Balance. Thats a word I heard often after I became a mom. It’s also one that’s never gone away. I continue to hear about the importance of balance for moms on TV, social media and in conversation.
In the beginning, I defined balance as having everything done to perfection.
Finding a balance after having my son was hard. My husband and I were in the process of moving, so when we left for the hospital, I walked out of my old house, not knowing it would be the last time. Once we left the hospital, I walked into a new and empty house, with a new addition to our family. It took me a long time to find my version of balance but after a while, I got into a good routine. Or at least a routine.
Then, toddlerhood hit.
When my son transitioned into the toddler phase, he was curious about everything. He wanted to know how everything worked. Questions about everything. Curiosity, they say, killed the cat, but in my case, it was killing me.
When my son transitioned into the toddler phase, he was curious about everything.
I tried, at first, to keep everything separate: separate but equal. Eventually though, I realized I couldn’t wait for him to go to sleep in order to do the day-to-day housework and tackle my personal to-do list. I had to find a way to incorporate the two or I wasn’t going to make it.
When they transition from that newborn phase and begin to understand that you are walking away and not paying attention to them, the mom guilt is real. I realized that I couldn’t wait to “live my normal (pre-baby) life” when he went to sleep and had to learn to include him in everything.
When they transition from that newborn phase and begin to understand that you are walking away and not paying attention to them, the mom guilt is real.
Include your child in everything you do and make it fun. The solution that’s worked the most is when I incorporate my son into the mix and make it fun. When I sweep, he holds the dust pan. When I load dishes, he organizes them. When I do laundry, he helps sort and fold. I may spend double the time doing laundry or loading the dishwasher, but by including him, he’s learning, having fun and I don’t feel guilty.
Distract. If I have a busy day and really need to get a task done quickly, I take my son to the part of the house I need to be in and distract. I bring in a game or small toy that he can play with while I’m working on something else. Currently, he’s been into learning the ABCs so we’ll go over each letter and sing the ABCs together while I tackle the task at hand.
Create a weekly schedule. Gone are the days where you can deep clean the entire house and then have the rest of week for some me-time. If you’re still able to do that, kudos, I’m jealous!
Gone are the days where you can deep clean the entire house and then have the rest of week for some me-time.
For me, I found that I can create a list of different rooms to clean on different days. Every night after my son goes to bed, I do a quick session of straightening up and put everything back in its place. It’s less cleaning and more maintaining. Then I deep clean the specific rooms on the days I have planned.
In the beginning, I defined balance as having everything done to perfection. I made sure everything had a place and nothing was dirty before I went to bed. This left me exhausted and as my son grows up, I’m realizing that it’s more fun to hang out with him and watch him learn and to leave the mess for the next day….or for my husband.
I think the word balance wasn’t easy to hear at first, as it highlighted one more thing I had to figure out how to accomplish. But what I realize now is that however I get through the day, whatever works for me, is my definition of balance. There’s no right or wrong, just some tricks I’ve picked up along the way. ★
Joanna Bavilacqua is a full-time work from home mom. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two-year-old son and 13-year-old Yorkie. When she’s not working or hanging out with her family, she likes to plan vacations, try new restaurants, scroll through her favorite Instagram accounts and then go on unnecessary shopping trips for home decor.