When you’re a busy mum, life can become little more than a juggling act as you try to balance work commitments (if you work) with housekeeping and most importantly, being there for your kids without dropping the ball and letting anything slide. It can be really tough, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up making yourself stressed out to the point of illness. It’s time to say not to the busy mum juggling act and admit that, maybe you can’t do it all and actually you don’t want to either
There are lots of things you can do which, although they might feel like dropping the ball at first, won’t cause any major disasters, but will make a difference to your quality of life and the quality of life the rest of your family enjoys. Here are some of them:
Prioritize – The best thing you can do if you want to achieve a better work-life balance and give up the busy mummy juggling act once and for good is to start prioritising your life. Take out your calendar, a pen and a piece of paper and write down all of the things you think you have to do each week. Then list them in order or priority before adding them to your calendar. Then focus on the most important tasks each day. As long as you complete the tasks that are most important in the day, don’t sweat the small stuff.
I must say that, when you’re doing this exercise, you shouldn’t necessarily prioritise work stuff over family life. Your family is, after all, the most important thing in your life and scheduling time to spend with them every day is the best thing you can do for them and for yourself.
Relax on the
Housework – We all like to live in clean, tidy homes, but do you really need to spend two hours a day vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting and polishing? Probably not, and what’s a more few people will notice whether you do or not.
As long as your home isn’t actually dirty, and you have enough clean clothes to wear and dishes to eat from, you can afford to relax and cut back a little. You can use the extra time to have fun with your kids, go to dinner with your spouse (if you’re lucky enough to find a babysitter) and generally enjoy being part of a beautiful family. That’s more important than a perfectly pristine kitchen, right?
Put The Kids To Work – Not quite do far back, kids used to work as chimney sweeps or be sent down the mines for 10 hours a day, and although I think we can all agree it’s a great thing that children aren’t exploited like that anymore, we seem to have swung too far and now we never ask our children to do anything at all, not even clean their own rooms. If you want to give up the juggling act and live a more relaxing life, that’s going to have to change, and you’re going to have to give the kids a few chores so that you don’t have quite so much on your plate.
Assign them simple tasks like loading the dishwasher or putting their own toys away, and when they’re older maybe let them help you chop veggies for dinner, and not only will you have an easier time, but they’ll learn about responsibility. If you give them pocket money or treats for completing their chores, they’ll also learn about the value of money, and they won’t grow up to be spoilt teenagers who think that you and the world owes them a living.
– It might not be for everyone, but if you work and your current job is leaving you with little time to play with the kids, eat dinner with your family or even think about anything that isn’t work-related, you might want to consider making a change.
Leaving your job to work freelance or set up your own business is a big step, and it can be a risk, but it does give you a lot more control over your own life. You can work set up your schedule so that your kids and partner come first before work, rather than the other way round, and depending on your choice of career, you may be able to work at home, so you can take care of your own kids most of the time, instead of relying on crèches, nurseries and family members when you’re stuck at the office.
Becoming self-employed also presents you with the opportunity to do something you really love, rather than something you put up with to pay the bills. For example, if you just love working out at the gym, doing a personal training course with Origym could enable you to spend all day every day working out and having fun; if you like writing setting up a blog and making it your business will allow you to do that more; or if you love baking with the kids, setting up your own cupcake stall at the local farmer’s market could give you more time to participate in your hobby, and that has to be better than being stuck in an office 10 hours a day, missing your kids and having little time to yourself, right?
If you want to claw back even more of your time, so that you’re not running around like a headless chicken, outsourcing could be the answer you’re looking for. There are thousands of freelancers out there offering up all kinds of services from data entry and fact checking to content writing and telesales, who would be only too happy to take on some of your simpler, yet time consuming tasks, so that you can get home and do the laundry or cook dinner for your kids at a sensible time. You can eve n use freelancers for non-work-related tasks like shopping for birthday presents, doing the cleaning and walking the dogs if you wish.
If one of the reasons why you’re so stressed out, trying to juggle too many ‘balls’ at once is because people are making too many demands of you and you just can’t say no to them, you need to practice being more assertive right now. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your boss asking you to stay late at the office, your friends asking you to go for a girlie night out or your husband complaining because his shirt hasn’t been washed and he wants to wear it in the morning, if you have other plans, you need a break or you simply don’t want to do whatever, just say no. Your time outside of your contracted working hours is your own, and unless it’s your kids who need you, grown adults can make their own arrangements and look after themselves without you. Obviously, never be rude or aggressive when you’re making your wishes known, but be firm, explain your reasoning and leave it there. Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something that will hog the time you could be spending with your precious children.
Don’t Feel Guilty
As a busy mum with a lot on your plate, you should never feel guilty about taking some time out to relax, put your feet up and watch the latest episode of Twin Peaks or old episodes of Gilmore Girls. As long as your kids are clean, well-fed and safe, you have nothing to feel guilty about, and actually taking some time out to recharge your batteries will make you a better, wife, mother and employee/ business person.