The idea of being a mom and trying to manage all the other aspects of life can be so intimidating. It's scary knowing that your life is going to completely change without being able to anticipate how. And suddenly you have this tiny human you're responsible for. Not only do you need to fulfill their physical needs, but you're also tasked of keeping their little souls happy and nurtured. There's the sweetest hugs and the worst tantrums. There's panic and fear like you've never felt in your life and joy you didn't know what possible. You have this delicate and important job to handle all while balancing the rest of life. It's terrifying and kind of amazing!
I don't know if this is just my experience, but I remember being pregnant and having anyone and everyone offering their opinions on how my life was going to be. "Your body will be ruined" "you'll never sleep again" "you'll never go back to work, you think you will, and maybe you'll pull it off for a couple months, but you'll definitely quit" "you'll go crazy as a stay at home mom" "moms who work don't care about their kids" "enjoy your body now because it will never be the same"...etc.
A few weeks after I had Hudson I realized, this was MY life. I was the only one who knew what was best for myself and my little family. I decided there was no reason why I couldn't have, and do, everything I wanted. While some weeks are crazy and harder than others, and sometimes we have to sit down and re-adjust all of our schedules and priorities to keep things moving along, I think we've made it work.
I want to create a life that myself and my family really enjoy. I want to be productive and get things done but I want to enjoy it.
So...with that, here are my top 7 tips on doing and balancing crazy working mama life.
1. Let go of roles. Stop thinking in terms of mom, employee, wife, etc. You don't have to fit neatly into a little box with a label on it. You're just a person. You don't need to try and turn on and off the different aspects of your life keeping them separate but equal. They can all exist at once.
2. Have a schedule and multiple to-do lists for each day. This has been really important in balancing the various aspects of my life. I keep a task list for work tasks, life tasks, instagram/fitness tasks, and other. I prioritize them and anything that doesn't get done moves to the top of the list for the next day. It helps me make sure I'm staying on top of everything that is important to me. Also...plan your meals! For us, this is a big deal. We get so busy that figuring out food mid-week can be such a stressor and usually results in us just getting takeout. So, we meal prep lunches for the week on Sunday's and try to create a clear plan of what we're making for dinners ahead of time so we're not left hungry eating food out of paper containers that is negating all that gym time we managed to get in.
3. Schedule your life, but be flexible. This one is hard for me. I love routine and schedules and it stresses me out when plans change but this has been one of the most important aspects to keeping my life balanced and moving forward.
You need to accomplish a certain number of things in the 24 hours that you have. Sometimes things comes up and things need to get shifted and that's okay. It's easy to start feeling like you can't get everything done and just give up. Instead, take a deep breath, look that the time available, and make a plan.
For example, I schedule my workouts. 3 days a week I do early morning workouts before work and 2 days a week I do them right before I teach my yoga class. Sometimes I'm late getting out the door in the morning or I work later than I planned and have no time before yoga to train. Success and progress only come from consistency, so while I could just skip it and tell myself I'm too busy to workout that day, I know I need to make it work in order to reach my goals. So...I restructure. I'll move my workout over lunch or I'll opt for an at home workout while Hudson plays, participates in the workout, and sometimes climbs all over me. Or I'll wait until Aaron gets home and we'll tag team it. One of us plays with Hudson at the park and the other goes for a run and then we switch.
We're still responsible parents and employees but we take time to do the things we know we need for ourselves too.
4. Let go of judgement and comparison. I teach this in my yoga classes frequently. It's human nature to compare but it doesn't really get you anywhere. Instead, remind yourself that this is YOUR journey, not anyone else's. Don't compare yourself to others because your situation is completely unique. Also, don't let anyone else tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing. Getting caught up in all that is a waste of your precious time, so just do you.
5. Arm yourself with backup plans for your backup plans. Always be prepared. I keep and extra change of clothes, both workout and regular, with me at all times along with quick food/snacks. I also keep an extra pair of clothes and kiddo necessities with me because you never know when an explosive diaper might happen. When you're busy running between work, home, and the gym you never know when you might need these things and they can be a HUGE time saver. Also, have workout plans for all the various places you may find yourself trying to fit in a workout. I always have a few workouts saved on my phone so I can quickly sneak something in if I need to without having to stress or try to plan it when I'm short on time. I rely on Kayla Itsines bikini body guides for home or if I only have 30 min, HIIT workouts for gym and for home when I only have 15 minutes, gym workouts for when my schedule suddenly opens up, etc. This allows me to go into the workout focused and not have to come up with something on the fly.
6. Schedule down time. You need time for you and you need time to reconnect with your significant other and you need one on one time with kiddos. Make sure you work this into the craziness that is your life because without it, I promise, things will fall apart quick. When you're constantly busy it's easy to let this go but it needs to be top priority. Relationships are so much more important than tasks. So, schedule time to reconnect, put away distractions, and be focused and in the moment. This is what life is all about.
7. Go easy on yourself, embrace the chaos and allow yourself room for mistakes. No one is perfect and you'll make mistakes. You'll have crazy crappy days. You'll lose your temper, you'll miss workouts, forget things, need a day off. That's life. You're doing the best you can and your best is enough. Remember that. Just take things one day at a time, live in the present moment, and just do the best that you can.
I'd love to hear some of the things you busy ladies do to keep your lives balanced! Also, if you have any questions about the craziness that is our schedule, ask! I'm happy to answer.