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My husband and I work full-time, he works at night while I work from 2 pm to 11 pm (most of the time). Between that, two school kids and house chores, we run a pretty tight schedule everyday. I prep the kids and take them to school in the morning and he picks them up in the afternoon. He also helps them with their homework as soon as they get home. I’m just thankful that my mom helps us out to make sure the kids have a warm dinner on the table everyday. They are usually fast asleep by the time I get home from work so I just clean up a little before heading to bed. Not long after, my husband wakes up to get ready for work.
This is our daily weekday routine.
Rinse and repeat.
Most Saturdays, my husband is usually out for photo shoots because he does freelance photography for extra money and unless I have a blogging event to attend, I stay at home with the kids. And by staying at home I mean, I do the laundry, clean the house, fold clothes, cook, take photos for my recipe blog, write and
yell at play with my kids.
Sunday is spent with the same people, we watch TV, experiment in the kitchen, do groceries and basically prepare for another busy week.
It can be exhausting.
It used to leave me out of breath and cranky.
It still does sometimes, especially if the chores are piling up high.
But what I have learned over the years is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO ALL OF THEM TODAY.
I’ve learned to let go of the NEED to get things done right away thinking that doing so will give me more time for the kids.
It doesn’t. Because as soon as you’re done with one, you will always see another glass that needs rinsing, a bunch of dirty clothes that needs washing, a spill on the floor that needs wiping, scattered toys that needs burning and be rid of forever and ever. IT. WILL. NEVER. STOP.
And where does this leave you? Exhausted from doing everything, guilty for not spending time with the kids and displeased over the fact that you never got the time for yourself.
I attended the Sun Life Financial Mom’s Day Out yesterday and while listening to Family Life Specialist, Michele Alignay talk about Balanced Motherhood, I found myself laughing and nodding along with the other mommies who were present at the event. I laughed because I could relate to so many of stories that she shared with us and nodded because I agreed with so many of her recommendations on how to balance family and self care.
According to her talk, “balance is the feeling of being in touch with one’s self, of continually entering energy with the cooperation and conscious support of all other parts” and that there are so many things in life that can throw us off our equilibrium like responsibilities both at home and at work, not to mention that emotional roller coaster that we go through on a daily basis.
According to Michele, we need to have that sense of awareness and we should purposely set boundaries, learn to say no, sit back and find ways to restore our balance.
I agree. Self-care should be one of our priorities because I totally agree that “a well-balanced mom has more to give her family!”
So how can we insert self-care in our super busy life as working moms?
In many ways!
Pockets of silence
I call this my recharging time. I am a trainer by profession so I spend a good amount of time at work interacting with trainees and fellow trainers. At home, I have a 6 year-old who talks non-stop. Constant external stimulus and the need to respond to people leave me exhausted and totally worn out.
What I do is that during my break at work, I retreat to an area in the office where there’s few people and I just sit there, scroll on my FB, think, drink coffee or stare at the wall. I don’t care if people might think of me as aloof. By being unavailable for a few minutes, it allows me the time to regroup and gain composure.
At home, before starting my day, I give myself 10 minutes to enjoy my coffee before making breakfast and prepping the kids’ lunch to take to school. This is a NEED for me because I am unable to function without my coffee. Since the kids are usually asleep when I get home, I also take advantage of the silence. I’d enjoy a cup of my fave turmeric drink before washing up and going to bed.
Parenting is exhausting, let’s add to that a full time job. That’s a lot of things requiring our attention. A few minutes of alone time everyday can be beneficial to moms, just so we can relax and listen to our own thoughts.
Guilt-free, kid-free afternoon with friends
I also consider blogging events as my me-time. To connect with blogger friends and to learn new things.
I totally agree with Michele when she said we need to let go of the need to control things that are beyond us and relinquish tasks that stresses you out. Just because there’s laundry that needs to be done doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our need for social interaction. One that does not involve people who call us mom. Always remember that a social brain is a smarter brain. Keep it sharp by talking with other adults who challenge you to think outside the 4 corners of your washing machine.
Be a Wife First
Another thing that I really loved about the talk was that Michele highlighted that your marriage matters. To me, your marriage must take center stage in your family. Sometimes we fall into a pattern where the kids come first all the time and the husband has to wait until the kids are in college before his needs are attended to. NOPE. I love my kids so much but one of the best ways for me to ensure that we raise them in a happy and healthy home is to ensure that I have a happy and healthy relationship with their father.
There are days when I tend to forget this but whenever I catch myself pushing and pushing my husband’s need away to make way for the children’s needs, I always remind myself that this guy is my partner, so I pull him closer and hand him the dirty shoes so he could wash them.
I remind myself that I should be a wife first. Setting a good example to the kids will help them form a healthy understanding about respect, responsibility and relationship. And this to me is very important.
Be a Household Manager and Not a Slave
Nobody said that you should do everything at home. Give everybody a responsibility, even the small kids! They can handle minor tasks like picking up toys from the floor and wiping the windows. This is something that I practice at home. I delegate tasks because:
1. It’s the right thing to do. We don’t want our kids growing up lazy and feeling entitled. My 12 year-old washes his and his sister’s uniform every afternoon (they only have 1 set each). By delegating this task to him, I have less work to do at home after a long day at the office and I am assured that when he grows up into a man, he will not smell like garbage. My 6 year old is tasked to put water in the jugs every night.
2. If some of the chores are done, it gives me more time to spend with the kids and I do not turn into a monster. We all benefit from it.
Self care doesn’t just mean keeping the wrinkles at bay, it also means working on our inner psyche. Do what you gotta do to keep that harmony in your inner self because before we can give, we gotta have something to offer. You can’t be running on empty.
Thoughts? Share them in the comments!
Your friendly motherblogger from Cebu. Healthline – Best Mom Blogs 2017, ESCooped – Cebu’s Top Family Blogger 2016, Top 10 Blogs Voice Boks Comedy Edition, Bloggys 2015 – Finalist, Family and Relationships Category, featured on BlogHer.com and HumorWriters.org. Jhanis also blogs at ThirdWorldKitchen.com.