The Case of the Disappearing Mommy

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been MIA for a while.  Not blogging.  Not checking blogs.  Not doing anything other than hunkering down behind my computer and working, working, working.

Of course, I have a great excuse. I’m working on a big book deadline along with a smaller work deadline and all in the midst of trying to spend time with my kids when they are off school for the summer and with my husband when he’s taking his one two-week reprieve from work for the year.  But good excuse or not, I’m struggling with it.

I’m struggling to keep my head above water.

I’m struggling to stay focused when I desperately need a nap and some quiet time.

And most of all, I’m struggling with the fact that I’m supposed to be a stay-at-home mom and yet I’m spending more time working than with my kids.

I’m sure they’ve noticed that I’ve upped my babysitting hours this summer in order to finish these deadlines.  And I’m sure they’ve noticed that I’ve been around much at all.

I think this is the eternal dilemma for moms:  We want to be there while our kids are young, but we also have dreams, hopes and careers of our own.  How do we balance that?  Without losing ourselves and our kids in the process?

As I’ve contemplated this, I’ve spent some time asking Mr. Google for work/life balance ideas.  Here are a few that I’ve come up with, but I’d love it if you could add to the list.  How do you balance life and parenting with positive results?

4 Tips for Finding Work/Life/Mommy Balance in Busy Times

  1. Go for quality instead of quantity. When time with your kids is limited, make sure the time you do have is well spent.  I’d made it a point this summer to take my kids on bike rides, to go swimming, to play on the floor with them during my precious mommy time.
  2. Let something go. I just don’t have the time for everything in my life right now.  And if I’m going to have to let something go, I don’t want it to be my kids.  So, I have to admit that I’ve slacked off on the chores lately.  I’ve tossed clothes into laundry baskets without folding them and I’ve made PB & J for dinner more than once.
  3. Get away when you’re working.  I’ve worked from home for years, and usually don’t have trouble balancing the occasional interruption to my day when my kids need something.  But right now, I’ve made it a point to get away from the house when I’m working so I can make the most out of my work time… and of my home time.
  4. Give yourself a break. I learned how essential rest is to motherhood—and work–after I decided to wake up every morning at 4:30 to write for a few hours before the kids woke up.  It lasted for a week and then I realized that my brain was so fuzzy and I was so exhausted that I was doing more time zoning out than writing.  As important as it is to find work time and kid time, it’s also important to rest.

Question for you: How do you find work/life balance?

6 Comments

  1. I work FT out of the house and I have the same issues with balancing everything as most moms. I try to give 100% at the office when I’m there. When I’m home with my daughter, I give her 100%. No cell phone, no computer. After she goes to bed, I then allow myself to wrap up pending work or house chores. I have had to let go of the ‘perfect’ house and settle for clutter on the counters because that’s just not that important any more. I think I’ve actually lowered my standards of what a clean/organized house looks like and accepting that helps tremendously. I also recognize that I can have everything I want over the course of my life…just not all at the same time. There is only so much of me and I want to cherish the time with my daughter NOW so I sacrifice some of the things I may want to do for myself/career now knowing that she’s only a child for a brief time.

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  2. I don’t! My life is constantly teetering somewhere. :)

    I agree with the getting away from home to work and making the most of your face time with your kids.

    That and not buying into the myth that we can do it all. There are times and seasons, and if we try to do it all, we’ll wear ourselves to cinders.

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  3. Work-life balance is one of my favorite topics. I don’t have any solutions for rest… except that stealing a nap in the middle of the day helps me grab some time in the early morning and the late evening. And I can only sustain that when I’m working on a project that has an end in sight. I’m very selective about what I allow into my life (this has taken time). I’ve cut out anything that feels like an obligation. I’ve whittled my life down to the most important things and my plate is still overflowing. But that helps me think about it in a different way. When I’m juggling everything I love–when I’m being pulled by all the good things– I see it as abundance, not being out-of-balance. (Even if it makes me crazy).

    Oh– I grabbed a double stuffed Oreo the other day and thought of you!

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  6. Okay, first of all, Congrats on book #2!!! Secondly, I am struggling just as much to try and fit it all in and not neglect my kiddos, husband (or my responsibilities) in the process. It’s pretty tough to do, I’ll admit.

    I want my kids to have a great summer so I have spent a lot of time with them doing a number of activities. This makes me feel better each night as I sit down to write (you know, when I should be sleeping instead). The night-time is definitely “my-time,” to accomplish what I need to for my writing.

    Balancing life and work can really make us stressed-out moms (speaking from experience, of course). We just have to take it one day at a time, live it to the fullest, and do our best. That’s all we can ask for.

    Jenny
    P.S. I have to give you major kudos. Don’t know how you wrote your first book in one month’s time but you certainly have rock start status in my eyes. Wow!

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