The Balancing Act
Back to school is here, which means back to work for this Winey Parent. Back to work means that the balancing act of work, home, and family begins again. Working parents know, that there is a delicate balance to family life.
So, how are we managing? This year will be the first year that BOTH kids are in school full time, so the run around for different drop off and pick ups will be less. AND Travis is working from home, which helps to take a lot of the household chores burden off me. But I am going to need even more help because I’m taking 2 graduate classes this fall to keep my certification up to date.
I know I am lucky to have a husband that not only is home during the day, but also doesn’t mind doing laundry, dishes, and running kids around. But before Travis left his job last year, we were right where most Americans are with 2 full-time working parents. This year, Travis is home full time, and can handle the kids’ school schedules.
Unlock the Communication
The key to making it all work without losing your mind or burning out is communication. If I am ever feeling overwhelmed, I know that I can talk to Travis and he will step it up and take some of the workload from me. And that works both ways. If he gets overwhelmed with the mountain of laundry and dishes, I step up and take over those responsibilities. The second key to survival is to take care of yourself. There are many times when I will go out and hang out with neighbors or coworkers and Travis stays home. Or he will go hang out with a friend while I’m home. The best is when my parents take the kids overnight and we get to go out together. Taking time to relax and recharge is critical to not losing your mind.
So, what does that breakdown of responsibilities look like for us? There are certain tasks that HAVE to be done daily: cooking, dishes, caring for the kids, etc. Then there are tasks, like laundry, that HAVE to be done at least weekly. For the cooking task, meal planning is king. If you don’t have a plan, cooking is a much more arduous task. Take some time over the weekend to meal plan. Not only does it make the task of cooking easier, it will save you money at the grocery store because you will have what you need and will waste less. You will also spend less on take-out.
Step 1, 2, and the Rest of Our Lives
The task of dishes is probably my least favorite. But, if you stay on top of it, it isn’t as bad. Each night I make it a goal of mine to have the sink clear of dishes. We probably run the dishwasher once a day. If we empty it in the morning, then the dishes from lunch and dinner can go directly to the dishwasher and be run at night. Travis is a champ at taking care of the dishes during the school year. He knows a dirty sink and counter drives me nuts, so he tries to take care of the dishes before I get home each day.
Caring for the kids is obviously a joint task. But this year, more of that will fall to Travis because he will be doing both the drop off and pick ups for both kids. Fortunately, they are at the same school, so it should be a relatively smooth process. He will get them started on homework when they come home and then when I get home, we can start the dinner process.
What do you and your partner do to balance all the responsibilities of adulting? Have you found any tricks that make the tedious tasks easier? Anyone care to share their favorite easy meals so that we can add to our recipe box? If anyone is feeling overwhelmed and needs a break, let me know. Sometimes a quick trip out with a friend in a similar stage of life is reaffirming and recharging.
It's always okay when mom needs a break to spend time with friends. It might be difficult to find that time, so take a crack at planning a virtual date where you and your friend can video chat and send each other funny GIFs.