When I was a young beginning teacher, my mentor once asked me if there was anything with which I was struggling and needed help with. I responded that I was struggling with finding the balance between work, taking care of my family, housework, and extracurricular things. What’s interesting about this exchange is that my children were small then, and not yet involved in a thousand different extracurricular activities each week. My mentor then responded we all struggle with that, and if I learn any tips to please share.
Fast forward twelve years. I am still teaching, my kids are both in school, both girls dance 12 hours a week, we started an organic farm, we’re involved with activities at church….you get the idea. Sometimes my house doesn’t get cleaned and sometimes my laundry is piled up…and while those things get on my nerves, I am learning to give myself grace.
I am by no means an expert in this area. In fact, I haven’t even gotten really good yet at time management. What I can do is share what we are trying to do.
1. Pare down extracurricular activities
We decided to prioritize our activities. Since we do not want to give up anything church related, we opted to continue those. Instead of each girl taking six dance classes a week, my girls are only taking four classes each. This cuts down on costs as well…and I still have time to go to the gym while they are in class.
2. Get up earlier
This is absolutely an area where I struggle. I am a night owl and am not good at going to bed early. I also am not good at getting up early. However, I cannot deny that getting up early gives you more time to get things done. This is especially true if no one else is up yet.
3. Try to get work done AT work
Ok, this one is hard. I am a teacher, so there frequently are lesson plans to write, papers to grade, emails to send, slides to create…the list goes on. As bad as a struggle to keep work at work so I can focus on home at home, sometimes it just isn’t realistic. I am just doing the best I can to get better at this.
4. Focus on one cleaning task at a time
We don’t get all of the daily chores done every single day. We don’t get all of the weekly chores done each week. But, by breaking our household chores into manageable blocks to be done on specific nights, it means these things get done more regularly, which helps us a lot. You can also assign specific chores to each member of your household to share the load.
As I said, I am no expert. However, I am learning that by giving myself specific expectations for each area of our lives, we have a greater work-life balance. It’s not easy to juggle everything but it isn’t impossible.
How have you found a balance in your life?