BAL­ANC­ING IT ALL

Work­ing, Par­ent­ing & En­joy­ing a So­cial Life

Raise Vegan - - Contents - story by Emma Cot­tam www.is­abel­laandus.com @Is­abel­laandUs @ is­abel­la_ and_ us @ is­abel­la_ and_ us

Asap a rent, it can be tough to balance ev­ery­thing and some­times it feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day to achieve ev­ery­thing you need, or want, to do. With the pres­sures of work, hav­ing a so­cial life and be­ing a par­ent, it can some­times feel like you have to do ev­ery­thing for, and be ev­ery­thing to, ev­ery­one.

The strug­gle for that “per­fect” work/ life balance is real, but is there even such a thing as the per­fect balance? I'm not con­vinced. The key to bal­anc­ing par­ent­ing, work and a so­cial life is know­ing that the balance will shift from day to day, de­pend­ing on pri­or­i­ties, and that this is okay.

For me, the key to find­ing a balance is to know what I am able to give at spe­cific times, what I need and what is most im­por­tant. The balance can shift ei­ther way and, from time to time, the balance might not feel quite right. What is im­por­tant is find­ing out what works for you and your fam­ily, just be­cause you don't feel you have the right balance one day doesn't mean you won't the next. To find the right balance for work, par­ent­ing and hav­ing a so­cial life it is im­por­tant to fig­ure out what works for you as a fam­ily, what is i mpor­tant and what i sn't. It's all about pri­or­i­ties.

For me, as a mom to a nine- mon­thold, be­tween run­ning my own busi­ness and go­ing back to work be­fore Christ­mas, it is im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge what is most im­por­tant for me to do and each day that may be com­pletely dif­fer­ent than the last. Tak­ing small steps can help your todo list seem more man­age­able and it will help the balance work bet­ter for you and your fam­ily. For ex­am­ple, keep your mo­bile phone in the other room when you are spend­ing qual­ity time with your fam­ily, this en­sures that the time spent to­gether is free from dis­trac­tions.

Plan­ning ahead for meals is also a quick and easy way to make break­fasts, lunches and din­ners more straight­for ward and you'll spend less time in the kitchen on busy work days, es­pe­cially if you can im­ple­ment us­ing a slow cooker, batch cook­ing, or freez­ing meals.

Hav­ing that balance comes down to be­ing or­ga­nized and set­ting bound­aries. Sched­ul­ing in date nights, play dates and days out with friends, or­ga­niz­ing out­fits and uni­forms the night be­fore, and set­ting bound­aries for what time you fin­ish work and stop re­ply­ing to emails and mes­sages. Keep­ing a fam­ily cal­en­dar is a su­per easy way to keep track of what ev­ery­one is do­ing when and where, and to sched­ule in fam­ily time, work time and so­cial events.

When try­ing to find the right balance for you and your fam­ily, it is most im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that you need to find what works for your fam­ily's spe­cific needs. What works for my fam­ily might not work for your fam­ily and vice versa. Here are my top tips for bal­anc­ing par­ent­ing, work and a so­cial life:

1. Play to your strengths

– as I men­tioned ear­lier, it can feel like you have to be ev­ery­thing to ev­ery­one, you don’t! Fo­cus on your strengths and what you can re­al­is­ti­cally fit into the time you have.

2. Be re­al­is­tic

– What can you do in the time you have? What needs to be done and what can wait un­til next week? Be re­al­is­tic about what you can achieve and what you ac­tu­ally have time for.

3. Just say no!

– It is per­fectly okay to say no to things from time to time. If it is some­thing you want to do, is it re­ally nec­es­sary?

4. Set your own rules

– Find­ing the right balance for you and your fam­ily means set­ting your own rules and find­ing what works for you.

5. Make time for you

– While we’re busy rush­ing around, get­ting things done, try­ing to fig­ure out the work/ par­ent­ing/ so­cial life balance, it can be easy to for­get to make time for you. It is vi­tally im­por­tant to not lose track of your per­sonal needs and de­sires. If you aren’t at your best, how can you do any­thing for any­one else?

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