a couple of weeks ago, i was experiencing a blogging stump and was uninspired. reaching out to the twittersphere for ideas, fantastic gal-pal, elisse, suggested i blog about how - as a mother with a demanding yet fulfilling career - i'm able find that balance between work, life and family.
here are my secrets:
know what's important. understanding your priorities is the first step towards finding balance in your life. whether you're single, married or married with children, knowing what's important - things that need attention vs. things that can wait - makes it easier to figure out what you need to do in order to get through your day. in many ways, i employ the same tactics i use at work: prioritize, set goals, accomplish, move on.
for me, my priorities are: family, friends, work. remembering this helps me keep things in persepective when work is blowing up, when i'm feeling like there's never enough time in a day or when things are just all around frantic. when i remember what's important during stressful times like these, i'm able to breathe, step back, refocus on my priorities and figure out what can wait vs. what needs to get done now.
work mode vs. home mode. my time at home is for my family. while there are those rare times that i have to bring work home, i switch my brain from work-mode to home-mode as soon as it's time to leave the office.
that work issue that's been a pain in my ass all day? it'll be there tomorrow. i always close off all of my daily tasks which means if that issue is still open by the time i leave, there's no sense in worrying about it since that same problem will be there to greet me first thing in the morning (oh joy).
that document that people need by "end of day"? i'll send it tomorrow first thing; after all, this ain't my first rodeo and i know that people are not going to read anything i send to them at 5pm. in corporate-speak, "end of day" is equivalent to "first thing in the morning" so yes, pestering work drone, you'll get that document as soon as i step into the office at 7:30am. sheesh.
learning to turning off your brain (from work) isn't so easy; it's something that took me years to learn because my type A control freak self must account for every single detail. because of this awesome acquired skill, i don't even think about work when i leave the office - no checking email, no answering calls, no thinking about anything work-related. i don't even bring anything home with me - i just pick up my jacket, grab my purse and off i go. sometimes i even forget to lock my computer. oh, and another perk of being a consultant? according to corporate security policies, i'm not allowed to have my work email sent to my phon so thank you, company, for liberating me from the corporate chains of wireless technology.
i'm at peace with my somewhat disorganized, messy house. when you have a child, your house vomits stuff every day - toys, clothes, pictures, paper, shoes, dolls, hair clips, random things and the list goes on - all over the place. it's hard enough keeping a tidy, organized house on the regular but with 3 adults working full time and a child who seems to think that the entire house is her playground, sometimes i leave the mess where it is. those dishes in the sink overnight? it ain't gonna kill anyone. those clothes in the hamper? it's not hurting anything by just sitting there for one more day. no one needs a completely spotless house and having that expectation in this day and age where there's not enough time in a day is unreal so instead of fretting over things that are unkempt, i kick back and enjoy time with my family.
besides, that's what weekends are for.
i make time for me. i love raising kayla and watching her grow into a beautiful, brilliant, hilarious person however, being a mother is not my be all end all. some may frown at this and judge me but i'm a happier person when i feel well-rounded and fulfilled. and for real yo, when mama is happy, the family is happy. this means that i make sure i carve out some "me" time - time to do what I want whether that be going to the spa, going out with friends, cultivating whatever happens to interest me or even just sitting down and reading a good book in peace and quiet.
what i refuse to do is put myself last. sounds selfish? perhaps, but when a you lose yourself; lose your individuality, lose sight of your own personal interests, goals and passions, i personally believe it'll eventually catch up to you and you'll wonder where the time has gone. resentment and regret may build and seriously, life is way too short for regrets. believe me, i know how easy it is to get caught up in the whirlwind of child-rearing, keeping your marriage exciting, keeping up with the housework and a career and i know that we sometimes shove our own needs towards the backburner but doing that too many times will only come back to bite you in the ass.
How do you find that balance between work/home life?