Being a mom of four, wife, daughter, and friend is a full-time job in and of itself, but layer onto that a full-time job plus a creative outlet in writing for this community, which I love, and my plate is what you would call FULL! So how do I do it? I truly get asked this question often whether at work, church, on social media, in the grocery store, and many places in between by both friends and strangers.
My answer is quite honestly and frankly, “It takes a village and strong coffee!” I definitely do not have it all figured out and more times than I can count my proverbial merry-go-round is spinning out of control. Here are a few tips I feel are too good not to share that may help it spin at just the right speed:
Find your Village!
This really speaks to the proverbial quote, “It takes a Village”! I am very fortunate to have both my parents and my in-laws very close by to provide help when life spins a bit out of control. I’m specifically speaking about weeks when your little one has a fever so school or daycare is not an option, but they still have full energy so laying on the couch while you get work done is out of the question. I’m talking about weeks when your normally manageable 35-hour work week has ballooned to 50-plus hours and you need help. I’m talking about times when your kids all have to be at different events that happen to be in all different directions and you just need another trusted taxi driver.
My advice to you is to cultivate this village, pour into them, and if you don’t have a support team then seek one out. Whether that be through church, a mom’s community group, or having a sincere conversation with family or close friends to get the support you and your family need. This village could also mean outside help from professional babysitters, cleaners, meal delivery services, or anything that supports your family, takes things off your plate, and helps you focus on the most important thing time with your loved ones!
Prioritize your Day!
Whether the night before or sometimes the morning of take a moment to set your goals, intentions, and/or things that you must get done. I LOVE A LIST, so it may be as simple as having a list of short-term and long-term things to help you stay focused. Somedays I can clear the list, but most days I move things over from day to day until they get checked off. Back to the village advice, if you have things on the list that keeps getting bumped think about how you can tap your village to help you achieve those. Also, sometimes I can overwhelm myself by thinking too far ahead… when you’re in the thick of it just take it one day at a time and plan for long term things when you can.
Work in the Fringe Hours!
It is hard to work when your kids need you so when I have time-sensitive assignments and/or goals, it is best for me to get up early or stay up late to accomplish these in the hours that my kids are sleeping. I know some moms live by the nap time, but with older daughters who have aged out of naps that is a special time to focus on them while my youngest children rest.
These fringe hours are critical but remember not to cram more than two fringe-hour working sessions into a week because that can lead to burnout. Strategically planning a few late nights or early mornings to catch up on work and/or creative outlets really helps me feel on top of my ever-growing to-do list. I could be tackling work assignments, PTA volunteer projects, family calendar planning, or anything in between. I love when my to-do list turns into a done list because I can really enjoy my work hard, play-hard personality!
Lean on Experiences from Other Successful Moms!
I recently attended a local Working Mom’s event sponsored by Thrive Motherhood a non-profit motherhood community in Raleigh, NC and we heard from an inspiring speaker Lisa T. Grimes. Lisa a successful businesswoman and mother of two, summarized some major themes from her co-authored book “Remember Who You Are”:
Lisa explained that while we are all juggling many balls such as motherhood, marriage, work, friendships, a focus on our health, faith, and many more things some of these balls are more valuable than others and we must prioritize the ones that are most precious to us. She also reminded us to drop heavy balls, like negative self-talk, worry, comparison, guilt, and others that just weigh us down as Moms. I truly value role models like Lisa and especially my own Mother who have balanced successful careers, families, faith and all the important little things in between with grace and composure.
Enjoy the Ride!
I hope that these tips for keeping your own merry-go-round of life set to the right speed reminds you that not a one of us has it all figured out and that working mothers need to support each other as much as possible!
Think about your own community or village, how can you help another Mother or someone in your village today? You will be surprised by the support that can come back around just like a merry-go-round! Here’s hoping your life’s merry-go-round spins at just the right speed and that your coffee is STRONG!