Balancing her husband's work, the daily care of her son and her own writing career isn't easy for Emily Guy Birken. "I make a daily to-do list that I separate into categories so that I never feel overwhelmed by all that I need to do. As long as I can cross off one or two items in each category, I know I'm balancing my family's needs while being productive."
Try it yourself: Create your own life categories (for example, kids, work, housekeeping and/or fitness) and feel the satisfaction of accomplishing something from each category every day.
Kate Bacher works full time, is heavily involved in school programs and tries to never miss any of the many activities in which her three kids are involved. How does she do it? "I set priorities," says Bacher. "Kids come first, then spouse, then work. Housework is pretty low on my list, which is why I need three day's notice before I have anyone over. Someday, when the kids are grown, that may change."
Real mom Cheryl Friedenberg is the "CEO" of her household, which includes two daughters, aged 13 and 10, and her husband. There was a time when the busy mom planned and scheduled everything two-to-four weeks in advance, but as her kids get older and life gets more hectic, such advance planning no longer works. "When I take things one day at a time, life becomes a lot easier," says Friedenberg. But even the most perfectly-choreographed day can quickly be thrown off with, for example, a sick child. "As long as I take it day-by-day, I can handle the occasional hiccups without undue stress."
Mom-of-two Laura Lowell is the author of 42 Rules for Working Moms, a book written with input from moms around world. Check out rule #17: Make it good enough. "I'll never forget the freedom I felt the first time I realized I could buy cupcakes for my son's class on his birthday… and no one cared!" Do what works for you!
Friedenberg plans each day with help from the kids. "My children started making their lunches, picking out their clothes and re-checking school papers the night before so that the morning moves smoothly," she says. "We don't rush, and there's no last-minute clothing changes as we walk out the door."
Haleh Rabizadeh Resnick has five kids and a husband, is an attorney, a teacher, a volunteer, an author and a public speaker. How does she balance it all? She doesn't. "It's impossible," says Resnick. "When we focus on one area, another gives. We can multi-task, but at the end of the day, there is a limit to what we can do. You can't be an expert juggler with countless balls beautifully dancing above you." And that's okay!
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