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Real moms share: How I live a balanced life

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Can you do it all?

Family, friends, work. How does a busy mom balance it all? Establishing priorities and creating routines are just a few of the secrets real moms use to balance their daily juggling act. Read on for tips on living a balanced life.

balancing your family and lfie

1

Categorize your life

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.

2Prioritize

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."

3Take each day as it comes

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."

Juggling work and family >>

4Make it good enough

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!

Real moms guide to cupcakes >>

5Let the kids help

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."

6Accept imbalance

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!

more tips for moms

Why teach responsibility?
6 Simple shortcuts for moms on the go
5 Tips to a happier and healthier you

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