Friday, September 4, 2009

Why You Can't Balance Family and Work Time

This week I will be skipping Fun Food Friday (will return next week) to write more about balancing family time with other responsibilities. I feel that this topic has become even more important in my personal life recently. In addition to starting this blog, I have also re-entered school again, and am of course still at home full time with my children.
Everyone is talking about time management, and finding balance between work and family. Can you really have balance between the two? Well, the answer is no- of course not! Now,before you hate me, please continue reading. Balance is impossible- because you can not split your time equally between family and work, and other responsibilities. Are you going to keep a scorecard, accounting for each minute in your day? Furthermore, the two should not be equal. Most of you reading are at-home parents, you will obviously spend more time with your children, that's why you are at home. Even parents who work outside the home are likely at home more hours every day than they are at work, much of this time is just spent sleeping ;) at night.
The desire to find balance is less about time and more about feeling like we have given our best everywhere we could. Drumroll, please... also impossible! We cannot give 100% to everyone, all the time. Find out what your priorities are and allot your time accordingly. There's so much information on this, I won't add to it (right now, anyway) and you can probably figure it out on your own, or go hunt down some help. The point is to give your time and energy where it is needed most.
Especially for at-home moms and dads, finding time to accomplish even the most basic duties can be difficult. Here are some tips:
  1. Find lost time. This one is basic- go through your day, and re-evaluate how you spend your time. Do you wait around at the doctor's office, flipping through a magazine? Maybe you can bring your home binder, and set up next week's schedule, or start some blog posts. Do you have to watch all the TV you currently do? Can you cut out one show, or watch it while doing housework, such as folding laundry, dusting, or picking up the living room? This tip is easy, and you'd be surprised how many hours a week you can pick up.
  2. Set up time schedules. It's hard when you stay at home with kids, even more so when they're younger. Toddlers are not known for leaving mommy alone so she can get her work done. Children do need to learn how to entertain themselves eventually, so why not start now? Establish a set time when the children play alone (with you watching, of course!) and use this time to check something of your list. Even carving out a 15 minute period can make a difference. Work out a daily schedule, and include time with your kids, partner, and solo time. (More on time systems next week.)
  3. Keep it in perspective. You don't have to do everything. Keep asking- in a few years, what will I remember? Will it be important that the house was always clean, or that I posted to my blog every day? Maybe, you'd rather remember the time your kids picked up their first frog outside, or your monthly date night with your husband. I know which is more important to me! There's nothing wrong with a clean house, in fact, keeping your home is important for the sanity and serenity of your family. But your family is the most important thing. I personally cook a homemade dinner almost every night- that's what is important for me- but again, you need to find your priorities. I take Sundays for an offline day, it's just for spending time with my family and friends. Take a little time today to figure out how you want to spend your time, and make a plan for it.

If this post inspired you, please leave some comments, or your own time tips.

This post is linked to Family Friday at HomeEverAfter

Finer Things Friday at Amy's Finer Things in Life

Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses.

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Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I know that I could definitely apply some of these tips to maximize my time. Have a great weekend!

mahmommy said...

I'm glad it was helpful, thanks for stopping in.

Ruth J Leamy said...

We probably need a schedule, but I am dragging my feet all the way! As soon as I attempt a schedule it gets interrupted. Makes me feel like a failure constantly.

Amy @ Finer Things said...

You can have it all, just not all at the same time. :) I heard that once and think it really rings true.

mahmommy said...

Ruth- schedules are hard, I was the worst w/ these. Just take it one step @ a time, even when sometimes the step is backwards;)
Amy- absolutely!

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