The Balancing Act

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Hi everyone! I think it’s worth sharing where I’m writing from this week since it relates to this topic. I’m currently in my hotel room at Aulani Disney resort in Hawaii, writing while my daughter naps after a fun morning at the pool. This family vacation is all part of maintaining a healthy work / life balance! I think it’s so important to get away as a family to reconnect and recharge. Not that we don’t love our everyday life, but the routines and responsibilities can take a toll, and going somewhere to relax and have fun is so nice! We have had so much fun together this past week just enjoying each other and our surroundings! P.S. I highly recommend this place for families with young children!

Anyway, on to the broader topic of work / life balance. First of all, I think it’s just that - a constant balancing of priorities. To give you a sense of what my daily life looks like, I have a full-time corporate job that I would consider both demanding and flexible, I have a two-year-old who is just demanding and not flexible ;), a husband, another baby on the way, I try to workout at least 3 times a week, I have a side business and all the other typical adult responsibilities like cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc. I think parents today more than ever are trying to do it all, and to put it simply - it’s hard! I know most of the time I feel mentally and physically exhausted at the end of the day, but I also feel like what I’m doing is worth it.

My husband and daughter are the most important things in my life, and if I could spend my time however I wanted without worrying about money, I would spend most of it with them. But this is the real world, and we need money (and lots of it in the Bay Area!) not only to survive, but to live the life we want. So I spend most of my time working. I’m fortunate to love my job, but I won’t sugar coat it - it’s still work! Having said that, it is important to me to have a career, so it also holds a top spot on my list of priorities. My short list of top priorities looks something like this - family, friends, career, fitness, healthy eating / living, travel.

Since the way I spend most of my time is dictated by financial need and career aspirations, it’s really important that I maximize my time for myself and with my family outside of work. Since I became a mom, I have learned to cram a lot more work into a shorter period of time and/or work different hours so I can fit everything that’s important to me into my day. I go into the office a bit later in the morning so I can spend time with my daughter when she wakes up and most mornings we have a family breakfast before I leave. It’s important to me not to fly out of the house unless I absolutely have to. I like to be home to get my daughter up, dressed and ready for her day. I also try to leave the office relatively early so I can go to a Crossfit class on my way home. While I would equally love to race home to my family, it’s also important to take care of my personal fitness and well-being, so I try to dedicate an hour a few evenings a week to working out. I feel so much better when I’m consistently working out, and I’m a better person, wife and mom because of it. Since I’m often getting to the office on the later side and leaving on the early side, I sometimes work again in the evenings once my daughter has gone to bed. But usually if I’m efficient with my time in the office I don’t have to do that which is great. I’d much rather put work on pause to spend a few hours with her before bed and pick it back up when she’s asleep, than work straight through and miss that precious time with her.

Once our daughter goes to bed in the evenings, my husband and I have a few hours to spend how we want (well, once the house is picked up and the kitchen is cleaned which is the bain of our existence!). Sometimes one or both of us has work to do, but ideally we get to spend quality time together, which usually means watching one of our favorite shows. The weekends are a bit all over the place just depending on what’s going on. We try to spend as much time as possible together as a family, but my husband is a self-employed videographer so his work often takes place on weekends. We just try to be mindful and if we aren’t together for a period of time, we just prioritize family time as soon as we can to balance it out. We realize that sometimes you just have to make tough choices for a variety of reasons and prioritizing what’s important isn’t always clear cut.

Because my time outside of work can feel so limited and I want to maximize time with family and friends, I’m always looking for ways to simplify or save time on those must-do things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. Once the weekend rolls around after a busy week, the last thing I want to do is spend it all doing errands and chores - but they still have to get done! We’ve been using various meal kit services for a couple years now and love that they give us healthy dinner options without the shopping or thought process. We have dabbled in grocery delivery services and use Amazon prime like nobody’s business! We also have a house cleaner come every once in a while to do the deep cleaning that’s so time consuming, although I am always saying that if I had a bunch of extra disposable income I would hire a daily housekeeper in a second! Keeping the house clean (especially when you have kids) is so time consuming and I am always thinking of what better things I could be doing instead of it!

Like I said, it’s a constant balancing act in prioritizing and being mindful about what’s most important to me. It’s not easy and I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes I let something less important get in the way of something more important, but I try not to beat myself up for it because I can always rebalance.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things change yet again once our second baby arrives this Fall. My daily life will obviously look a lot different while I’m on maternity leave (hello baby snuggles all day!) but I think it’s these ebbs and flows that keep life interesting! I will love the change of pace while missing work and my typical routine all at the same time.

I hope this post either gave you inspiration, validation or just the satisfaction that you could relate in some way. I look forward to connecting again in a couple weeks!

Sara