1,700 miles, two planes, 4 bags, and two kids followed by 2 weeks of ear infections, whiny children, and work piling up without getting any attention and I was about to snap.
I was trying to balance my family time with my work time with my everything else time.
But instead of succeeding at giving everything a little bit of me, I was simply failing at giving anyone any good part of me. And the truth is that balance does not exist. Instead, as people, we have to learn to juggle and it’s never more important than when a parent.
Learning to Juggle Priorities as a Parent
Listen to my short Extremely Good Parenting podcast episode while you read more information below.
When you’re worn out, run down, and had enough
Typically as moms, especially if you’re like me, we get so worn out from trying to do it all and to be everything.
We don’t focus on the priorities when we’re neck deep in something because we are just overwhelmed.
But a few simple changes when you need to evaluate priorities and learn to juggle life better will help so much!
Learn to juggle (metaphorically).
As I mention in the episode, my parents taught juggling (literally throwing balls, scarves, and pins in the air). And the takeaway from know what real juggling entails is that first you have to start with the basics, add in more as you can, and then focus on your priorities.
The idea is that when really juggling, you don’t look at your hands, but you focus your attention to the top, your hands just know what to catch. So as parents we have to focus our attention to what truly matters and choose a few other things to toss into the equation.
It’s ok to drop the ball because that’s part of it, whereas balance doesn’t exist because you cannot literally give the same amount of time and attention to everyone and every thing.
What rejuvenates you?
Take a step back before you learn to juggle it all efficiently and discover what helps you tick a little better. In the podcast this is basically what we ask our guests each week… “What do you do to refill your parenting cup and why?”
And it may be different weekly, but you know your favorites. When I was at my parents’ house it was sitting up in the office, enjoying the greenery and listening to my favorite music.
Take time to re-charge if you can.
I know we can’t all do this. In fact, I am right there with those of you that are shaking your heads “no”. I live nearly 2,000 miles away or further from family with very few people available to watch our kids in our area.
But if you can find a local gym that has childcare or even some local grocery stores to get even 20 minutes of not worrying or feeling like you’re the sole care provider or even just to make an important phone call, it makes a big difference for such a short amount of time.
Find a friend or a mother’s helper.
Facebook groups and internet groups in general are aplenty for moms especially in local areas. And they’re the perfect place to ask for recommendations to find even a 13 or 14 year old that can be in the house helping with your kids while you work on paying bills and taking phoen calls.
A couple hours of someone else doing the food relay and baby entertainment also goes a long way.
Make sure you’re staying up on your health.
Typically we’re so busy caring for our families we forget about ourselves. And the reality is we can run ourselves thin and deplete our immune systems.
But remember that as much as you’re trying to help your family, your family is why you have to maintain your physical and mental health.
Sit down and write out your triggers.
As we discuss in episode 001, parenthood is hard and we all have triggers that even if they are little pet peeves that would mean nothing to someone else, they can set you off and change the direction and mood of your day.
Write them out and learn to recognize them so you can try to prevent getting upset or you can see your snapping point coming before it actually happens.
Voice concerns and expectations to your spouse / Tell your kids how busy you/they will be.
I am personally the worst person to say this because I am so bad about using my words to express myself when it come to emotional issues.
But I am getting better.
I have found that when I have a lot to do, I have to vocalize it. That way I am less likely to get frustrated at situations because I can more easily say something like “Remember that I had some work I need to get done?” And then we can talk about the steps needed for me to get it done.
That’s actually where I had to shift priorities from no screen time for my kids, to finding something that would educate and entertain them when I said ” You can work while I work!”
How do you handle juggle priorities with kids around?
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!