A balanced family life is something I strive for every day. Family life isn’t easy. Especially when you’re a stay/work-at-home-mom. Even when things are going well, many parents are plagued by a feeling that they’re doing something wrong. There’s not an instruction manual when it comes to parenting; in most cases, you just have to try your best and hope it’s good enough. In most cases, it nearly always is! There are things you can do to make family life a little bit easier and maybe more functional. Below, we take a look at nine steps that’ll have you on your way to a balanced family life.
- Get Organized
High-stress levels do not make for happy parenting. So let’s take some of that stress away! You’ve got a million and one different tasks to take care of when you’ve got one or more little ones running around your ankles, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. As such, it’s a good idea to get yourself organized. Making a list of everything you need to do and then pinning them up on the fridge – or a calendar – will help you to stop on top of things. There’s nothing worse than suddenly realizing that you forgot to do that one thing you were banking on your memory to remind you to do!
Of all the moments when parenting seems most rushed, it’s the morning. You’ve got to get ready for work, everyone’s queuing for the bathroom, breakfast needs to be sorted, and the school bus is coming up the road. This is not an ideal way to start the day! Instead of running around like a maniac, why not divide the responsibilities between the morning and the previous night? If you’ve laid out the school clothes and set everything up for breakfast, then you’ll know that the basics have at least been taken care of. You can also think about setting up a shower schedule. It sounds a bit overkill, but if it prevents those morning arguments and banging on bathroom doors, then it’ll be worth it.
- Meal Times
You’re responsible for making sure your kids are well-fed, and oh gosh, isn’t that difficult sometimes? When you’re rushing through the door after work and need to prepare the whole family food, you’re walking straight into a stressful situation. Not fun! So plan them in advance. Each Sunday, make a list of all the meals you’ll have for the forthcoming week. You’ll be well-served by filling the list with easy to make, healthy recipes that take twenty minutes or less. There’s enough of them! When you get in from work, you’ll know that, worst case scenario, you have twenty minutes of following simple instructions to get your family fed.
- Collective Thinking
We’re all individuals (more on that in the next paragraph), but a family is also a unit. So above all, there needs to a line of ‘collective thinking’ taking place. This might mean sacrificing one of your daughter’s requests so that everyone else can be taken care of. It’s not always enjoyable to think of the big picture, but it does help towards a smooth home life.
- Individual Needs
However, having said that it’s imperative that you don’t lose sight of everyone’s individual needs. While your children and partner will love being part of the family, they’re also their own person. This is especially relevant in families with multiple children. Sometimes the loudest of the clan can make it difficult for the others to get attention, and that can fuel resentment. When that happens, the idea of a ‘smooth family life’ dissolves pretty quickly. Make sure everyone’s individual needs have been satisfied…and that means yours and your partner’s too!
- Get that Money Sorted
Ah, money. Can’t live with it, can’t live without. It’s the number one cause of arguments between married couples, and even if the parents are on the same page, it can be an overwhelming source of stress. So it’s important that you develop a financial life that you can accept, even if it’s not perfect. It doesn’t take long to create a budget based on your incomings and outgoings. You might not be able to have everything you want, but if you’re living within your means, then at least you’ll ensure that your family’s financial health is sound. Source: Pexels.com
- Emergencies: Have a Plan B
Having a sound budget will help, but it won’t help in all your financial situations. An unexpected emergency, such as a plumbing problem or broken down vehicle, can seriously disrupt the flow of your family life. As such, it’s important that you have an emergency fund so that you can tackle the problem as soon as it arrives. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you can get a loan from a company like One Main Financial. You can’t always prevent unfortunate things from happening, but you can control how you’re able to respond to them.
- Balancing Work and Home Life
You have to work hard in order to pay for your home and give your children a good standard of living. But sometimes, this presents a problem: you’re working too much. Research has shown that it’s better for children to take a slight dip in their quality of life and have a present parent rather than the other way round. If you’re spending too many hours in the office, consider asking your boss if you can work from home from time to time, or finish early on Fridays.
- Go With the Flow…Somewhat
Sometimes, the problems that disrupt family life don’t stem from seemingly nowhere: they come from the parents. If you’re stressed, then the atmosphere in the home might not be all that it should be. For starters, you should make sure you’re taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and avoiding depressants such as alcohol. You may also want to try meditation. If you’re in a good place, then you’ll find taking care of all your many duties and responsibilities much more straightforward, and even enjoyable.
What else do you do to keep a balanced family life? I want to know below! And if you’re a busy mom like me, then you’ll want to read my interview with Lifestyle Expert (and previous Oprah Show producer(!)) Karen Firsel and How to Stress Less and Do More This Back to School Season