Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Parenting Is Tough


Last weekend I attended the Teach For America 25th Anniversary Summit. I got to reconnect with so many amazing old friends, and I found myself inevitably talking about and reflecting on how we are all trying to work toward social justice while also balancing the needs of our family. After all, we are in this work to make the world better, but we aren’t actually working toward that goal if we make our family miserable. 

Then I read this article about how you have to choose three things from this list: 
Work. Sleep. Family. Friends. Fitness. Pick three. And remember, you can choose a different three every day. As long as it balances out in the long run, you're ok. So don't put pressure on yourself to do all five of those things well every single day.
I definitely feel like that described my life in the past several years. I picked work, family, and sleep. And I definitely felt the impact of not having time for fitness and friends. 

So this year is the year of Health and Wellness, which is very exciting, and I'm even squeezing in some friendship into it, too.

My friends and I traded strategies about how to balance everything. One of my friends has a full-time nanny, and another one has a live-in au pair.

Here are my strategies:
  1. Have a husband who works from home. This helps a lot! 
  2. Get my groceries delivered each week. I actually spend less money than when I go to the store. And it would still be worth it, even if it cost a little bit more! 
  3. Make lunches in bulk on Sunday to decrease the amount of time it takes overall and alleviate some of the stress during the week. 
  4. Prep dinner ingredients on Sunday. It makes pulling together dinners so much quicker during the hectic week. 
  5. Don't watch TV. I do watch some Netflix, but I have to stay away from TV series because they are so addictive and are such a time suck. When I stick to movies, I am much more intentional about using TV to relax rather than procrastinate. 
  6. Put down the phone! It's so easy to go into a Facebook coma and just veg out on my bed. Although I get a couple good things out of being on Facebook and am not one of those people who wants to eliminate it yet, I definitely need to limit my time on it. 
  7. Intentionally make time for me. I now exercise three times a week. One of those times happens while the boys are still in after care at school so they don't even really notice. One of those times happens after bed. And one of those times happens while they go to the dog park with their dad. We also put the boys to bed as early as possible to make time for ourselves at night. On weekends, we give each other about three hours of free time alone. Matt uses his to play soccer, and I usually use mine to write blog posts (I write them on the weekend and schedule them to run during the week). 
  8. Intentionally make time for us. Matt and I go on a date night once a month, and we are now trying to take a trip together once a year. 
I think those are all of my strategies! Please share yours in the comments so I can add to my repertoire!

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Sarah Kopper said...

Love the idea of watching movies instead of shows. We do mostly the opposite (I have trouble watching a movie in a single sitting which annoys Neil), but I see the benefits of switching our approach.

Meal prep is a lifesaver for us. I feel so much better when I eat well and it is so much easier to eat well when the hard work is already done.

Allyn said...

I love the idea of a yearly trip! I can't believe I never thought of it,. We are lucky in that our in laws are only 3 hours away, do they take our two boys for a weekend every other month or so, but we usually end up painting or something boring around the house. Maybe we have to go to a wedding or event. But the idea if planning something fun and away for the two of us is brilliant

Sara E. Cotner said...

Yes, Allyn, it is AMAZING! I hope we get to do it again this year.

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