This parenting blog post is about tips to achieve a better work-life balance. Tips working parents.
I started a habit about two or more years ago that has revolutionized my stay-at-home-mom/part-time-work-from-home life.
I started setting my alarm two hours before my kids (mostly) woke up, no matter what I had going on the next day. Wait! Before you click out of this article, hear me out.
This one habit has been a game-changer in my life. Period.
In the last two years I have played all of the following roles, at certain points I played all of them at the same time: stay-at-home-mom, contract public relations worker, master’s degree student, I was the communications director for the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network, a singer at church, I also run this blog and corresponding social media sites.
How do you do it all? Is a question I get a lot. Here’s the answer: I wake up at 5 a.m.
When I was a new stay-at-home-mom I let my baby be my alarm clock. Unless you are in the sleep-deprived newborn phase- I just don’t think this is the best way to start the day.
I have a whole day of being at the kid’s disposals in front of me, so now I guarantee myself some time alone before the day really begins.
Here’s what waking up at 5 a.m. ultimately gets me—more time with family. By waking up at 5 a.m., I can be done with work before the evening rolls around. Which means I can have a glass of wine with my husband and truly relax with him at the end of the day.
Here’s what it also gets me: I start my day off feeling whole and not rushed.
With three kids under five-years-old, I find it crucial to have my mind awake and my heart grounded before being pulled in a hundred different directions. When I give into the temptation to hit the snooze button, my patience with the kids automatically becomes thinner.
There’s a lot of unpredictability, with kids, especially really tiny ones, but I can count at a minimum the first hour, or a full two, of my day to be mine and mine alone.
A morning news anchor gave me this little piece of wisdom several years back—getting out of bed is hard whether it’s at 7 a.m. or 2 a.m. It’s just hard. So, why not give yourself the extra time to do some things you really want to do?
No single schedule works for everyone, I get that. Some get their best work done at night; I get that too. This works for me because I don’t have to sacrifice time with my husband to get my work in. He also wakes up even earlier than I do, so he can go to the gym without it cutting into our evening family time. Which is something I may also have to start doing with my current list of goals.
So, if you’re looking to have more time to yourself in 2018, or to be more productive, or both, set your alarm two or maybe even three hours (I’m seriously considering it) before you need to. Try it for a week or two and see if this habit works for you! I think it’s smart, I think it’s self-care, I think it’s a New Year’s Resolution that may actually stick.
By the way, here’s what a typical weekday of mine looks like. Of course, this doesn’t account for unexpected interruptions…which happen every single day, but here’s what a day loosely resembles:
5:05- I’m on the couch with coffee and reading my bible
5:30- Either working on a blog, PR piece, school or working out
6 :00- Either keep working OR Quick shower
6:30ish- Baby typically wakes up
7:00- All kids are usually up, start getting breakfast together
7:15- Let the kids eat breakfast in front of Sesame Street, get dressed (or stay in work out clothes and get more work in)
7:40- Get kids dressed
8:20-12:30- Out for preschool, doctor appointments, a fun activity, etc. I often get additional work done in these hours by taking the kids to childcare at the gym.
12:30- Lunch at home with the kids
1:30- Toddler goes down for a nap, I do some activity with my four-year-old
2ish- I work, four-year-old gets iPad time, does puzzles, magnet tiles, plays with baby brother, etc.
4:00- Toddler wakes up, turn on TV
4:30- Start dinner while kids either play or watch another show- depending on their moods.
5:15- Eat Dinner
6:30- Dance Party
6:45- Read Books
7- Start putting kids in bed
7:30-8- Husband I tag team picking up the house
8:00-9 or 9:30- Husband and I spend time together