Family and/or work: a never ending dilemma. How is it possible to work with five kids, if my workplace is just a work station in the corner of the living room? Is it even possible?
Before I start talking about how I try to manage my family and blogging, which is considered to be my job, I would like to clarify whether blogging truly is a job, or is it only about relaxing and being lazy? So am I really working, and do I have to think through sleepless nights about how to find the non-existent balance between work and my family?
When and how?
When and how do I have time to write? Well this is truly magic! I am on duty 24 hours a day because of the kids, and even at night I am half awake, just in case I have to get up due to sensing a little bit of restlessness from one of the kids’ rooms. But somehow, I have to find little bits of time when there is complete silence in the flat and for some mysterious reason, I am alone. After the morning chaos, I try to finish the household tasks as quickly as possible, so I can use the time for writing efficiently: this is during the day on weekdays, and 2-3 hours before 9 PM. On weekends it’s nothing.
Besides mornings, the afternoons and the evenings are also entirely about the kids. Husband works until late at night every day, from time to time he even has to go to courses, so most days I have to face the tasks alone. Until 9 PM there is no stopping with family tasks.
This seven-eight hour duration makes me pretty tired: playing with the little ones, studying with the older ones, making dinner, getting ready for the next day… At around 9:30 PM comes the second part of blogging: I read the prepared post again, correct mistakes, search for pictures and ask for Husband’s opinion. If I am satisfied with it, I put it aside until publishing, if not, I don’t touch it, and I put it aside for the next day…because as the saying goes, good work takes time. But from where will I have time?
In spite of not having classical work obligations, but still having blogging as a job, in my case it is easy to use simple but important rules that I have created over the years. These make it doable for me to meet the requirements of being a mother and work at the same time, and meanwhile I also have a clear picture of everything.
The birth of our first child – and let’s not even talk about the other ones – turned our previous life rhythm, that of course also included traditional work, upside down. With Big Boy, we took “The Tale of Lost Time”, and we still reach for it frequently, meanwhile we are dreaming about having days that consist of 3×24 hours. In this new family we had to rethink our daily routine according to new priorities.
For Husband it was somehow easier to switch – well, he is a nerd -, and I was just struggling and worrying about everything, because nothing was like before. After some time and a lot of urging, I tried to adapt time management into being a mother, which was suggested by Husband. Here is my list of four things that help me stay afloat on the wavy sea of motherhood.
#1 Think about motherhood as a project!
For a well-working project you need two things: rational guidance and resources. Furthermore, it is very important to know that every project can be split into different steps. What does this have to do with motherhood?
If you understand and accept your child’s physical and psychological improvement’s distinctiveness, you won’t worry about things you can’t change, so you will become more calm and you save the time that you would have spent worrying. This is particularly useful when it comes to teenage years. I could be a time millionaire, if I had no other kids besides Big Boy and Big Girl.
#2 Depute your obligations!
Asking for help is no shame, moreover! Raising a child is not a task for just one person, where as a mom you would have to work extremely hard every day.
At first, I also thought that it’s good if I do everything that has to do with the kids, because I know best what’s good for them: I did not let others take care of them, I tried to do all of the housework, and I got lost somewhere on the journey. With time and with the growth of the number of my kids I learned how to let go of things, and to relax. Last but not least, I learned how to let others do some tasks instead of me or even take care of the kids. It wasn’t an easy decision, but in order to survive, it had to be done: I didn’t become an irresponsible mom, but instead of following my original morals, I followed my children’s needs, who do not need an exhausted household worker, they need a balanced mother, and if that needs a cleaning lady or 2-3 hours of free time a week, then that’s needed, and I am not agonizing anymore over how bad of a mother I am for having these thoughts and needs, I would rather work on how to make them happen.
#3 Don’t feel guilty!
Feeling guilt has a lot to do with the previous point. Guilt paralyzes you, and so it steals time. I don’t want to be a perfect mother anymore, I am fine with being a good mom to my kids. Exactly good. Exactly.
#4 Involve the kids in your life!
Kids are very open and accepting, and they can adapt to certain situations way better than us, parents would imagine at first. At least with me it was like this. With my first two kids I had a very strict daily schedule, and there was no breaking it, they dictated our lives, we moved into their lives and not them into ours.
At the third kid it wasn’t this simple, there were too many of them, with different needs. Moreover, with the birth of Four and Smallest it became even more, with more needs and daily schedules. We had to change! It was with Middle One where the tendencies changed: he was the one who moved into our life and not on the contrary, we weren’t adapting to him, instead, we tried to insert him into our everydays, of course taking into consideration the most important things like feedings, sleeping periods, etc. But it wasn’t that important anymore to sleep in the baby bed, and sometimes it was okay to eat from the feeding bottle in the car. Our motto from now on is: Looseness! Reality!
Humour, flexibility and time management – these are the necessities to me being a good mother.