Balancing life as a wife, mom and educator definitely presents itself with challenges. During the last few months of 2017 and the beginning months of 2018 I felt like my life was spiraling downhill. It appeared I couldn’t create a balance and started to find myself going through the motions of day to day activities. I gained an excessive amount of weight, wasn’t cooking as often as I used to (hence the weight gain), wasn’t working out and it appeared everything was getting done at the last minute. I actually started getting comfortable with scrambling to get things done, as long as they were done.
Then my weight challenges started to affect my health. Last minutes started turning into last hours as I found myself staying up to 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning trying to complete tasks. Fortunately, I didn’t turn into Grumpy Smurf, but in being honest with myself I was not as effective as I could have or should have been in any of my roles. Mid-year I decided something had to change and I needed to regroup and reorganize my life. Now, I know I can’t predict life and the changes that come with it but I did put some things in place to make family life less stressful.
- Using a family planner – This idea was presented to me by a blogger. She stated she uses a family calendar and they track all of their events on the calendar for the month. Ha! It took my family six months for us to even think about writing something on the calendar. By the time we made the decision to do it, we were approaching the time of the year when we are the least engaged with school and work activities. This was a perfect time to practice. We are now at the point where we track every activity that impacts other family members. If it requires someone having to get up earlier than expected, it has to be on the calendar. If it requires someone coming home later than usual, it goes on the calendar. Anything that causes an adjustment in our days has to be noted.
- Using my personal planner more efficiently – I use the family planner to create my list of things to do for the week. I allow the family planner to guide each of my personal decisions. Once I input the family events, I plan around those happenings and create my own list of tasks to complete daily. I list everything except breathing and walking. Whether it’s going to the grocery store, working out, picking up clothes from the cleaners or picking up my son from school, it is listed as a “to do”. I don’t care if it takes five minutes or 50 minutes, it is on the agenda. This helps me plan more effectively and it has allowed my responsibilities to become more manageable.
- Getting off social media – I’ll be the first to admit, social media is a distraction for me. I can sit on Instagram for hours and just sift through picture and memes. This was causing a distraction for me because it was taking away from the time I could have been using to complete a chore. Recognizing this, I’ve started logging off of social media an hour before my bedtime and I don’t log back on until I arrived home the next day. This affords me approximately 4-5/week hours on social sites. This is more than enough time and has caused me to focus more on my endeavors versus someone’s cute picture or funny meme.
- Cut the TV off – This summer I watched so much TV it was unbelievable. I’m not the biggest fan of television and I usually just watch the reruns of Law and Order SVU. But this summer… Anywhoo, we have limited television time during the week. We record our favorite shows and watch them on the weekends. This takes less of our time because we are able to fast forward through the commercials and this concept is a time saver. We are saving at least 30 minutes by watching a one hour show on a date later than it is aired.
- Set an alarm – My husband and son always ask how many alarms do I have set. I set an alarm for every chore I complete daily. I have an alarm set for my devotionals, I have an alarm set for the time I collect my son’s phone in the afternoon which is also the same time I should be finished with dinner. I have alarm for doing laundry. These alarms are set to help maintain a steady flow during the day.
Practicing these habits have gotten me back on track. I am now able to do more of what I enjoy. I’m reading for pleasure again. I work out at least four times a week and it is much needed and very satisfying. I’m back to cooking on a regular basis and it’s pretty obvious my family is enjoying it. This plan has helped each family member progress and it has made our life a little easier.