A Juggling Mom Finds Balance

As a stay-at home mom, I struggle to stay focused because there is so little structure in my home after I send my older kids to school.  Sure, there is laundry to do, a kitchen to tidy, children to dress, and dinner to think about, but there’s not really a schedule for the day.  And unfortunately, whenever I try to create a schedule, it always seems to get derailed by my unpredictable three year old and my demanding one year old. 
These are my two distractions during the day.

Today, I felt a sigh coming on when the older children caught the bus.  I felt overwhelmed with all I had to do, and I didn’t want to do any of it.   I also was tired of feeling inbalanced–like I was letting the house go while caring for the children or ignoring the children while cleaning the house.

I came up with an idea today that really helped me.  I decided that I would alternate between cleaning a room of my house, doing an activity with the children, and doing something for myself. 

I started by cleaning the kitchen.  It wasn’t easy to get through the kitchen.  It was about a 45 minute job and there were several interruptions.  One thing that helped me stay focused was that I cleaned only one counter at a time.  I didn’t allow myself to start another counter until I had completely finished the prior one.    Then I could see my progress. 

I was delighted when I finished the kitchen.  I actually got something done!  I then got my son Neil dressed and then started a 50 piece puzzle with him.   Caroline was busy and fussy, but I held her and entertained her while helping Neil with the puzzle.   

It was then time to do something for me.  I bundled the two children up and put them in our running stroller.  Although it was a cold day, the sun had just come out, and it felt so good on my skin.  I ran with the children for twenty-five minutes and then dropped in at a friend’s house.  She was hosting a play group.  We visited and made decorative paper flowers while the children played. 

The day went roughly like this although I had to be somewhat flexible as the children’s needs can’t always be rigidly planned.  Still, I got the kids’ fed, got them down for a nap, did a little reading and napped myself, tidied my bedroom, made dinner—you get the idea. 

While I didn’t get everything done in the day that I had hoped to,  I did feel more balanced.  I felt that I had given the children enough of my time, that my house was at least adequately tidy, and that I even got some time for myself.  I’m excited to try this tomorrow.


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