“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” – Robert Fulgham
The other day I received an email from eCollegeFinder, an established online education resource representing over 120 accredited online institutions, informing me that I had been selected as a nominee for their Top Parenting Blogs Award. (Exciting for me!!!) They asked me a few questions, including what inspirational words or advice I can provide to student parents out there.
The first thought that crossed my mind was, “Advice from me? What do I know? I’ve only been a parent for a little over 2 years… and I’m still figuring out how to balance my own life!”
But, then I thought about it for a little while (yes, the above pic is supposed to be me deep in thought, but I ended up looking more gangsta than anything – HA HA!) and realized that I have actually learned a lot about balancing life in my 2+ years of parenting and maybe someone can benefit from my opinions. So, here’s what I have to say to parents out there who are struggling to balance school/work life with family life…
- PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME… & put your family/loved ones first. In my opinion, nothing should come before your family, especially your children. Life is too dang short. Does this mean that you shouldn’t work or spend time away from your children? No. It just means that if you have an hour in the evening before the kiddos hit the hay, take that time to bond with them and then go ahead and stay up an hour later getting your stuff done.
- MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT. As a working mom who has lots of experience spending more time each week away from my daughter than actually with her, I’ve totally adopted the motto, “it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.” I would rather spend 2 hours each evening deep in some serious mommy-daughter bonding time than several hours each day where I’m hardly paying attention to her. So, if ya only have a small amount of time with your family each day, don’t feel guilty. Just make the most of the time you do have. And realize that all the hard work you do at school or at work is going to benefit them as well.
- TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. This is probably the hardest thing to do, but it is crucial to your sanity as well as your family’s. With work and/or school work and meals to cook and laundry to do and children to care for, it is SO easy to put yourself last. Over time this will wear you down and in turn affect your family. Taking even just 10-20 minutes a day for yourself will make a difference. Take a quick bubble bath once everyone is asleep. Flip through a sleazy gossip magazine while the kids are playing. Stay up an hour later than usual and watch a favorite TV show. Or go to bed an hour earlier to catch up on beauty rest. And, if you can swing it try to plan one special thing for yourself each month. Get a massage. Go on a hike with your significant other or a friend. Play a round of golf. Make time to do what makes you happy, whatever that may be. In turn, your happiness will transcend onto your family.