A question I’ve been asked a lot lately is “how do you do it all?”. Sometimes it comes “how do you have time for everything?” or “I don’t know how you do it all”, but it seems to be the same curiosity: how I balance my role as a mom, having a career, and now the blog. It’s a legitimate question, and first off I have to be very honest and tell you that I don’t do it all. I don’t have it all. I think because blogs–and social media– tend to only showcase our finer moments they can create an illusion about what day-to-day life is really like. You wouldn’t have been able to tell from my blog/Instagram/Facebook that I came down with the worst flu I’ve had in years this week…while in PA for meetings. I spent my first day home in bed. The next day Juliana developed an ear infection on the heels of a severe cold and Friday was spent at the pediatrician’s and taking care of her. This weekend was spent catching up on the work I missed between travel, having the flu, and taking care of a sick child. But we don’t tend to talk about those things…see what I mean? 🙂
For me, “getting it all done”, or rather getting done what really matters, comes down to priorities. Having those creates a framework for decision-making. My priorities go like this:
- Juliana and Ridge
- My career
- Sleep (7-8 hrs a night)
I’ve left clean laundry on the floor for five days because I didn’t have time until the weekend, or rather prioritized when time constraints made me choose. (I did check with Ridge on this one to make sure it didn’t bother him, going back to priority 1 🙂 ). I don’t cook every night- in fact, I intentionally cook so we have leftovers. And I don’t really watch tv…in fact I’m not following any shows at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love zoning out to the likes of The Bachelor, but it’s not a priority and the extra time usually isn’t there- and I’m ok with that.
Another thing I do is delegate. Ridge is wonderful about doing the laundry on his own, but for other household-related activities, I have to ask and he’ll do it. Broadly speaking, I don’t think guys see as keenly and constantly what needs to be done around a house, so we just have to ask. I don’t mind asking and he doesn’t mind doing, but I know couples where the girl expects the guy to see what needs to be done and do it like she does. He doesn’t, so she does it all (and resents him a little). Ridge and I aren’t that way and I think we’re the better for it!
Something else that’s helped me keep up with my priorities lately is effective time-blocking…aka putting that phone down! We live in a day and age where we check our phones every five seconds and honestly I don’t think it’s all that healthy. I’ve been guilty as charged and I’m actively working at getting better at it. My goal this year is to be much more present. I’ve made a point of putting my phone in another room when I am spending time with Juliana so that I’m not tempted to check it (or worse, start mindlessly scrolling through Facebook after the little red notification button sucks me in!). The hours of 8-5:30 are for my job, with my lunch break often dedicated to a workout or some quick photos for the blog. After that, the evenings are for me, Ridge and Juliana. Once Juliana is in bed, I pull out my computer and work on the blog. I’m getting better at this part: closing my laptop in time to get enough sleep! I’m getting better and better at time-blocking but I am not 100% there. It takes discipline and I’m hoping it’s a habit that gets stronger with time.
The last thing I try to do is integrate. Today was a perfect example. I wanted to get some photos for this post, and since Juliana was feeling better the two us took a short drive to the little cabin depicted below. We soaked up the 70 degree weather and pretended that someone lived in the house and knocked at the door (it’s a public historic building- the home of the guy who founded our town). We had fun “taking turns” making pictures on the steps. On the way back she decided she wanted to carry my tripod back to the car to help me and took great pride in tat. It was a special mommy-daughter date and at the same time I was able to work on the blog. I think the key to integrating is only integrating things that work together and don’t diminish the activities going on simultaneously…otherwise time-blocking is the way to go!
Whew, that was a long post! I hope ya’ll are still with me ;). For me, life is “perfectly imperfect”: it’s a constant balancing act. When balancing anything, things are always getting off-balance and you’re striving to bring everything back to harmony. I’m constantly shifting and juggling and I wouldn’t trade this crazy life of ours for anything :).
What are your strategies for balancing work and life? I’d love to get your strategies and ideas, so leave in the comments below!