Have you noticed that life balance (or lack of it) and how much we have going on as a family tend to go hand-in-hand?
Not only am I a work-from-home mom with a packed schedule, but I also write about creating balance on my site Get Mom Balanced, and I know A LOT of moms who “go, go, go” and often feel like life is chaotic. PlanHero exists to give users time for what matters, which is exactly what I strive to provide for my readers and clients.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
When your schedule is packed and you have a lot on your plate, do you have thoughts like these?
- I can’t believe I let the house get so messy…
- The kids seem so overwhelmed…
- We have so many activities, how will I ever keep up?
Balance is something most of us are seeking, probably because we feel like it’s often missing (I can’t be alone!). Kids, career, volunteering, chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, not to mention making time for ourselves and our relationship; it can be exhausting just thinking about it.
You may think about individual or work-life balance, but what about family balance? This is something we can’t overlook; it’s working to create balance within the bigger context of your family:
- How are you each spending your time?
- What time is spent together (and what are you doing?)?
- What is the impact of the activities and tasks on everyone’s well-being and enjoyment?
Keep in mind, family dynamics are constantly changing, and perfect balance isn’t always a realistic goal. Even so, we want to try to find a way to feel good about how we spend our time and energy on our own, and as a family, knowing we can course-correct when needed.
Three Tips to Create Family Balance
- Make it a priority: Like everything in life, we’re going to spend energy on our priorities. If being and feeling in balance is important for your family, then make it known. Talk with your kids (in an age-appropriate way) about what it is, and why it’s important to your family. Help your kids understand that balance is something you often have to work at. And, when you each load yourselves up with activities (and activities as a family), then you’re likely to feel stressed out, not have enough time for everything, and will probably feel “off” individually and as a family. Let your kids know that you’re going to help them make decisions (and sometimes you’ll make decisions for them), that promote and create balance for the family, which also helps them feel good on their own. Communicating to your family that this is a priority will help everyone keep themselves accountable and make course-corrections that much easier to implement. You can also talk within the family about ways to promote balance, how to notice when you don’t have it, and what to do when that happens.
- See your schedule: It’s very easy for families to become overwhelmed; each member will have tasks (such as school, work, and volunteering) along with extracurricular activities, doctor’s appointments, birthdays. When you actually see the whole family’s schedule, you’re much more likely to notice proactively that you’re moving away from balance. This is where PlanHero is helpful because its tools organize your sports, social, and volunteer activities which can be synced to your calendar — giving everyone a visual as to what is happening. Having the family’s schedule together will not only allow you to see conflicts that need to be addressed, but you’re generally more able to avoid over-scheduling, double booking, or setting yourself up for poor time management. Regardless if you use a big board in your home, PlanHero, both, or another system, having everything together allows the family to see the same things, and can help you work together to create more balance.
- Be willing to say no: Some of you might have cringed at this last tip. I know that saying no is hard for many women. As hard as this can be, remember that your family balance is important; you’ve decided it’s a priority, right? Saying no may feel bad, but remember that when you say no to one thing, you’re giving yourself space to say yes to something else. You’re allowing yourself energy for other tasks, and room in your schedule. When you say yes to everything, you’re saying no to balance and peace. Do you want that? No. (See, that “no” wasn’t so hard!)
If you’ve committed to this as a family and can see your schedule, you can better determine how invitations and more activities fit into your life. You are more prepared to consciously decide which ones to say yes to, and what to politely decline to maintain family balance. Remember, saying no allows you to say yes to things you really are excited about as well as pre-set obligations, rather than trying to squeeze in every last thing.
Family balance will be an ongoing process. Some days or weeks we just have too much going on, and we have to deal with it. If that’s the case, do the best you can, and maybe add extra downtime over the weekend to regroup. If you’re struggling with it, there’s no point in adding more stress to the situation, so notice that the balance is off, and work to correct. Sometimes we can find balance again quickly. Other times it takes longer, like when we need to wait until the end of the sport season and then remind ourselves not to sign up for two sports at the same time again.
Family balance will allow more peace within your family, more enjoyment with how you spend your time, and is something you can work toward with these three tips.