Balancing Work, life and family | How do I fit it all in?!

Balancing Work, life and family | How do I fit it all in?!
Hi Mrs. T,

My question is about balancing work/life/family, what are your tips for making sure you don’t tip over? As a part-time working mum of a toddler, I’m struggling to fit everything in!

Thanks,

Emma

Canterbury, NZ

Mrs T’s response

Hi there, lovely to hear from you.

The dilemma you are feeling is a common among working parents, particularly during the earlier years. With the financial problems modern families face, it’s a rare occasion to find any parents who can afford the luxury of one of them being able to be a stay at home carer. Needs must, as they say, and financial obligations have to be met.

These obligations are often debt related; such as a mortgage, car payments, etc. but more often than not the debt is through the use of credit cards. These debts will often begin pre-children and are generally quite manageable. However, when the added weight of the cost of raising a child/children is added, it can be a real headache trying to balance everything.

The term ‘credit’ card is grossly misleading

If your bank account is ‘in credit,’ it means you have a surplus. These cards, which are pushed on us either by banks or aggressive advertising, are DEBT cards. We all too often use them to purchase things we don’t need and are then enslaved to work strenuously to pay them off. And with interest accumulating at a steady rate; the end never seems to be in sight.

First of all, trying to juggle your home life and the needs of your child is an emotional rollercoaster, interwoven with an overwhelming feeling of guilt. Second of all; how to fit it all in? Do you feel you are always trying to keep up with everything, but feel you’re just treading water? The emotional burden is as exhausting as the physical. Emotions, such as guilt, which, quite frankly, is a complete waste of energy; self-inflicted which robs us of joy. Feeling guilty serves no purpose other than to make us feel down and a failure, which holds us back from enjoying the journey of discovering our real potential.

Getting your life into an efficient routine is the key to success. Oddly enough, the more children someone had, the more super efficient and organised they become because they HAVE to.

Your success in going forward will depend on your personality, commitment, and strength of resolve. You will need to make the necessary CHANGES and have the courage to see it through no matter what. If at any time you stray from your new found routine, things will begin to crash around you like a line of dominoes. Then it takes even more energy and time to get back on track. On saying that, there is hardly a well-organised routine which isn’t thrown into chaos when something out of your control happens, such a sickness. But, if you understand this is usually a short-term glitch, you will be able to pull it all back together with some quick thinking.

So, how to move forward? The answer comes in two parts.

1) Make a list of all your resources, such as parents, family, friends, and even neighbours, who could help you. See if you can get a sincere commitment from them to step in to assist in an emergency (sickness, car breaking down, etc.). Have your ’emergency’ contact numbers in your phone so that you can reach any of them quickly. Try to organise a rota of child carers, but always be mindful to keep this circle to just a few, trusted people to enable your child to be comfortable and happy in and around familiarity.

Create a written time management system, so you know at a glance where you are, and what you need to be doing next. Calculate the hours in your day and where the tasks you NEED to prioritise can fit into your timetable. While I’m acutely aware that having a little one who quite rightly demands your attention, you can, with smart time management, create more time for him/her/them. Some of your tasks can be organised for during the periods your little one is being cared for elsewhere. You could even make a list of these, and place your child with a carer for a few hours a week to enable you to achieve these goals.

2) Take control of your finances more productively. The less financial strain you have, the less time you will need to have to work to earn money, and the more time you’ll be able to spend with your child/children. Sit down and write all your monthly outgoings, how much income you have, and what spare cash you have left after paying everything, including your weekly shop. As for that weekly shop, NEVER pop anything into your basket you don’t need. ALWAYS look for the reduced bargains. My philosophy is: Better in my bank then in theirs.

Use as much excess money as you can to pay extra off your ‘credit’ cards, thus bringing the debt down quicker, therefore reducing the interest charges at a higher pace…better in your bank than theirs. Strive to ultimately pay off these cards, or any other debts as soon as you can. This may take 2 or 3 years. However, one day you will be debt free, and one day that will be today.

Rania is a super-mum who, even though she has five lively youngsters, and is a working mum, has developed a system & structure which enables her to juggle it all, even though often exhausted. Allowing her to have more free time to enjoy the family life she is creating. I feel sure she will be happy to set you up with the same system & structure she uses, enabling you to achieve your goal of super efficiency too.

I would like to add, may I suggest, you take a look at the post Mundane Chores over precious moments, where you may find other issues you may be feeling.

I wish you every success. Always remember your worth. Be willing and open to new ideas. Have the courage to make the changes you need. Above all, reach out to those who can help you to move forward.

Take care,

Mrs T

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