Lets face it. Being a mom is hard. Working mom, stay-at-home mom, part-time working mom, self-employed mom, its tough, no matter how you “mom” it.
I never in my wildest years ever imagined that I would have to literally plan my day to a “t.” Since I have returned to work in October, my life has been in a constant state of chaos: numerous illnesses courtesy of daycare, days running into the office late, days where the weather is so bad I dread going into work, late nights with sick kids, late nights when M is on call, and late nights catching up on laundry. Its like having a newborn all over again, as you are constantly tired. I mean, it is chaotic but its manageable. But I am happy to report that my family and I have come to a point where everyone is on a good schedule and we’ve “figured things out” (I think??) But it takes time to get there.
I mean, the months returning to work after maternity leave is hard. Your kids are confused (why is mama leaving me?); you are confused (did I forget how to talk to adults?) and everything just seems to be confusing for a while…..and that’s okay. This is now my second time going back to work after maternity leave. Its tough but eventually you get through it and “figure it out” (whatever that means). What is my secret to this? Well, its no secret because so many people are already masters of this wonderful tool called balance.
According to dictionary.com, balance is:
“ 2. 3.
How does a busy parent of small children achieve this?
Well, these are some of the things that I have been incorporating into my life. Its not perfect and some days it can be messy, but you learn how to deal with it and move on. My tips are as follows:
Staying organized – every night, I prepare my outfit and the boys outfit for the next day. The worst is if you have a late night and wake up late but nothing is ready. Then you just end up scrambling. I also swear by a calendar to write all our appointments and other extra-curricular activities and place numerous reminders on my Outlook. I swear that baby brain is a real thing, and keeping everything organized helps. Here is a nice calendar I bought at Winners to jot down appointments, commitments and deadlines:
Prepare meals in advance – some things are easy to make in advance and place I’m the freezer, like pasta sauce for instance. Cutting up fruit and veggies and placing them in containers for snacks is also another great idea. Its a good way to stay healthy and on track. Works for kids too!
Coffee (or tea) break – This is self-explanatory.
Cleaning schedule – delegate certain nights for certain tasks and get the rest of the family involved! Long gone are my days when I can spend 3-4 hours on a Saturday cleaning. With two small kids, thats not an option anymore, (I’d rather do fun things with the kids anyways on weekends) so I break it up throughout the week. For instance, Monday nights when M. is at the gym and kids are asleep, I clean the washrooms. Kitchen we always wipe down and vacuum after dinner (babies and toddlers make a huge mess so we always end up vacuuming after anyways). I find that keeping things tidy makes it easier and when it comes time for a deep clean (spring cleaning for instance) I send my hubby and kids away. That calendar I bought is also a great tool to create a cleaning schedule.
Exercise – need I say more? Its healthy for you and a great way to relieve stress. My husband and I alternate nights going to the gym. I usually go when the kids fall asleep and hit the treadmill for about 45 minutes or do a virtual fitness class. Sometimes, if I don’t feel like driving, I will work out at home and there are lots of great workouts for free on YouTube. If the weather is great, I’ll take the kids out and push the stroller or wagon for a nice long walk. Everyone wins! With work and other commitments, I try and aim for some form of exercise three times a week. Its manageable!
Ask for help – there is no shame ever in asking for help. Sometimes we rely on our parents or friends to ask for help and that is okay!! Yes we can be supermoms but even the best of supermoms need help once in a while and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I find that I get overwhelmed with life and I’ve learned that the best thing to do is ask for help.
Accept that things are never “picture perfect” – I am trying to let go of this idea that things are “perfect.” (i.e. kids are in perfect outfits; I have the perfect outfit; everyone eats dinner politely; there’s never a mess; we are always on vacation visiting countries with warm climates, and so on and so fourth). The point is, I’ve learned to let this idea of “perfect” go and accept and embrace reality- which is being a working mom with two small children. Some days I go to work and not realize I have snot on my shirt, but in my mom’s own words: “whatever!!!” It happens! C’est la vie!!!
Take the time out for yourself – this is key. Ask your hubby or a relative to watch the kids for a few hours while you go to the hair salon or to the mall solo. Sometimes you just need a few hours to yourself! This is more for your sanity.
Overall, the main thing that I have learned so far in my journey as a mom is that you can only do the best you can. You have to adjust your life and be in tune with the lives of your little ones and your spouse. With that being said, sometimes things don’t go always as smoothly as you want it to, and if that’s the case, you just learn how to roll with it! Like they say, life is a balancing act, and being a mother is no different.