If you are struggling to balance it all and drowning under the weight of too many responsibilities, it’s time to stop. Stop trying to balance it all; you can’t.
As homeschool moms, it is so easy to set our expectations way too high. We think we should be able to do everything and get it all done well. “Everyone else is balancing all this stuff, why can’t I?” we mutter under our breath. But we’ve been led to false conclusions through limited internet interactions (social media) that show only a fraction of the story. No one else is balancing it all either!
We are all human, made by an amazing creator to be less than perfect. Adam and Eve falling in the garden was not the back-up plan for Eutopia. It WAS the plan. From before time began, Jesus was our Savior. (John Chapter One.) Perfection was never on the map.
So, if perfection was never meant to be achieved. What can we do?
Let’s start striving for the one thing we were put on earth to do: Relationship.
Relationship with God and relationship with others.
Let’s narrow our efforts to finding balance in life. Start with your relationships. Make it all about the relationships. Hear me now, I did not say, “Make it all about rainbow spaghetti so your kids think you are awesome.” Nor did I say, “Make it all about Sparkling Slime because that’s where your relationship with little ones is going to happen.”
I said: Make it all about relationships. When push comes to shove, sitting around a kitchen table with the simplest meal you can get to the table in the chaos is where it is at. We don’t need Pinterest. It has only existed for five years or so.
We don’t need to live Pinterest-worthy lives.
So if the goal is not balancing it all — the goal is to balance less — where do we start? How do we narrow down our list? We start with our relationships. We build our lives around strong relationships with our God, our husbands, our children, our family, and our friends.
Keep it simple and focus on the things you actually need. You don’t need $100 to date your husband. You don’t need an awesome craft to make a day memorable. You don’t need a clean house to have another mom over for a chat. What is the only thing you need to give God, your husband, children, family, and friends?
So filter everything you are going to do today through the lens of relationships. Start with the time you will give away. Build your life from the ground up to be centered around relationships. Anything that doesn’t keep your priority on relationships needs to go.
If teaching a class at co-op is taking all of the joy out of your relationship with your teenager, give yourself permission to stop. If cleaning your home to your bare minimum standard means you never have time to give your preschooler, reconsider your bare minimum standard. If connecting with old high school friends on Facebook is keeping you from connecting with your tween in real life, unplug. If blogging-for-profit is draining all of your emotional resources so that you have nothing left to give your husband at the end of a long day, let it go.
You cannot balance all the things on your list:
- Well-Groomed Children
- Well-Cleaned Home
- Always Cooked-from-Scratch Meals
- Amazing Projects
- Homeschool Proteges (Be honest, how many of you deep down think your success as a homeschool mom depends on your child being at least four grades ahead?)
- Romantic One-On-Ones Daily
- Work-At-Home Income
- Completed Scrapbooks
- Organized Shelves
- Cultivated Yards
- Church Involvement
- Outside Activities for Everyone
Girls — that’s a lot of stuff to put on your plate. Again, start by giving your family and God what they want the most — your time. Then add in the things you value most, a bit at a time, until you reach a well-balanced day. Then stop. Look around you. What had to give?
Chasing the idea of balancing it all is like chasing your tail. You won’t ever win if you think ALL THAT is possible. By carefully thinking about your expectations, starting with the gift of time, and adding in the things that really matter bit-by-bit, you can balance less. You can do this, Mom.
Here are some free tools I use to manage my time.
Rescue Time: Get the free plan, and track all of your computer time and see how much time you are wasting on social media. I have this installed, with a goal of spending less than two hours per day on the things I have set as “time wasters.”
Evernote: Take notes so that you don’t waste time looking things up later. Clip recipes, shopping lists, interesting articles, and more from websites. Create to-do lists. Keep shopping lists. Keep anything you need to keep track of in this computer-based note-taking system. Sync with your phone using the Evernote App. Sync with your husband and children too!
This last one costs money, but I love the service. It’s pretty amazing what they can do.
Fancy Hands: Have Fancy Hands do some of your busy work for you. They can make appointments, sort out your cable bill, do research, and more. Plans start at $29.95 and you will get half-off your first month. Use coupon code RELAX-025 for an additional 25% off.