Achieving Balance as a SAHM

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you can’t do a damn thing right? 

Today is one of those for me.

The house is in upheaval, I have way too much to accomplish, and I’m starting to feel like I never get enough quality time with my boys even though I’m at home with them all day. 

Desperate for some kind of answer, I googled for it.  I don’t cope very well with stress so almost anything that’s swamping me gets googled.  You’d think that if something was getting a little overwhelming that you’d try like hell to get on top of it and make it seem not so bad.  Not me!  I go into some kind of horrific paralysis and start to fret about never being able to get anything done and how my day is ruined.  I know, completely productive, right?  Joy of joys, I come across an article by none other than one of my favorite moms, Tsh.  I found some of the best advice I’ve ever read about finding a daily balance in your life between your home and your children and at this moment, it was exactly what I needed to hear. 

An Article by Tsh @ SimpleMom:  The Daily Balance of Parenting & Housework: Four Useful Reminders

1.  Let go of perfection.

I’ve written already about how perfectionism ultimately makes you more unproductivebut it also makes you more of a control freak.  If the towels, the dishes, and the table setting has to be just so, then no one in your home will want to do it.  Which means you’ll have to do it.  When imperfect people live together in a home, the home will be imperfect.

2.  Let them help.

Let your children put their special touch on housework, and they’ll better understand that they matter in the home.  They’ll take more pride in the work if you’re patient and forgiving with their final results. Plus, when they’re young, they actually think chores are fun.  Take advantage of that.

You know what?  My daughter’s towel-folding chore has improved drastically since she first started helping about six months ago.  I know she’ll get the hang of it.  In the meantime, the perfectionist in me has to show her grace and be satisfied with wonky towels.  I cringe, trust me, but when I think about the big picture of things, I’d rather her develop a good work ethic at a young age than have stacked towels worthy of Martha Stewart.

3.  Let them wait.

As important as it is that they help, there are also tasks that must be done by a competent adult.  It won’t kill children to learn to wait.  When you’re paying bills, and they want to play Candy Land with you, teach them the value of patience.  It’s hard for kids, but the sooner they learn that they are not the center of the universe, the better.

It’s also good for kids to learn how to play alone.
My children are not good at this, being the social butterflies they are – but they still have alone time during the day.  The same 3-year-old who helped me with today’s laundry also has a 1-2 hour quiet time every day.  She doesn’t have to sleep, but she has to play quietly by herself in her playroom.  This is when I try to get a good portion of my chores done that require concentration.  There are plenty of “Is my quiet time over?” shouts from down the hall, but at least it’s a bit calmer than the rest of the day.

4.  Let them have your utmost attention.

Ultimately, there are unique times when we, as the parent, need to let go of our agendas and focus fully on our children.  My 8-month-old son has a cold at the moment, and he was wailing as I worked on the laundry.  I had a mounting pile of clothes before me, but I stopped and played with him on my lap for awhile instead.  That was more important.

My to-do list might barely get checked off on those days, but I have to stop and ask myself – how do I define a successful day?  Is it getting a lot done?  Or is it pouring into the lives that matter for eternity? Sometimes it’s hard to remember.

Lovely article, no?  Occasionally I just need things like this to smack me right in the back of the head to put things into perspective.  What do you do to make sure your house maintains that balancing act of work and play?


1 Comment

  1. February 1, 2009 at 1:28 am

    I do a lot of the things you suggest! I realised having thing ‘just so’ was completely useless if I wanted to have a life with three kids in the house! I let them help and although I might sigh a bit (quietly!) at their efforts, at least they’ve helped! I probably make them wait a little more than I should, but they’re relatively patient now! And I also take time out when I am listening to them about something important that they have my undivided attention and some time just with me on occasion.

    I had the opportunity to expand my business considerably a few years ago but I chose not to – my family is important, children are only children for such a short time and its important to me to spend time with them and guiding them to be (hopefully) balanced young people. I don’t regret it all! I still have my business and its doing well, but on my terms.

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