This isnít as dramatic as some of the letters Iíve seen in your column, but Iíd just love to know if you have any ideas. Iím a busy mom. I have a full time job that helps out with the family income, and three small children, and Iím exhausted. There donít seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done, and I constantly run out of time before Iíve finished for the the day. I have enough work to employ a full time housekeeper, nanny, chauffeur, and cook, but since Iím no millionaire, I do it all. Or try to. Do you have any suggestions for finding more time?
First, this is going to pass. It wonít last forever. Hold onto that. Second, remember that you never ďget it done.Ē Weíll all die someday with undone items on our to-do list. Not everything is as important we think it is. The world wonít end if your floors arenít sparkling.
Try prioritizing things more thoroughly. Make a list of everything you expect to get done in a typical week, then look for things that can be cut. The important things are time for yourself, time with your kids and spouse, healthy meals, your job. I put them in that order because if you donít take time for yourself, youíll have nothing to give anyone else. Every woman, no matter how busy, should have 30 to 60 minutes a day (not including a meal) when she can do what she really wants to do, and itís not allowed to spend it doing for anyone else. Use it to meditate, to exercise, to read, to soak in a tub. Enjoy it, and take it Ė itís important.
Other things can be cut. Clubs and groups. E-mail that sucks away your time away. Volunteering for too many mom jobs at school and extra curricular things. Keeping the house spotless is time consuming and impossible. Itís a mess ten minutes later. Start slashing things from your schedule and be ruthless.
Talk to your boss (gently.) In this computer age of instant communications, there is utterly no reason why many of us couldnít be working from our homes, at least part of the time. Bosses who want to keep young, busy moms in their employ should consider this. If a lot of the work involves putting words on paper, moms would get more done in less time, be less stressed, healthier and happier, do higher quality work and more of it, if the boss would let them try doing part of their job from their home.
Talk to your spouse. I know most men feel as if theyíre saints for pitching in now and then. However, if youíre both working, then the jobs on that to do list belong to you both, equally. Itís just as much his job to get the kids to practice, grab groceries, cook dinner, and clean up, as it is yours. Start insisting on that now.
Kids are busy too, these days, but they can make your life easier by being responsible for small stuff, like putting their clothes in the hamper, making their own beds, and having one or two other chores that are their own Ė pet care, a load of wash or dishes now and then.
ē Look for ways to combine errands into one trip rather than several.
ē Make good lists so you donít forget things and have to run again.
ē Ask for free babysitting or other types of household help from family members whenever you or your mate have a birthday or anniversary where gifts are in order.
ē Touch base with other busy moms with kids in the school play or on the same sports teams as your own Ė and arrange carpools and take turns. Why should five moms drive to school every single night, when each of them could drive once a week? Think of the gas and time savings!
ē Learn to ask for more help.
Learn to say no when asked to do extra things. Overtime at work, watching other peopleís children, bringing more pets into the home, baking homemade things for bake sales, volunteering for a various mom jobs at school.
Finally, relax more. Let things go more. Have more fun. Donít take life so seriously and stop beating yourself up for not being Robo-Mom. Love your kids, thatís really all thatís important. Giggle with them as often as possible, and all will be well.