There are days when I think I’ve got this parenting thing totally under control. Then there are days where I just want to call out sick from work and stay in bed all day. Oh, if only it were so easy! But there’s a toddler to dress, feed, and get to school, a calendar filled with meetings and deadlines, oh, and let’s not forget that I’ve got to call the plumber, make a vet appointment for the dog, check in with my mum to see what she needed help with, and confirm with my husband that we’re free next weekend so we can get back to our friends about that playdate to get our girls together. Maybe I can take that personal day next week? I guess that’s more likely in ten years…
Work / Life Balance: Have You Cracked the Code?
While it certainly took me and my husband a while to get accustomed to our new lifestyles as parents once my daughter was born (and again when I returned to work), I will say that I’m a big proponent of self-care for each of us, as well as the both of us together, as a couple. So much so that I was adamant that my husband and I spend some time together alone for dinner, a movie, etc. Whatever we’re able to do (even if it’s just a simple dinner and a movie), it’s usually just the right amount of adult conversation and change of scenery we need to step away from our busy day-to-day schedules.
Even though I always have the best of intentions to prioritize our quality time together, the reality is it doesn’t take long for that monthly date to fall through the cracks. As any parent knows, once you think you’re in a good groove, something comes right along to derail it all; be it teething, sickness, dropping a nap, work deadlines - there’s always something! Well, we experienced a series of some things which not only made our dates non-existent, but made me feel like I was constantly on-the-go—and very recently, I decided I’d had enough.
My patience had gone out the door, our house was a mess, and quite honestly it occurred to me that I wasn’t being a good parent, wife, daughter, sister or friend. I started off that weekend by informing my husband of this sudden realization, then delegated a ton of errands his way and dedicated some time to a few things that I wanted to do for myself that constantly fell to the bottom of my to-do list (in turn making me super anxious—can any of my Type A friends relate?). I also scheduled a massage for myself and was determined to prioritize a date night. That was a good start. I really enjoyed my ‘me’ time but I’m still struggling with the idea how do I get to those things more regularly while staying on top of everything else?
To be honest, I am not sure. I am still looking for the right answers. Even as someone who understands the value of self-care, I struggle to find the right balance and to know how to prioritise and re-prioritise all these aspects of my life. May be that’s what parenthood is all about? The constant process of juggling, compromising and never having enough time…. Lets be honest our little darlings wont be ‘little’ forever, what seems urgent now, it may not matter in a couple of years…So, why don’t we just stop and enjoy the moment we are in right now, instead of continuously thinking two steps ahead?
How about you? Do you find yourself in a similar struggle? Do you have any tips that have helped you find balance?
Written by Laura, Bright Horizons employee