Finding Balance as a Parent

Author: one tough job

It is as if time vanishes as a parent sometimes. One moment, you have all these goals. The next, you are falling asleep on the couch. Don’t blame yourself if you don’t meet all your goals but try to find a balance to mitigate stress. There is a balance between caring about your children every moment of the day and finding time for things you want to do, love to do, or feel less stressed if you do.

Nationally recognized author and speaker on work-life balance and parenting, Laura Vanderkam, speaks about How to Gain Control of Your Free Time in her TED talk. “We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want, and then time saves itself,she says.

The key to stress mitigation and finding balance, and time for the things you love, is to reflect on your priorities. Whether you are a new parent, or your child is entering elementary school, finding time for yourself means thinking about your needs and your children’s needs first. Outside of these needs, there is time in a day that you can choose what you want during that time.

Ask yourself these questions to decide what to do with those little moments of free time:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What do you love?
  • What makes you feel less stressed?

If you are happier when you are active, then find time for that. If you love to read, then find a manageable next book or story. If you feel less stressed with a clean home, then spend those ten minutes in between tasks to clean one room in the house or just tackle dusting. Even taking five minutes to sit down before your children come home from school or daycare can be a priority if that is what makes you happy.

As a parent, there will always be those necessary tasks but find a balance, find time for the things you love to do, or that make you feel good. Laura Vanderkam suggests imagining it is next year—and you feel you had an AMAZING year. You look back and ask yourself: Why was it an amazing year? What did I do that made it amazing? This practice can help you determine your priorities, the things you want to fit in to relieve stress and find balance this year.

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