How Working Moms Achieve Work-Life Balance

Sigh.  I still have not figured it out.  For almost four years, I have been writing about finding the balance.  Yet, here I am, less than 4 months away from my four year blogaversary, and balance is still an unrealistic fantasy.

How Working Moms Achieve Work Life Balance - The balancing act is never easy when you spend a majority of your day at work. Here are some tips to achieve work life balance as a working mom. #workingmom #momlife #momprobs #momproblems #worklifebalance

I downsized, and I decluttered.  I minimized, and I minimalized.  I cut people out.  I cleared my schedule, and I captured calm in chaos.  Yet, life is still out of whack…and I cannot figure out how to fix it.

Work still demands too much.  Home still demands too much.  My purpose still demands to much.  Everyone is getting the short end of the stick, and I am sitting in the middle of a world of unmet expectations.

I am trying to enjoy the journey.  I am trying to celebrate the small stuff.  I am trying to overcome fear but I lack faith, and at this point, I am tired.  At this point, I could use a few more hours of sleep each night.  Exhaustion is real.  Discouragement is real.  I could really use some rest.

I have work, and I have a life, but I have ZERO work life balance.  Because of this, I am starting from square one again.  A do over is once again necessary.

For anyone looking for a fresh start,

For any working moms out there,

For anyone trying to find work life balance, when neither work or life are in balance:

1. Plan

"When you fail to plan, you plan to fail." All mamas need a plan. Even if their planners are filled, it gives them a starting place. A start point is the beginning to work life balance. #worklifebalance #workingmom #planning #planner #momlife #motherhood #mom
Available courtesy of sincerelyangel_m

It pains me even to bring this up because I have seen what planning looks like.  I have seen the calendar when you write it all down, and the final answer is not pretty.  The final answer is 70 item bulleted to-do lists.  The final answer is days on planners with no-white space.  The final answer is, how in the world can you get all of this done in 24-hours?

My response to this is that you will not. It will not all “get done.”  Your plan must include crossing out items that will not happen today or ever.  Your plan must acknowledge every thought that crosses your mind and find a place for it, even if that place ultimately ends up in the trash.  Your plan must include seeing that you cannot do it all.  You need to delegate.  You need to eliminate.  Then, and only then, do you begin to execute the remaining items.

2. Budget

Again, I cringe.  This is my fourth year beginning a budget. For four years I have started a budget, and for three years, I have failed.  What in the world would make me believe that this fourth year will be different? What would make you believe that this year will be different?

Well, for starters, you are different.  You are not the same as you were last year.  You have learned more.  You have seen more.  You have done more, and you are more determined than ever that your budget will work this time.  You refuse to stress over money.  You refuse to let money dictate your life.  You refuse to let the bills keep you from checking the mail.  You are in control…finally.

Once you stop stressing over the money, the work becomes less stressful.  Your life is no longer consumed in payday. You can live your life differently…so that work life balance can unravel differently.

3. Document your journey

Make sure you document your journey. The journey is the most important part for a working mom to find work life balance. Everything else is secondary. #worklifebalance #workingmom #momlife #motherhood #mom #momprobs #momproblems

You need to see where you started.  You need to see the journey unfold piece by piece. Undocumented progress makes you feel like you are stuck.  Without documentation, none of what you experienced actually happened.

Write it down, take pictures, or make mental notes of the moments.  Some you will love. Some you will wish away, but the balance comes when you recognize that the journey is not a path to the goal, but instead the goal itself.  Work life balance IS the journey not the unattainable fantasy.

4. Leave some white space

You planned.  You budgeted.  You documented.  Then, before you can catch your breath, you are all out of time, and balance is nowhere in sight.  Your life is flying by, and all you can do is try to snatch up some of the pieces before you miss it.

Here is where white space comes in.  Here is where you make room for interruptions.  Look at your plan and make sure it does not cover every line of the planner.  There should be some extra space.  There should be lines left over.  Lines allow for a pause. Space allows for mommy and daughter photo shoots, for boo boos, for tears, for laughter, for parades, for venting, for bad days, and for soaking in good days.  You need margin.  You need a cushion.  Life is enjoyed most in the white spaces, in the unplanned moments, in the activities outside of your to-dos.

5. Pray

You can not do this alone.  You need help raising your children.  You need help in your marriage.  You need help on your job.  Life is definitely more than you can handle.  That is why you have been struggling for so long.

You thought you could do it yourself, and you were very, very wrong.  You are overwhelmed because you do not trust.  You are discouraged because you have lost sight of what God can do or that He will do it for you.  Your disappointment about your shortcomings has led you to stop talking.  You do not want to tell Him that you have lost faith in yourself and in Him.

But He already knows.  He does not need your big faith or your big prayers.  He just needs you to keep talking.  Tell Him all about it.  Share your anger.  Share your discouragement.  Share your overwhelmed.  Share your plans, your hopes, your dreams, your budget, your journey, and your white spaces.

Work life balance was never about you.  You are out of balance because you are out of alignment.  Your plans, budget, journey, and white space stopped aligning to your purpose.  You were fine.  You had moments of fine.  You had moments of balance, and then, like Peter on the water, you lost your focus and looked around.  When you looked around, you started sinking, not because you forgot how to walk on water but because you could NEVER walk on water.

Walking on water requires a miracle and so does work life balance.

***

What are some things that you do to achieve work life balance as a working mom?

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How Working Moms Achieve Work Life Balance: Work life balance is such an elusive thing for working moms. We feel like we are falling short in all areas. What we really need to do is sit, reevaluate, and start over. Work life balance looks different than we expect. #workingmom #worklifebalance #workinglife #hardwork #achievement #goals #goalsetting

46 thoughts on “How Working Moms Achieve Work-Life Balance

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  1. I LOVE the Peter analogy!!! You can’t do it alone because YOU were never doing it! AWESOME!! Balance is SO hard to find (I am a stay-at-home mom, but I struggle with it! My husband struggles with it! It’s a real issue.) God Bless and I will be praying extra hard for you!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The to-do lists always are so long! And as I keep telling the kids over and over (ahem, really, I’m reminding myself 😉 ) you have to keep working at something to get better at it. Keep working on the balance and someday you will find that happy medium…p.s. when you do, please share so the rest of us can figure it out too, lol 😉 God Bless!

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  2. Brittany, a good post. I have found that not filling up mu calendar with activities has opened up many opportunities to be available to people. Family life comes first, of course, than church. And I have acceptes the fact that I don’t have to be involved in every church activity. One book I read years back helped me. It’s called “The Tyranny of the Urgent”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just bought a planner! I just couldn’t keep “all the things” straight, which led to a lot of pieces of paper with notes lying around the house…. It’s helpful, but what I really needed to hear was to PRAY. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I probably saved the best for last there. Pray is definitely my go-to move to organize all the rest of it. My planner though has definitely set me up for so many more successes. Just getting it down helps so much, even if I still can’t get to all of it.

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  4. I can completely relate! One year ago I was working full time as an Instructor at our community college, taking two classes for my Masters degree, juggling kids and a husband and all their activities, leading a Bible study AND attending a Bible study and now I look back and think, “how did I do it!!??”. Things are a bit slower this year, but I still feel exhausted all the time. I always feel as if someone or something is being neglected. What I found is that I need quiet time away from everyone (even if it’s a few minutes) just for myself. I think I was the most neglected last year, and while all the things I was doing were “good”, it was all too much. Thank you for your post! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness. Today, as I was in church, I felt God leading me to close the door. Give myself some uninterrupted space because my biggest source of overwhelmed is the interruptions. I can’t work on my blog, or work social media (not just joyfully scroll but the blog work), or send emails, or grade papers or practice presentations without interruptions from the small people or the big people. He led me to close out the noise for a few moments daily. Just to maintain my sanity. Life. Changing.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with all of this! The budgeting part is hard, but you are exactly right – it’s not about who you were when it didn’t work last time, it’s about making a better future for yourself from this point forward and giving yourself some grace in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Work-life balance is hard to achieve even for the best of us. It really is. I find it so hard daily and it seems like as soon as I figure something out, things change again! The only thing we can do is get up and try again being compassionate to ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wise words, Brittany! I love #4 and #5 the most. I think they both are crucial to finding a sense of balance even when life keeps coming at us! Thank you for this post, my friend! It’s one I know is going to meet a HUGE need! I’ll be pinning!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love love love love this!!! I like the realistic feel I got from this. How it tells me that when I try and it doesn’t seem to work, I really shouldn’t give up and still keep trying. Thanks for this

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All we can do is our best. That’s it. That’s all we have to offer the world, and when it falls short, get up, revamp the plan, and try again. One of my biggest realizations today is that I am running a race competing with those who are not even concerned with me. Plenty of what I do is to “keep up” and that’s not God’s requirement.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. WOW, WOW, WOW! Brittany, so many great truths here, and so well written! (APPLAUSE!)

    “Space allows for….”
    And, “You need margins.” Yes!!

    And, “You do not want to tell Him that you have lost faith in yourself and in Him. But He already knows.” Amen!!!

    I love this post!! ❤

    Keep up the good work sister!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is awesome! Especially in light of the recent blog post I just wrote 🙂 I may have to go back and edit it to add a link to this AWESOME piece! I absolutely love the parts about “extra white space” and “prayer” ❤ While I do feel like I pray fervently, that extra white space on my planner is often nowhere to be found. I had never even considered the idea of leaving some space expectantly waiting for spur of the moment things to happen. I am definitely going to try to put this into play. Thank you so much for sharing these point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The planner was so huge for me. It worked best during the school year when I need just to get it al out of my brain. I literally write everything down and time block it, but I save myself some wiggle room for life because life happens. I also make sure to keep some time for “nothing” and time exclusively for family with no interruptions. It is a work in progress for use but as a terrible planner, I needed a little structure, a view on what I truly need to get done, and what can logically get done today.

      Like

      1. I am curious how do you ensure you stick to the plan for the day? Do you have reminders set with time for the task or is it something you tick off at the end of the day?

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  11. I love this. I’m a working mom, and I’m in college. Trying to balance everything is so hard, but somehow we always get it done… This life is so chaotic. I use a planner every single day, and I try to write in a journal so I can see what all I have accomplished and what works for me and my family and what doesn’t. It makes a world of difference. As for the budgeting, I have my associates in accounting and I still have yet to do good with a budget. It seems like every time we get a savings built up, life throws us a curveball and we have to fix something, or buy something expensive that we are needing.

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