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Monday, February 13, 2017

God Knows it's Difficult: How Can You Balance Work And Family as a Mom? || Read For Free


I had my daughter Shae when I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. By the time I was 21, I had
two more children.

I didn’t grow up in the church. My father wasn’t there for me and my mom was strung out on drugs for most of my childhood, so I learned the hard way how to navigate life. And I have made plenty of mistakes that made my reality a difficult one.

As I grew and matured, I was introduced to Christ by a friend and that changed my life in so many good ways. Not only did I want to grow spiritually, but I had a deep desire to better myself naturally. I wanted to give my children a better life than their own mother had coming up.

So I enrolled in classes at a local trade school and felt a sense of accomplishment. It felt really, really good to be taking control of my life finally. But it was hard to handle things on my own. I worked my way through school. Money was tight. I scraped by on pennies to pay for daycare for my youngest. I was broke as a joke most of the time and secretly envied women who had the “traditional” family, or, at the very least, a good support system.

I wondered how much better life would be and how much further I would have been if my mother was there; if I had not been left alone to fend for myself; if I had known more about the consequences of my choices.

But that way of thinking made me feel worse. That negative mindset overshadowed my blessings and all the good things happening.  Somewhere down deep I knew crying over my lot in life wouldn’t change it. Being angry, resentful and jealous of other people I thought had it easier was just eating me up inside.

So, I prayed about my feelings. I confided in trusted sisters in Christ who advised me, prayed for me, loved me through it and didn’t judge me. They encouraged me to keep going to school, even when I wanted to quit.

With God’s help, I made it through, finished school and landed a good job. Though there were challenges then that still exist now, I have learned 5 important principles that help me balance work and family that I hope you'll find helpful.

Here they are:

1. Accept that it won’t be perfect: I wish I could say I found perfect balance, but no mom does, whether married or single. The more I talk to women in all types of situations, the more I learn that we all have challenges we’re faced with as mothers who are career-driven, ministry-focused, or entrepreneurial. So lose the idea of perfect balance. It doesn’t exist!
 
2. Budget your time: We often talk about budgeting our money, but we need to budget our time, too! Working and parenting is taxing, especially when you add in the adult and child- oriented extra-curricular activities. If you don’t get real about how much time you truly do or do not have, you will end up running non-stop from sunup to sundown. This is where planning comes in handy. Get you a calendar. Jot down all your obligations. See where there’s any overlap and cut out anything you don’t have to realistically do. That may mean telling yourself and your children no about some things.
 
3. Find your unique rhythm: I was so miserable when looking over my shoulder at the next mom and comparing my life to hers. After I stopped doing that, I found my own unique rhythm and way of doing things. No two lives are the same. Honor your circumstances, embrace your reality and do what works for your family. For example, some mothers get their kids in bed by 8:00 (or earlier) every night. While this might be ideal for them, that may not work for you. Don’t feel guilty. Do your best, as long as you stay consistent with your methods as not to disrupt the flow of things in your household.
 
4. Make a realistic timetable for goals: Many women who don’t have children can more easily accomplish a lot in less time, with less strain. There are exceptions to this rule. But for the most part, the child-free group doesn’t have another little life (or lives) to worry about. That means they can devote themselves to school, career, business and ministry, with less intrusions, interruptions and outside demands. As a mom, your priorities are different and so will your timetable be. Instead of cramming all your goals into a short window of time, realize that it will take a bit longer to get certain things done. And that’s perfectly OK.
 
5. Forgive yourself: You will fail at juggling it all sometimes. If that hasn’t happened yet, keep living and you’ll see. When you fall short and don’t divvy up your time just right, whether you feel you have neglected the kids or a task related to your career, don’t beat yourself up. Forgive yourself for not being the perfect Susie Homemaker type that takes care of the kids, keeps the house immaculate and gets dinner on the table, without breaking a sweat or having a strand of hair fall out of place. That’s not realistic.

God knew what your situation in life would be and that did not stop Him from choosing you to
advance in your career, ministry or business endeavors. It may not be easy always, but you can do
all things through Him. You're never alone. He's with you, helping, guiding and blessing you all the
way. 



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