- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Lynnette
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Shelley
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jessica L.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Fayth
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Gemma
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jenn D.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Annie
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Aramelle
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jessica S.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Meagan
Today, we’re continuing our series, “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” Borrowing from the fantastic blogger Joanna Goddard at “A Cup of Jo,” here is the latest from our Reno Moms Blog contributors sharing how they (attempt to) balance their busy lives. We hope you’re enjoying getting to know them as much as we are!
-Jenny & Annie
So it’s my turn in this crazy and amazing series about “how we do it,” and I must admit, I almost feel a little weird about answering these questions. Not because I can’t or because they are difficult, but because my “work” life is so drastically different from some of the other moms who have posted thus far. But I guess that’s the beauty of this series, right? That we are all so very different, living these amazing and unique lives in which we get to be called “mom.”
In complete honesty, sometimes I hate things like this because I hate the comparison game that so easily gets played between moms (often unintentionally), and I’d hate for any mom to feel that that is the purpose of this series (it’s not, by the way). On the other hand, I love things like this because you A) get to see the positives about your life; you know, why you’re so thankful you have the life you do instead of the life of the person writing, and B) you often find a few “aha” moments throughout that may prove beneficial if implemented into your own life. And so, here I go!
1. What’s your work schedule? Okay, so I don’t have a “job-job” anymore. I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling, blogging, wife, mom of 3 kids under age 6 with another on the way. It’s totally a full-time job, I just don’t get paid (any volunteers?)! My “work” revolves solely around my husband, children, home, and whatever else I want it to since I’m my own boss. Consequently, my work schedule is, well, never-ending! I don’t get a morning break or lunch break, and truthfully, I rarely sit down during the day. My husband and I share a car, and so the kids and I have a couple “home” days each week, and a couple “out” days each week (Discovery Museum, movies, swimming, library, errands, shopping, playdates, etc). “Home” days involve LOTS of cleaning, prepping materials for schooling, playing games together, fighting, arguing, playing outside, meal planning and prepping, finances, and other home type chores. Once my husband arrives home at about 5:00, I typically stop doing any household chores, and aim to spend the evening with him and the kids as a family (I will do dishes after dinner or a quick toy pick-up after the kids are in bed). I blog and write during nap times, early morning, or any other time that my children are happily playing together alone!
2. How do you handle childcare? Since I am home with my children, we don’t need childcare on a regular basis. When I have doctor’s appointments or meetings, I will often take my children to grandma’s house or to a friend’s house. In the event that no one is available mid-day to help, I load all the kids up and they just come with me!
3. Where do you work during the day? Everywhere and anywhere! When I write or work on my blog I will sit anywhere in the house with my laptop. This usually means working at the kitchen table or in the living room on the couch. I don’t have a desk or an office of any sort.
4. What do you like best about your current set-up? Being a stay-at-home parent was a decision that we made prior to having children. While there have been times where I needed to work over the past few years, our goal and priority has always been to find ways to allow me to stay home with our children, especially while they are young. I LOVE being home with my babies, and now that we are homeschooling (which I swore I would NEVER do), I am even more thankful that I have the ability to be home with them right now.
5. What do you find so-so/tricky/hilariously bad about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand? One of the things that I loved about working part-time was that my house stayed clean most of the day (i.e. if no is home, no one can mess it up!). If I had a magic wand, I’d use it to keep my house clean!
6. Do you have any time for yourself? Yes. I require that all of my children, whether they sleep or not, rest for a minimum of 30 minutes in their bedroom. My younger two sleep for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, and my 5 year old bookworm typically reads for an hour alone before joining me. Rest time for the kids = alone time for me. This is typically when I read, work on my blog, write, or as of recently, nap on the couch with a fan on my hot, pregnant belly! Occasionally, I’ll use my alone time for something fun, like painting my nails or working on a craft. With very few exceptions, I refrain from doing any chores during nap time since it is my only alone time.
7. How do you and your husband fit marriage into the balance? Evenings are family time, but after the kids go to bed we stay up for another couple hours together. I do not work on my blog or use my computer during our evenings together. We also schedule date nights about twice a month so we can go out alone. Occasionally we have the kids spend the night at their grandparents house for our date night so we can sleep in and go to coffee together.
8. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Have you talked to other women about it? I do. I often am amazed that some women can juggle full-time work, raising their children, and caring for their home. But, I’ve also often had women ask me how I “do it all,” too. The answer is that I don’t! I would be willing to bet that every single one of us moms, no matter how much we “do” would answer that we still don’t “do it all.” We do what we can based on our priorities, and we simply do the best that we can given our circumstances. And so, I’ve chosen not to compare or wonder about others, but instead focus on me and what I’m doing.
And yes, I think talking to other moms and getting advice about how they best balance all the demands of life is such a huge help!
9. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life? My #1 tip with balancing everything is to get organized. I have lists and calendars and planners and Excel spreadsheets for everything! I plan out our food menus and often prepare tons of crock pot freezer meals on a weekend day once a month so I don’t have to make dinner for a few weeks. I plan out our errands and fun adventures to maximize our time and save gas money. I plan our days to reduce boredom (and the fighting/arguing that often goes along with that). I organize supplies and toys into tubs so that the kids can help with clean up and can find things easily on their own. And finally, I try to keep a notebook near me all the time so I can write down things that need to get done but I don’t need to do right away. The bottom line? Organization keeps me sane.