I remember reading a quote that went something like this…“Life is what happens while you’re planning something else.” A statement that could not be truer for a working mom. Life can come in the minor inconvenience of a mid-morning phone call from the school nurse asking you to pick up your sick child right now, a leaky roof that a repair man has to come investigate, or an otherwise reliable car that suddenly will not start. Or sadly, life could emerge in heavier situations such as the need to give permanent care to an elderly parent in your home, or God-forbid, one of your children is gravely ill, or you become a widow.
When you are in the throes of life and hip-deep in work, how in the world can you be expected to keep an organized home, balanced by a peaceful schedule? Is that even realistic?
“God never gives us more than we can handle” always floats to the top of my spirit when life throws me a curve ball that misses my swing and vibrates my world. Since God is in control and is in every event that happens to me, I know He has equipped me to push through (whether I realize it at the time or not).
Once you have been blessed with a career and then promoted into motherhood, God has equipped you to become a multi-tasking genius–one that can delegate, be diligent with meeting self-imposed domestic deadlines, and find the time to relax a little. The rub can be whether you have become conscious of it.
Here are a few tips:
* Help! It’s such a simple word, but one many of us are too prideful to use. One mistake working moms make is embracing the fantasy they should do it all. Refusing to ask for help when you need it is not noble.
* Stealing moments during lunch or breaks from the office to take care of personal errands and responsibilities can go a long way towards freeing time that you could use at home. Do some light grocery shopping and drop off dry cleaning during this time. Even taking time to plan your meals for the week will save time down the road.
* The dread of having to concoct delicious meals every single day and night can be a doozie. For help, click here, see mouth-watering recipes, many of which can be prepared on a Saturday for you to refrigerate and enjoy during the week. Planning your nightly meals a week at a time will give you freedom you never knew possible.
* When it comes to chores, it’s much easier to conquer a little each day instead of all at once. Allow ten to fifteen minutes a day for cleaning. When you get a chance, visit flylady.com for tips on how to stay on top of household chores by dedicating a few minutes a day. Create a daily chore chart for you, your husband, and your children that will not overwhelm everyone. Delegating is a gift that benefits you and your children. It can give you a much needed break from a particular chore, but more importantly, it can teach your children responsibility that will carry them through adulthood. Proverbs 22:6 says to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
* With your husband, prayerfully determine the number of activities your children should participate. Idle time is a wonderful time for children to stretch their imaginations and be creative with their play. Camps, little league teams, girl scouts, etc. are fabulous, but too much can overwhelm your child and put a strain on your family schedule.
* Schedule quiet time with your husband and children. It may sound cold to have to book time with your family, but the reality is working moms are pulled in every direction by every person they brush up against during the day. When sacrifices have to be made, protect the quiet time appointment you have with your kids. Require that they protect the time on their calendar as well.
* Relax. Put into perspective what is really important to you and your family. Your kitchen isn’t as clean as some model homes? Maybe you think something is growing in the toilet. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
Keeping your life in sync requires a deliberate and dedicated spirit that embraces flexibility while knowing when to ask for support. Make your schedule elastic when possible. You will always have to make sacrifices and for a working mom, it’s a daily occurrence. Unfortunately, work-life conflicts never go away but through prayer, careful planning, and diligence, navigating can be easier.
Rita Stone Smith
Currently a stay-at home mom, Rita Stone Smith is a former public relations professional. She is married with two children.