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Finding Balance on the Mommy Tightrope: How NOT to ‘Lose It’

Juggling work, kids, personal time, couple time, family time, individual time, and time with each kid — are you serious?  While I may not be an expert mom (I’m definitely not), I have learned strategies about how to balance work and family life.  After five years, I have finally gotten to where I can wake up each morning looking forward to a busy day with my kids, not dreading the inevitable: the NOT wanting to get out of bed, toothbrush battle, and breakfast eating competition with them.

Tightrope walkerFive years may seem like a long time to get me to this point, but I am a work in progress.

Every day, down to the minute, is a learning experience with children, and being the mom to a 2- year-old and 5- year-old is a lot of work.  I never thought I would have kids, but when I met Mr. Right and we decided to have kids, I was in my early 30s.  No matter how organized I thought I was, no matter how “ready” I thought I was, and no matter how all of my friends with kids and other parents tried to prepare me, nothing prepared me for how much my life really would CHANGE.  My bedtime became earlier, my wake-up times became earlier (and more frequent), and I could never shake the feeling that something was always amiss.  I eat more, I weigh more, and I worry more.  I never thought these two little reflections of me and my husband could make me feel so much love and so much fear for their safety and future.  It has been the most wholesome blessing I have ever experienced, and it has made me nothing less than a humble human being.

So how do we as moms get through our days without losing it?  For me, I stay up later to make lunches and get up earlier to finish up laundry and dishes.  I do a one-hour workout every weekday that includes strength training and cardio (my alone time).  I deep breathe in the car on the way to pick up my son, and I take breaks during work to just step back and breathe (my sanity time).

We do a lot of vacations and adventures every weekend as a family.  I do “date” days with my husband, son, and daughter separately.  I have an amazing husband who helps me.  We both work full time (40+ hours a week), and I work one weekend a month, so I rely on our amazing daycare and Pre-K to help my children become well educated and loved human beings.  Yes, sometimes I feel guilty, dropping my crying toddler or my clingy preschooler off; but I trust that these trained individuals are providing my children with what I can’t — an amazing education and time with friends.

I have had a few co-workers and friends who have given me the “why don’t you stay home” speech in an amazingly loving fashion, and I give them the honest answer: “I can’t.”  Why can’t I, you ask?  There are a few key reasons.  First, I have step children, and those kids are being supported by my income and my husband’s income.  Second, I like the life I live (monetarily and job wise).  Third, I feel like God has given me an opportunity to help others while I am also 100 percent committed to my family.  I have a job that gives me the freedom to take care of my children and run them to and from school at all hours.

Bottom line is you have to do what is best for you and where you are at in your life.  That is all we can do not to lose it, right?

Michelle JessicaMichelle Jessica has lived in Reno for five years with her husband, two small children, and two fur children.  She completed a Master of Education in Health Promotion, Interdisciplinary (UNLV) and a Master of Divinity, Chaplaincy (Liberty University).  Her background includes roles in the criminal justice, education, and ministry fields. She has seven years of experience working with victims of trauma — specializing in suicide survivors and their families and sexual assault survivors. Michelle spends her free time with her family and loves living in such an amazingly family friendly city. She also enjoys running, working out, reading, watching movies, and traveling.

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