With Fall officially just around the corner and school started up, gone are the lazy summer days. It seems that whenever September hits, everyone, especially parents, goes into overdrive. I personally welcome the structure and predictable schedule of the fall, and the return of TV shows. However, oftentimes we start the season optimistically only to get overwhelmed and burnt out months later. That's why this year, I am consciously scheduling our individual and family schedules to have as much balance as we can between family and social activities/obligations.
As a mom of two young children aged 4 and 1.5 years, I am coming to realize more and more that I need to cherish this age. My son will be in Kindergarten next year, and after that he's going to be in school full time for the next 12 years. We won't have Fridays off from preschool anymore to avoid the crowds and do a fun activity, so I am taking advantage of that and making trips to the farm, apple picking, the Children's Museum and more. I'm also using that day as an option to just hang out at home and rest, if we need to. I realize how fortunate we are to have that time, and I want to soak him up as much as I can (while he still likes me!). At the same time, we need a few activities so we don't go bonkers at home, so I've limited it to two things during the week. With all the literature out there about parenting, I'm just trying to hold myself to the standard of everything in moderation. Kids need to learn time management, but they also need time to be bored and just be children with few cares in the world.
As they say, the days are long but the years are short. With full-time working parents, this seems to ring especially true. When weekends are the only time to get quality time together as a family, sometimes we just need to say "no" to things that aren't absolutely necessary and plan a purposeful outing. Only you know your limits--if you're still getting in time for self-care and have time to spare, give back where you can. If you're barely holding on by the seams, do your best to delegate what you can and do what you need to do. Either way, you're doing a great job.
What are some ways you try to achieve work/life balance?