With the end of summer, comes the start of the school year. For most families, that means juggling work and school with sports and cheer and scouts and church, dental appointments and music lessons, along with all the extra-curricular activities that come with raising a family and maintaining a job. Gosh, I’m already tired after writing all of that!
My children are grown now with families of their own, but looking back, I sometimes wonder how I managed to get everything done, get everybody where they needed to be on time, maintain my house and my job, and still make time for my marriage and our friends. I listen to my kids now and wonder how they manage to balance all of the day to day demands on their busy lives. And it seems to me that they are much busier today than I ever was. They have play dates and STEM Camps and after-school activities and swimming and choir and on and on.
Don’t misunderstand, I am a firm believer in keeping kids busy. Busy, happy kids don’t have time to get into trouble. My kids were busy with after-school activities, year book, newspaper, dance team, football, and whatever else they decided to do. And once they had cars, they had to have jobs through the summer to pay for their own gas. I think we instilled the value of work and the value of a dollar into them, and I believe they felt good about themselves and their accomplishments.
Before my children were in school, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom. I felt it was important for me to be there for all of their firsts, to bond with them, to teach them, to love them. And I do not, for one second, regret giving up my job working at an airline. I knew I couldn’t devote my time to that job and to them. I knew my husband was busy trying to make it in the corporate world. I knew they needed a stable environment to learn and grow.
But, times change and there came a day when I needed to get back to work to help out with the family expenses. We wanted the kids to have “everything” they wanted, and we wanted to buy a home for them to grow up in and bring their friends to. And we did. We did it all, but it was not easy. Along the way, we made mistakes − we were too busy, too tired, too emotional, and sometimes, even resentful.
My husband and I had to learn how to manage that “OH NO” moment. We had to learn how to delegate responsibilities to the kids. In doing so, they learned how to do laundry, do dishes, and even clean their rooms! They learned to pick up after themselves and take pride in their home. My husband and I also needed to learn how to rely on one another. If he worked late, I took over. If I worked late, he took over.
Balancing work, school and family – it can be difficult. There are a myriad of moments when you just feel out of control. You feel like your life is running you instead of you running your life. Sometimes you just have to stop, take a deep breath and relax. Remember that you are more than a parent. You are also a wife and both of you need a social life together. Reward yourself and have some fun!
I always made sure that we had dinner together. That was steadfast and unbreakable. Boy if that table could talk! There were absolutely no subjects considered off-limits. That table was where we engaged, laughed, cried and loved one another. Those moments were priceless! And I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in the world. Rule number one – the television was off so we could all talk about the day. This was a moment in time to relax, exhale and just enjoy one another. Balance if you will!
You don’t have to be perfect. You can and should ask for help if you need it. Learn how to say no when you need to. Make time for fun. And above all else, remember that you are only human and sometimes, we don’t always get it right. But even with all of our flaws, if we instill the right values and family traditions into our kids, they will be OKAY and so will you! And if you have handled the hustle and bustle of everyday living (the work, life, school balance) half way right, your children will likely carry those same traditions on with their own kids.
To learn more about Planning and Executing Work, School and Life Flow tune into Warrior Divas Episode 16 available Online at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.