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I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that being a mom is a job in and of itself. Throw a career into the mix and you’ve got two full-time (or full and part-time) jobs demanding your attention. So, how do you balance the two without losing yourself — or your mind?
This was a question I found myself asking last week. I have been blogging for 3 months now, and Joshua is about to be four months old! When he’s not napping, he thinks he has to be in my arms at all times which means I only have 30 minute to an hour increments (2 hours if I’m lucky) to get all the things done. Over the last 3 months, my go-to in those moments has been to work on my blog, which caused my house to become a disaster and me to become overwhelmed because I wasn’t getting any me-time (self-care is important, ladies!!!).
I spent some time looking at different #WAHM (work-at-home mom) schedules on Pinterest. There are some great tips and printables out there, but I wasn’t finding anything that spoke specifically to me, my personality, and my life as Joshua’s mom.
If you’re anything like me, writing down exactly when to do things stresses you out. If you don’t eat your breakfast by the scheduled time because your little one still hasn’t laid down for his nap, it throws off your whole day and you have already started out with a feeling of stress and defeat. (And what stork is dropping off babies at people’s houses that follow nap time schedules, because I’m going to need his number.)
I knew I needed something flexible to incorporate all that life, and Joshua, has to throw at me, so I sat down and created my own flexible schedule. During my Pintrest-ing, something that was very intriguing to me was time blocking which, essentially, is budgeting your time like you would budget money. I took that idea and tweaked it to be my own (as I encourage you to do with all of this information because no schedule is going to be perfect for everyone!).
What are your main duties?
First, I thought about the most important things that I wasn’t getting done or knew I needed to budget more time for. These things, for me, were (in no specific order) cleaning the house, working on my blog, being a mom, spending time with God, spending time with my husband, and having me-time.
Looking at all of my “main duties,” I decided to divide up my day into 4 categories and sprinkle Joshua-time throughout the day as needed (depending on his day-to-day self-made “schedule”).
These categories are:
Me-Time: Read my Bible/pray, read a book, watch TV, shower, etc.
Wife-Time: Clean the house, pay bills, to-do list
Work-Time: Anything pertaining to my blog (writing, social media, video editing, etc.)
Family Time: Spending time with my husband by cuddling, talking, watching TV together, playing games, etc.
My husband and I had recently decided that we want to turn off our phones by 7:30 pm and spend time together, so the first thing I blocked was “family time.” I also had been trying to wake up by 5:30 am to get more things done before Joshua wakes up around 7:30, so I added these times first.
Now that I knew when my day began and ended (before family-time), I was able to divide up the time by three to fit in my three remaining categories. This gave me 4 hours and 40 minutes for each. (This may seem like too much time for some of the categories, but you never know what is going to happen. You may have to run an unexpected errand, your kid may decide not to take any naps that day, or you sleep through your alarm. Allotting yourself too much time is better than allotting yourself not enough time.)
Suggestion: You can divide these between however many categories you have, allot more or less time to one of the categories depending on the needs, or move back and forth between categories each day (like block scheduling in school).
Now, it was time for me to fill in my categories. I decided to start my day with me-time because I am not a morning person, and I usually sit and watch TV for far too long before starting anything productive. I put work-time (blogging) at the end of the day because my husband is usually home by 3:30 and can watch Joshua so this is my most uninterrupted time. That left wife-time to the middle of the day.
The flexibility of this schedule is perfect for me. I can’t schedule an exact time to eat breakfast and lunch because I never know exactly what time Joshua will be napping. With this schedule, I know that sometime during me-time I need to eat breakfast, and sometime during wife-time I need to eat lunch. I also try to go for a 45 minute walk with Joshua around 2 pm depending on when he wakes up from his nap.
Other Helpful Tips
Get a planner!
I have been using a planner since the 4th grade. If I didn’t have a place to write down all of my to-dos, my head would probably fall off and roll away. Having a planner or just a simple desk calendar to write everything down gives your mind a huge break because you’re not having to store all of this information up there!
Check out these mom-planners!
I got this idea from Raising Kids, Making Money. This mom suggests making a to-do list of tasks that only take 5 minutes. So, when you put your baby in her bouncer in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and you know that will only keep her content for 5 minutes, you have a list of things you can get done rather than wasting that time thinking about what you can get done.
Pray Without Ceasing
When you’re feeling the stress, “cast all anxieties on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Know that somedays you just aren’t going to get things done. I literally typed half of this blog with a screaming, sick baby in my arms. All I accomplished today was taking him to urgent care for a fever and speed-typing this post.
If all you get done tomorrow is cuddling with your little one because she had a bad day, then you did exactly what needed to be done that day!
Learn from the hiccups today and grow to have a more productive day tomorrow.
And remember… You’ve Got This, Mom!