The Secret to Managing Motherhood
Well, hello again there good ‘ole Thursday! Nothing sets the tone to the start of a perfect week like a 5:00 am wake-up, am I right? Out of bed early, devotional and journaling done, get a feel-good workout in, all before the sun rises and the kiddo is awake. That delicious and nutritious lunch is all packed, you lovingly kiss your significant other good-bye, wake-up that sweet adoring kiddo who jumps right out of bed and gets ready. You drop her off at school and you’re off to work. Life is grand! Except I’m 99% sure that 99% of your mornings are’t like that.
Chances are if you are sitting here reading this (and praise you for finding 5 minutes to yourself to do so), then you are trying real hard to manage it all. Maybe you’re a young mama trying to understand how on earth you’re ever going to shower again without a baby glued to your breast, or a working mom who is struggling to remember that she needs to bring 12 plastic eggs to school this week that are nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo approved and non-gender specific, or the stay-at-home mom who has 3 kids under 5 or 4 kids under 4 or 17 kids and counting and hide in the closet with wine in a mommy time-out! And if you’re the single gal or the newly married gal with no kiddos I applaud you for still being here. Regardless of the chapter of life you are currently in—welcome!
The truth is the hashtag life of today’s woman—you know the #girlboss #bossbabe #bosslady lifestyle is not as easy as all those influencers make it out to be. And if we are being totally truthful here, most of them have way more help than they let on and outsource a ton. But, I have a secret for you, despite the challenges of the work-life balance limbo, you can manage it.
Secret to Managing it
So, you want to know my secret on how to manage it and seemingly, do it all? Well, the secret begins with :
I do not manage it all and I do not do it all;
Time Management, and
Priority (and / or) Priorities
Seriously, no one can do or be or manage it all. No woman is super woman. And if you see women on social media claiming they have all their ish together, they’re lying or have a ton of help! But, there are some ways to try to do it all.
Time management is not a new or groundbreaking development in the world of motherhood. It is, however, the most precious and scarcest resource we have. Everyone gets those same 24 hours. And in there you have to cram in all the things—whether that is work, parenting, business building, sailing away to a desert island…. You get it. Within that short 24-hour window you have all the commitments and responsibilities. So, the first step is to truly understand the difference between your “committed” time and your “free time.”
Seriously, I challenge you to sit down and plot out how much time you already have committed each day. Are you intentionally committing that time to something you’re striving to achieve because it’s what you want? Or are you literally wasting your scarcest resource on something that brings you no value?
So, once you determine the time you already have committed you know what’s left and that is your your free time—how many hours in a day you actually have.
Let’s Talk Priorities
Now, let’s move on to priorities. These will be different for everyone. For me its family, health and work. One of my priorities is working out each morning at least 5 days a week—a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for me. For other its may be something totally different and that is OK. Just remember, not everything is a priority, nor can it be.
There’s no doubt that there should be some core universal priorities to live a balanced and healthy life – i.e. eating healthy and having an active lifestyle, taking care of your mental health, getting adequate sleep (at least 7+ hours) and spending time with loved ones.
The rest, may be more subjective.
*Think about it* Reflect on what your top 3-5 priorities (or single priority) is. What do you want to incorporate in your life day-to-day? What are your long term goals?
So, you have this list of priorities and you know about how much free time you have per day. Now you just do some simple math—divide up that free time each day with how much time you want/need to spend on priorities. It may sound a bit scientific, but its not. It really is about scheduling time to pursue the other passions you have in life other than laundry and playing taxi driver. Now, there will be times that you will need to juggle to make it all fit—whether that means less sleep or shortening your workout to get some extra time in for your side hustle, you have to put some structure around it.
Oh, and in case you didn’t already know it, things never go according to plan. Be flexible, but create a plan that works for you. And let people know of this plan. Write it down. Whether its a paper planner or large calendar, let anyone who needs to know that you have plans and from x-y on whatever days you are not free. Manage your time effectively, efficiently, and smartly, and it won’t take long before you’re able to balance it all.
MANAGING EVERYTHING: A DAY IN MY LIFE
And to make things more real, here is a little glimpse into my attempt at managing everything.
I work a full-time job as a lawyer for the 15th largest city in the US, Monday-Friday 7:30-5. Including the commute, my committed time is roughly 45-50 hours a week, or 10 hours a day during the work week. Beyond work, I’ve got a ton of other hobbies, goals, and interests – aka priorities – that take up my free time. I teach dance and baton twirling on Saturdays; I workout at least 4-5 times a week in the mornings; I drive gymnastics carpool on Monday nights; have date night with E on Wednesday nights; oh, and I create content for this blog, my social media and run 2 virtual fit groups.
A typical day may look like this:
4:45 am – up and at ’em
5:00-5:30 am - devotional and journaling
5:30- 6:00 am - workout
6:00– 7:00 am – get E, and dressed for school, get her breakfast, shower, get ready for the day and make my shake
7:15 – Drop E off at school
7:30 am – Arrive at work
7:30 – 5:00pm – At work
5:00 – 5:30pm – Commute home – listen to podcasts
5:30 – 7:00pm – depending on the day-gymnastics, swimming, dance, make dinner, eat, play with E
7:00 – 8:00pm – E’s bedtime routine-bath, stories, rock, lights out
8:00 – 9:30pm – Hang out with my hubby/doing some blog work if did not during lunch time
9:30 pm – Bedtime
So, at this point you are probably wondering how on earth I do any of the things—truth, I spend some time on the weekend time getting prepared for the week ahead and I have an amazing husband. I meal plan, he shops for groceries. I cook, he cleans up. I drive E to activities, he does the laundry. I workout in the morning and do drop off, he picks her up and works out weekend and 1-2 days a week. Sundays are also spent cleaning, organizing and spending time catching up if need be.
All that being said, I find a way to fit in my main priorities with thoughtful planning ahead of time, and doing “the best that I can”. For example – I would LOVE a world where I could go to a spin class or Fit4Mom or barre during the middle of the day with other moms. But, I work full time, so 30 minute a- home workouts fit the bill.I would love a play date at the zoo on a random Tuesday, but Sundays will have to work.
Another example – I like a neat home, but let’s face it, I cannot clean deeply all the time. Nope. I have a lovely cleaning lady who comes every other week. And in between, its all about the robot vacuum and the steam mop on Sunday nights.
Time is a limited resource, but in the ends, there’s no better way to manage everything than having fun at the same time. Take care of yourself and your mental health by giving yourself a break every so often. I take a daily walk outside in the afternoon, I utilize a stand-up desk, I drink a ton of water. If anyone can do it, it’s you. Here are some other tips from other awesome ladies on how they manage things as well!
Time for you to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
And there you have it! Leave a comment below to share your tips on how you manage everything! Happy balancing!