How is it possible to manage family, home and life? Do you try to find balance … or juggle everything?
Balance. Can you ever achieve balance in life … especially if you have children and a spouse living at home?
Chances are, the answer is no. At least not in the I have all my ducks in a row sense.
Maybe you can relate to this concern:
My biggest homemaking concern is time management and finding a way to balance everything … babies/kids, meals, cleaning, time for/with husband, etc. How can I get the housekeeping done each week while making time for both of my little ones … and have the energy to do this?!?
So how can a homemaker manage her time and balance husband and children and cleaning? How can you have time and energy to get housekeeping done each week when you have young children in your home?
The answer may be encouraging and discouraging all at the same time – time and energy will not magically multiply for you to clean your home and take care of your family. Balance is elusive. (If it was a real possibility, women would make a lot of money selling the solution!)
For certain seasons of life, it’s important to take Elsa’s advice from Frozen and “Let it go.” Most women would love to have a clean house and young children. Yet in the words of Margaret Culkin Banning, “Cleaning up with children around is like shoveling during a blizzard.”
To avoid absolute frustration with imbalance, I’ve found that giving myself grace and lowering my standards – in a good way – is essential.
Once I realized I simply can’t do it all, I stopped feeling bad about not doing it all. When rooms or closets are messy, when I can’t touch my laundry pile for a couple days, when my garden gets weedy I choose not to get frustrated.
Sometimes it’s a huge choice. Like when I see a thousands of photos that need filed. Or baby books that need filled in before I completely forget my children’s births, infancies and early childhoods. Typically, it’s a daily choice. When I look around and see a messy house and know everything that I still really need to do in a day, I feel so overwhelmed. I know it’s absolutely impossible to get everything finished, let alone get ahead. But then I stop myself and make an effort to choose to not be frustrated.
My friend Meghan encourages me that balance is simply impossible. “It’s a myth. Some things you just have to let go (or choose less sleep). Like Jen Hatmaker says, balance is like unicorns. Right now, I just clean enough so I don’t go crazy, and I used store-bought frozen meatballs in a recipe tonight. And you know what? It was good even though I didn’t roll those meatballs myself.”
5 ways to prevent overwhelm
Sometimes you do clean just enough to get by … and eat store-bought frozen meatballs so there’s a hot meal on the table. As much as I think that balance is an impossibility, there are still practical ways to prevent yourself from crying over the sheer magnitude and weight of responsibilities.
When my house is particularly messy, I start to panic in an “I can’t think straight!!!” sort of way. So I try to stop everything and do a 10-minute Room Rescue. I set a timer, then start cleaning as much as I can. Typically I stick to one room at a time and speed clean. When the timer’s over, so is my cleaning.
My entire house may not be clean, but a room – or even just an area – is clean and that is a tremendous help.
Sometimes, you have to force yourself to stop and have fun. Leave the dirty dishes in the sink and play a board game with your husband and kids. Head to the park for a half an hour before supper. Read a funny book as a family. (This summer my kids totally cracked up at Fudge and Peter’s exploits in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Roald Dahl’s books make them howl with laughter, too.) Have a movie night with popcorn – and just sit and watch the movie without doing any other work. Make yourself take a half an hour break to do your favorite craft or hobby.
It may actually feel hard to get away from your mental to-do list, but you need to relax and decompress. And the time spent doing something fun with your family will be refreshing for all of you.
Just say no … and ask for help
It will be hard, but look at your schedule … and how much time you spend checking Facebook or Pinterest. (Ouch!) What commitments are necessities, and what can be cut out of your life? Get rid of what’s not essential, and you’ll end up making more time for your tasks and your family.
Not many people like asking for help, but it’s essential. Admit when you’re in way over your head, and ask for help from someone you trust.
Make a plan
Besides my room rescues when my house is a mess, my solution for when my schedule is a mess is to make a plan. I write every single thing I need to do on a piece of paper. Once it’s out of my thoughts and I can actually look at everything, then I try to figure out when I can do it all. I try to break everything into manageable tasks so I can actually start to work toward some completion.
But, just because I’ve made a to-do list, I am careful to not turn it into the almighty to-do list that runs my days. Instead of finding my satisfaction (and even, to a large extent, my worth) in finished to-do lists, I’m trying to adjust my expectations. Now I try to feel satisfied when I finish what needs to be done instead of attempting everything I’d like to get done.
I’d like to believe if I could just manage my time a little better I could accomplish so much more. But I can’t. And the truth is, life is so much more than accomplishments.
Analyze the art and talent of juggling
When I know that there’s too much home/family/life/work for me to balance, I admit that I need to juggle it all. When it comes to juggling, you need to keep your focus. Realize that you need to have some balls (or tasks) in the air – you can’t hold on to everything with a death grip all the time.
So go with the flow. When juggling life, some days you’ll need to spend more time with your children. Other days, your husband will need your full attention. During times of the day, you can focus on taking care of your home … or working on finances, or simply working if you have another job. You don’t have to give the same amount of time and attention to each part of your life every single day. You can’t.
But you can give your best time and attention to certain parts each day, as you learn to juggle life.
Find out how to find balance in your life – and homemaking! – with the Balance in Homemaking online conference! Twenty sessions with Titus 2 mentors are available for instant download … and instant inspiration and help!
How do you manage family, home and life? What works best for you when you try to juggle your life?
Disclosure: Purchasing items through links in this post will result in a commission for No Place Like Home. Thank you for supporting this website!