Self-care? Life balance? And motherhood? Yes, it’s possible! We’re moms 24/7—and then some, it seems!—but we’re also women, daughters, sisters, lovers, friends, bosses, creatives, volunteers, caregivers, teammates, and, well, just, MORE! We have to be: Fueling our own inner fire is what gives us the spark to be present for those we love, to hold their hearts and hands, to play pretend four more times and read just one more bedtime book, pretty please mama?! And so we, again and again, take up the search for life balance. It’s a wobbly practice: Whether you stay at home, work at home, or work outside the home, all mamas go, go, go!
So with that in mind, we checked in with some savvy moms, much like yourself, who’ve figured out a thing or three about how to balance the going, the doing, and—most sweetly—just being.
MOM Gina Lincicum
KIDS An 8-year-old and 6-year-old twins
HER SITUATION Gina is a stay-at-home mom and and blogger at Moneywise Moms, where she’ll help you shop smarter and balance your budget (yeah, you’ll wanna check that out!. You can also follow her on Twitter and connect on Facebook). As her kids have gotten older, Gina has felt the pull to do more, wanting to volunteer in school and extracurricular activities.
HER SOLUTION Each child has one extracurricular activity, and Gina turns down projects or requests that eat into family time and other obligations. “This is one of the hardest parts; before I was a mom I thought I could ‘do it all,’ but it’s really a matter of choosing what’s most important,” she says.
To make the most of the family time she works so hard to protect, Gina follows a few simple guidelines:
- Schedule exercise, home cooking, housecleaning, even enough sleep. Keep a loose schedule in a Household Binder that keeps the home running smoothly amongst the kid chaos.
- Talk with your spouse about who does what and what amount of tasks like house care, repairs, financial management, cooking, and other chores. “We had to have this discussion again after the twins were born; I was no longer able to do what I did with one toddler once I had three!”
- Think about your roles—self, spouse, parent, volunteer—and focus on the activities that support those roles. Volunteering in a moms club doubles as me-time and time with my girlfriends.
- Regularly budget for and arrange a sitter for time for yourself, time for date night, and time with other couples.
Mamas, what’s your story, and your strategy for finding balance as an act of self-care? I’d love to know & to feature you here! Contact me! xoxox jenni
The Self-Care Strategies series originally appeared as part of my article “Working Moms” in My Healthy Beginning magazine. You can read the complete article in the Winter 2011 issue, and sign up for a free subscription to the quarterly magazine.