Life/work balance is so important, but not made a priority by many working Mom’s. Being a Mommy is the best, but having a successful career and being a working Mom is also important to me! Trying to find a balance can be tough sometimes!
I went back to work just under a year after I had my oldest son. As Canadians, we are fortunate to get so much time paid time off after having a baby! Although it started off tough, I did ok. My son’s daycare had a webcam, so I was able to check in on him anytime I wanted during the day. I also got promoted to a new job that was just starting out, so the first few months I was able to ease back in.
The second time around I came back after just over a year, and during a really busy time so the first few months were a bit of a struggle. Trying to get both kids out of the house can be a little stressful and both were usually tired and/or grumpy by the time we got home. I was stressed, gained weight and I didn’t take enough “Me Time“.
Never has “Me Time” become so important until I became a Mom. Some days I’m still all over the place, but I feel like I’m in a much better place than I was after the first few months after maternity leave! So I wanted to provide some tips on what’s kept me sane and what’s allowed me to find some balance! Here’s my idea of a working Mom’s guide to life/work balance:
Make a plan!
With our first, we did a lot of “go with the flow”. He slept through the night early, and we adjusted his bed time the longer he slept in the morning. I’ve found with two, it’s much harder to be like that! Our second is on much more of a routine when it comes to naps and bed time, so I’ve found it’s easiest to follow suit.
My favourite thing to do is to spend some time on Sunday evening when the kids go to bed to do some weekly planning. I also spend my Monday lunch-hour doing the same thing! I take out my calendar in my planner, take a look at the week ahead and plan out my lunch hours at work, lunches & dinners for the week, and when I’m going to work out.
We do the grocery shopping based on the week’s needs, which helps us not overspend on things we don’t use very often. Sometimes, we save the shopping for Customer Appreciation Day or Blue Friday at Sobeys, as we’re all about collecting those Air Miles! We also do a monthly trip to Costco for our staple items! This helps us eat healthier & avoid stress over food during the week!
Stock your fridge with healthy options
This is a big one for me. I stress eat and eat when I’m bored by habit, and it’s terrible! If I don’t meal prep the night before, I find myself stressed on what we’re going to eat for dinner. I find if I stock my fridge and my pantry with healthy options, I am less likely to eat badly! If I do keep things like chips in the house, I portion out exactly one serving to have as my snack. This way, I’m still indulging but not eating the whole bag. I buy things with less salt & less fat when I can, so I can still enjoy a slightly healthier version of my treats!
Find something you love!
Since I went back to work and stopped breastfeeding, I have been struggling with my body image & weight. Some of the baby weight I lost ended up sneaking back on and it was making me feel uncomfortable. It was also slowing down my running pace, which was leaving me quite frustrated. I don’t like to run in the winter, so I needed a winter sport! So I decided to make a change and joined a CrossFit gym, Black Tusk Athletics, last summer! Their owners are great and I found enjoyment in a sport that 10 years ago had really turned me off. I bought a 10-class pass so I don’t feel stressed about going a specific amount of days per month.
I also bought a 10 class pass for barre at Studio B Fitness YEG after really enjoying it when I went to a free class last year. During the spring, summer and fall months I’ll still be focusing on my running, but I’m adding in Crossfit and barre when it’s too cold outside.
This year I went to get back into doing yoga 2-3 times a month. There are two types of yoga that I absolutely love – hot Metta Yoga and yoga nidra. I have passes for Metta Yoga that don’t expire! They even offer kids classes so my oldest can do yoga with other kids while I take my class! Yoga is so good for you mind and your skin, so this is a win-win situation for me.
Take some alone time
As much as I love doing work out classes and yoga, I also really enjoy my alone time. This means time completely alone, where I can do what I want, when I want. I have a lot of vacation days at work, so I often use days every month to take a staycation. I clean the house, do errands, check things off my to do list, get my nails done, take a bath, or seriously do nothing and relax on the couch and watch TV. This is my time to de-stress and de-compress and enjoy the silence and peacefulness of my alone time.
When my kids get older and start sleeping in a little longer, my plan is to get up an hour early to get in some “Me Time” before the the day begins. On the weekend, my husband and I also chat about what’s going on and who’s taking the kids to their activities – and then we plan out some time for our priorities and make sure that we can work everything in.
Take a mom-cation
I cannot recommend this enough! Taking a mom-cation either by yourself or with girlfriends is something that I make a priority every year. Last year we went to Vegas! This year we’re going to Banff (and I’m going to run the Banff Half Marathon). It is so great to get that time to reconnect with your friends and enjoy a stress free little vacation while you’re at it!
It’s important to note that although this is ideal, it doesn’t happen all the time. Life happens! But I DO know that I feel less stressed and much better when I follow these steps! So I do my best to do them often!
What things do you do to give yourself life/work balance? Feel free to share your comments below! I’d love to read them.