I can see it coming. I can see my patience thinning out before my eyes. My girls want my attention and I just want help. Or I just want to be left alone. Or I just want them to play on their own. If you’re going to keep your sanity, you need to learn how to balance work and family. Your needs are important.
I lose my patience far more quickly than I wish for. I yell or raise my voice. I see my mom in me. She was tired. She was far more tired than I ever knew. She would get upset and frustrated. But I also see, she didn’t take care of herself in the ways we now know we need to. Times are different.
I see my frustration grow as I get more and more tired. In my heart, I want to soak up the precious time with my girls. Yet, there in the day as we run from one activity to the next, quality time becomes survival time. When I see that part of my mom in me – that tired part – I know it’s happening. I know I need to make a change.
Below are a few thoughts on what changes help me. Maybe they will help you.
1. Don’t worry about them. Worry about you
Now is the most important time to start thinking about you again.
Take a deep breath. Give yourself a break. Give yourself a moment. Put the cartoons on and leave the room. Tell your kids you will be back and to focus on anything else.
I know I am no good to be around when I am tired. This is when I am most cranky and frustrated. This is when I yell. But, this is the most important time to take care of myself – to treat myself. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t do a good job of taking care of the family. If I don’t take care of myself, how are my kids going to learn that they need to take care of themselves? If I don’t take care of myself, what example am I setting?
I not only need to survive the day, but I really want to thrive in it, and that starts at home.
2. Get rest
For me, I know I need rest. I need more and more rest. Rest is what refreshes my body and soul. It’s amazing how good you can feel with a good night’s sleep. It’s that thing that you must fight for. This is where you make good choices for yourself. I know I have to go to bed by a certain time to get my ideal amount of sleep in. There are periods of time when I go to sleep late because we have friends over, or I want to spend that extra time with my husband, or I have work deadlines coming. We all have busy seasons and slow seasons. The point is that with rest, you can manage easier. With rest, you are making a conscious decision to take care of yourself.
As a matter of fact, Arianna Huffington wrote “The Sleep Revolution,” countering the age-old thought that sleep was a time waster. Studies show lack of proper sleep hinders our health, growth and even sex lives.
When you move, your body releases energy. When you move, your body creates endorphins. Endorphins talk with your brain and tells it to reduce the pain. When you move you shake off the things that are stuck within your body. When you move you change your present self. Take a walk. Do some jumping jacks. Or, do what I do and throw on some good music!
When you dance you change your energy! Allow yourself that!
4. Do one fun thing
Set the timer for 5 minutes and then go! Race down the hall with your kid! Blare the music! And do some funny dance moves! Jump out of your comfort zone. Let yourself have fun. You’re exhausted, I know. Let it go. Let them play with you how they want. (You can set the timer here too.) Make up funny words and meanings with them.
Say YES! and let yourself enjoy it! Whatever is fun or funny or easy. Have dessert before dinner. Connect. Five minutes will be good for your soul.
5. Try again tomorrow
Give up. Tell the day – you. are. done.
My husband has certainly come home from his work to a dark, disastrous house. My mother liked to put lipstick on for her husband before he came home from work. I sometimes think it’s a miracle I survived the day, especially when the girls were little. There certainly have been times when my husband has come home and I am sitting on the sofa with no lights on, trash TV in the background and I was just done.
That’s OK too. Get your rest, take care of yourself. Do what you’ve got to do. No one said balancing work and family was going to be easy. Give yourself that permission and try again tomorrow!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Ashleigh Blatt’s website. It has been republished here with permission.