Soooo, second blog post and things have changed!! I shouldn’t be surprised…. guess that's what happens when you wait so long to write again. But there are many reasons (excuses?) for that. It’s hard to find the time. As the title of this blog post is ‘being a stay-at-home mom AND a working mom’…time is a precious commodity around here! However, being truthful with you, writing is not one of my passions! Not my strong suit. I could paint and sing all day, but writing is not one of my strengths. And I’m honest enough to admit that!
The biggest change is that I've started a part time job. Yes... I know. I can just imagine the look on your face, the head scratches and the confusion you have. I was truly enjoying the artist life (the paint covered hands, messy hair, jammies till noon) ......except for the lack of finances. If we didn't have 3 growing boys, a mortgage, car payment, etc. etc. things may have gone differently. However, we do, and taking care of our family is top priority, ALWAYS!
Yeah, I now have a job; and it's not so bad. I will admit, it was a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the correct choice for our family right now. I found a job that fits my life schedule, and at this office, the hours work perfectly for me. I still have time to be a mom and wife, a painter and a songwriter. That was important to me and my husband as there IS more to life than just money. I am grateful for an amazing husband who has continually supported my entrepreneurial spirit and my artistic abilities. So, I guess the lesson I am learning in this season is I need to stay fluid. Move where the wind blows, where life takes me. And be able to find the joy in it even if it isn't how I saw things going. Nothing is set in stone; things will inevitably change. The main thing in my life is that I trust God with whatever season I am in. He has always been faithful, and I know he will continue to be!
I am very quickly learning - organization is key. And that doesn't come naturally to my creative self. I felt I was scrambling to put dinner on the table, to find time for exercise (something I dislike), to find time for playing my guitar (something I love), to stay on top of house chores, etc. So, I started meal planning again, scheduling studio & writing time, family days. It IS craziness and completely overwhelming if I take my eyes off Jesus. But when I focus on Him everything just flows. I had to put Jesus first in all I do, and then find the balance between work and play!
Here is my top 5 List for Working Moms to Balance Work and Family
1. Let go of the mom guilt
FIRST AND FOREMOST! We as moms are often judged as soon as we return to work for “abandoning our children”. Fathers are expected to work and provide for the family, but when we have to work to also contribute, a sexist stereotype gets thrown in our face?
Some women don’t even have the option to be a stay-at-home mom. Some women want to go back to work because they don’t want to give up their career. Or maybe some women want to work to simply have a break from motherhood. Whatever their reason…they should not be judged or shamed. Time to let go of the guilt and shame!!
2. Reduce time wasters
As I’ve stated above, time is a precious commodity. At work, focus on work. Be aware of the time you spend socializing with co-workers, long breaks, or even surfing the internet. You want to get the MOST out of your time at work.
When at home, focus on your spouse and your children rather than being on your phone or watching TV. You want the time spent together to be meaningful and intentional.
3. Organize with calendars and lists
Plan ahead as much as possible!!! Don’t leave something to the last minute that you could have planned and taken care of beforehand. The mental load for working mothers is one that no one can understand. Use planners, apps, fridge calendars, and other handy resources to keep track of the never-ending to-do list. Using a shared calendar app so your spouse and children can easily see what is coming up and needs to be done will also help you let go of some of the mental weight.
4. Say NO!
This is a HUGE one. Don’t feel bad about saying NO! You don’t ever have to say yes to every single dinner invite or extracurricular activity your child can participate in. If your schedule is causing you anxiety MORE than enjoyment…then you need to re-evaluate. You alone determine how much your schedule can handle. In the end, overbooking yourself and your family will only take the fun out of everything and leave no time for much needed rest and relaxation time!
If your schedule is causing you anxiety MORE than enjoyment......then you need to re-evaluate.
5. Lower the expectation
Eliminate unnecessary stress - the house does not need to be spotless. Home cooked meals every night doesn’t have to happen. Store bought cookies are just fine. These are ambitious goals to strive towards…. but leftovers or a frozen pizza will feed your family just the same. A lot of the pressure that moms have to cook healthy meals, maintain a perfectly clean house, be a perfect parent, AND a doting wife are expectations that we put on ourselves. No one demands as much of yourself as you do!
Working moms have it tough, no doubt about it! But it is possible to have a career and be a mom, if you learn to find the balance that works for your life and family.
So LET GO.... really and truly, no one is perfect and no one knows the right way to live your life but you and God. And wouldn't you know it, when I stopped trying to market myself spending countless hours on social media, and instead spent time seeking after Him (seek ye first the Kingdom....) I sell a painting! Hmm....imagine that.