are helpful whether you’re a working mom, stay-at-home-mom, or just plain busy human…I mean, isn’t that pretty much all of us? 😉 And if you have any tips to add, please, please let me know in the comments below. I’m always trying to find news ways to improve at this whole balancing act!
And lastly but most important, Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mommies out there!!