Wednesday, February 25, 2009
For me, as a single mom, it is so hard to achieve work/life balance.
I have read many articles and taken workshops on the subject and this is the best advice I can give you:
1 - Always take "Me Time". Whether it's just 5 minutes a day, this is crucial to your overall mental health.
How do I do it?
I work 10 hour days. When I come home I speak to the children for a little while and then I retreat to my bedroom to change my clothes and/or relax.
*Please note: my children are older - my youngest is 9 (almost 10), so that makes it easier.
2 - Since I have older children, I put them to work. They are not slaves but they have assigned chores on our refrigerator, and other jobs as I see fit.
Household chores children as young as 6 can do:
Take out the trash
Sweep the kitchen/bathroom
Clean the bathroom sink/counter
Switch out laundry (move from washer to dryer, dryer to basket)
3 - Find a hobby, something you enjoy. Whether it's blasting the radio for 20 minutes a day and dancing your heart out, to reading a good book, to papercrafting (like me!), these activities stimulate your brain and help you keep your sense of self.
Being a mother is a job in itself. Add to that being a wife and sometimes, an employee, complicates life even further. Single mothers have it worse, because most times there is no relief. Personally, I have no support system. If you've been reading my blog, you will remember my recent post on planning to move to Washington, as well as the fact that I am adopted. My adoptive parents live an hour and a half from me and also work full time. Therefore, they are not there to give me a break when needed. My kids' fathers? Absentee. Sad, yes, but it is what it is and I do what I have to do.
So I take advantage of any opportunity to have a little bit of a break. My kids are older so that means, more freedom: spending the night at a friend's house, sometimes even the weekend, trips to the library unsupervised, etc. (These work best for my 12 yo son, not my 9 yo daughter. The key is to make sure the level of freedom and the activity are in line with the age of the child!) I also am involved with a church, but on top of that, my son attends the Weekend Fuel meetings/church for middle & high school aged children (you can learn more about that in the blogs I follow list). My children also get picked up my a local church's van on Wednesdays and Sundays, for approximately 2 hours each day. But... if they don't want to go (as my son has been lately), I don't make them.
It's all about what fits YOUR life and YOUR situation, and what you allow your children to do/participate in.
I am a firm believer in taking time for oneself. I don't mean being Selfish. Having a sense of self is important and is a vital part of having a healthy self-image as well as self-worth. Too often women get caught up in being everything to everyone else and don't take time for themselves. This can lead to resentment and worse for the family that she is devoting all of herself to. Men have lives outside of the home and their marriage/relationship - why shouldn't we?
Do you have any tips on how to achieve work/life balance? Please share!