Do you ever feel as if you need five more hours in your day to complete everything? Moms all over the world struggle between sheer exhaustion at the end of the day and wanting more hours to get everything done.
The battle is the same for all moms, no matter if you work outside the home, stay home with your kids, or work at home. I know; I’ve done all three in the past eight years.
We have to do it all, or so it feels. We have to hold down the fort because it might implode if we don’t.
Moms cook, clean, change diapers, work, do homework, read stories, play, grocery shop, pay bills, and more. The list never ends, and we balance more hats than we realize.
Moms have to be honest with ourselves – we can’t do it all.
Not even close!
The key comes when we prioritize our goals to work towards a balanced home life.
Goals help whether you work outside of the home or stay home with your kids. We all face the same feelings of crazy lives and lack of time!
How do we come up with goals and balanced home life?
Here are some of my tips that help me create a balanced life with four kids underfoot.
Decide What’s Most Important First
Before you can feel balanced, you have to decide what your most important tasks and goals are first.
That’s going to take time and requires you to look at what you try to accomplish every day. It’s also a good idea to talk to your partner to see if they have a suggestion.
Partners can help us understand if we’re trying to prioritize too many goals. My husband and I sat down with the goals I tried to accomplish each week, and he told me which one HE felt was the most important.
A fresh pair of eyes is so helpful when you’re personally attached to your commitments.
My most important tasks are:
- Homeschooling my children
- Spending time with my kids
- Spending time with my husband
- Completing my short list of cleaning chores for the day
I didn’t even put creating a healthy dinner on my list of important tasks. While that’s important, I know on a bad day I can just order pizza or make up for it the next day with a balanced breakfast. That’s okay too.
Establishing Needs and Wants
I wanted to do it all. See, I said I wanted to do it all, not that I needed to do it. When you’re prioritizing your goals, you have to stop and decide what are actual NEEDS.
What are needs that might be on your task list?
- Feeding the kids three meals a day and healthy snacks
- Spending time with your family and spouse
- Washing dishes – because you need clean dishes to eat on for those meals
- Wiping down the bathroom – don’t want to harbor bacteria
- Wash some clothes – because you don’t want to be naked
- Spending 10 minutes on yourself
Notice that I didn’t put things like changing comforters or wiping down windows. Making Pinterest-worthy dinners isn’t on the list, nor do you have to create fancy lunches for your preschooler.
I had to take a look at what was on my list and decide if those tasks were truly necessary and had to be completed that day (or that week) OR if they were tasks that I wanted to finish.
That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t attempt to complete them, but I don’t have to stress and worry if they don’t happen!
Create a Simple Schedule
A schedule is a true must-have for a balanced life. How else are you going to know WHEN you have available time to make plans?
How do you have any idea if you have time to complete all those needs and wants without knowing your available times?
You don’t have to make a strict schedule. Placing times on activities makes me feel twitchy, but I do need to know each day what my day will look like in a general manner.
You can pencil in the times you work. Add extracurricular activities, doctor’s appointments, what time you prefer to have dinner ready, and make sure you include some time for yourself to relax.
Taking care of yourself is vital for a happy, balanced life!
Here is a general schedule I might have for Mondays!
- 7 AM – wake up & drink my coffee!
- 8 AM – Breakfast served then clean up
- 9 AM to 12 PM – Homeschool Time
- 12 PM to 1 PM – Complete daily cleaning chores
- 1 PM to 2 PM – Free Time
- 2 PM to 4 PM – Work (I work at home)
- 4 PM to 5 PM – Start and serve dinner
- 5:15 PM to 5:45 PM – Piano Lessons
- 6 PM to 7 PM – Family time
- 7 PM to 8 PM – Bath & Bed Time
- 8 PM to 11 PM – Work
These are basic hours that are flexible. If I had a task I wanted to complete, I would look at what places in my day I can add those tasks.
If I wanted to get some extra cleaning done this Monday, I would know it needed to be completed between 1 PM and 4 PM. If I had errands to run, I could decide what time to run them!
Your day will look entirely different than mine, and that’s okay! What’s most important is that you write out your plan.
Yes, you need to write it down on paper! That allows you to see your schedule physically and it helps you make sense of the time you have available.
Don’t cut into your sleep time either! Make sure you schedule 7 or more hours of sleep each night. Being well-rested is very important for your mental health.
Loop Your Cleaning Tasks
One of my favorite tips is a loop for cleaning tasks. Certain tasks don’t need to be completed daily, nor do I need to stick them on my daily list, which I discuss below.
Instead, I create a loop for them. A loop is freeing! On days that you have time to do several things, you can! Some days, you’re super busy and don’t do any of them. It’s okay!
Here are a few tasks on my cleaning loop.
Clean under the couch → Swipe the couch cushions → Wash the kitchen sliding door window → clean the living room curtain → Wash blankets → Wipe the TV → Dust the piano → Wash a shelf in the fridge
My loop is larger than this, and your tasks will look different. On certain days, I may be able to do two or three of these tasks. Some days, nothing is done.
There is no pressure! The loop continues endlessly. Once you finish the tasks, you start back up again with the first task. That’s why it called a loop!
A Day for Each Chore
One of the hardest things is cleaning. Yes, cleaning CAN wait, especially on days when you feel like your child or your spouse needs more of your attention.
However, cleaning DOES need to happen at times, and it’s not wise to try to place it all on one day.
I did that before. I pushed many of my tasks to Saturday, and then I spent an entire day cleaning. I missed out on so much free time with my family! It wasn’t a wise idea, and I dreaded Saturdays.
Instead, I gained some inspiration while reading Little House on the Prairie. Ma Ingalls had a task for each day, and I took her idea!
So, each day, I have a specific room that I clean. When I stick to my list, I only spend 15 minutes on this room.
Here is my list
- Monday – Bathroom
- Tuesday – Master Bedroom
- Wednesday – Kids’ Bedroom
- Thursday – Kitchen
- Friday – Living Room
- Saturday – Outside Tasks
Remember that Those You Love Come First
Above all else, those you love come first. All of the cleaning and work that you are doing is for those little children in your home and a partner that you love.
The saying is “the days are long, but the years are short,” and it’s quite true. It’s been nearly nine years since I birthed my daughter, but those years have gone fast.
Never feel guilty for taking an entire evening or day to be with your family. Actually, that should be the most important thing you do! Take time to schedule family nights, date nights, and vacations.
Don’t let the days slip by without spending at least 10 to 15 minutes per child.
Have dinner together as a family as often as possible. Kids need this time with their parents so that they can talk about their days and bond.
Experts believe family dinnertime can help curb bad behaviors in children.
Each child needs time to feel cherished and loved. Marriages need to be tended, and YOU need self-care.
All of the other tasks can wait until the humans (and animals) in your home are tended.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Getting Help
We love to pretend we can do it all, but we just can’t.
Some of my happiest friends have outsourced help, especially for cleaning tasks. They’ve told me before they’d rather pay someone to help than miss time with their kids.
So, if you have some money in your budget to spare, don’t feel guilty about having someone come clean. Don’t think twice about it!
Not only are you giving yourself a break, but you’re also helping someone who needs to put food on their table as well.
We think that people will look upon us for seeking help to take care of our home. I promise no one looks down upon you, and if they do, they aren’t the ones who matter most in your life.
Look into hiring a mother’s helper, who is often a teenager in your area who wants some extra tasks. Mother’s helpers are great; ask on your local mom’s groups!
Prioritizing is Key
Moms, I know how hard it is. Everything seems so important. If you work outside the home, you come home, and you struggle to clean, cook, and spend time with your children.
Working at home mothers struggle to find the right balance between home tasks and work tasks when they’re under the same roof.
Stay at home mothers struggle with the never-ending tasks that children demand all day long without losing themselves.
Prioritizing the tasks you need to complete and staying focused on your needs and wants is vital to a balance.
Nothing is more important than the ones you love the most. Everything else can slip here and there!