Sunday, April 24, 2011

{shout out}

to working moms. 

And, stay at home moms, because they work oh so hard as well. 

Over the past several weeks, I've been helping out at the law firm a lot.  The project is
beyond stressful, the days are long, I have to juggle school pick-ups and MD appointments
on a pretty much daily basis.  Then, I've been going home to try and catch-up on ordering, editing,
checking/returning emails/phone calls, and in between the rain - completing sessions.

It has taxed me in a huge way.  I feel so guilty.  Although it is temporary and it has refocused
me on being more grateful for my "work at home" job(s)........the end is not clearly in sight as of yet.
I think I'm getting there, just not certain when.  And, to add to a very unbalanced schedule
that is actually becoming a tad {to say the least} overwhelming for me....through in
the rain havoc which is leading to numerous reschedules on an already overbooked calendar and
horrible computer issues over the past week.



and, breathe a little more.

I found this today from LifeWay.

I'm adding it here, so I can search and find it when I put myself in the place again.
I hope hope I don't, but I think I have the natural tendency to do so.

How to Find Balance as a Working Mom

Written by Marie Armenia
This article is courtesy HomeLife magazine.
It’s 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and Tracy has just received a call at work from her child’s elementary school. Her son is ill and needs to be picked up. Tracy quickly reviews her options:
  • Option A: Call her mom. (No, she’s away on vacation.)   
  • Option B: Call her husband. (No, he has an all-day meeting with an important client today.)  
  • Option C: Call her neighbor, a stay-at-home mom, and ask for help. (Sounds good, but her call gets no answer. She must be out running errands.)   
  • Option D: Tell her boss she needs to leave now but will return later this evening to complete her work. (This would most likely be met with hesitation and a deep sigh of discontent. It would also mean missing her daughter’s first solo with the children’s choir at church tonight.)   
After battling tears of frustration, Tracy settles on a modified option D: Leave now, go to church tonight, get up at 4 a.m. tomorrow, and go into the office early to complete today’s work. Sure, she’ll be exhausted, but isn’t she always?

The Struggle To Juggle

Being exhausted is just one part of Tracy’s learning to manage the demands of being a good wife, mom, and employee. And Tracy isn’t alone. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2002 there were 42.7 million working mothers who had children under the age of 18 still living at home.   

Like Tracy, Lisa Baltz, a 45-year-old business analyst, is a working mom. Lisa has the advantage of hindsight since her two daughters are now grown, but she still remembers clearly the challenge of trying to balance her responsibilities at home and work.   

“Sleep deprivation and exhaustion was something I struggled with, in addition to not having any time for myself,” says Baltz.   But looking back, Baltz sees how her working was the best choice for her family, given their circumstances. And she did find many ways to balance family and work successfully. If you’re a mom who works outside the home, you can also learn to successfully balance the mother load.

Making it Work
Plain and simple, moms who successfully balance family and work have one thing in common: They do what it takes to make family their number-one priority when they’re not at work. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice they have several similarities in their approaches.

These working moms:   

Have accepting and expecting attitudes. They accept their situation and expect God to give them the wisdom and strength to balance it all to His glory. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, they “always [face] tomorrow with a smile” (The Message).   

If you know that your working is the best option for your family, pray daily for God to give you the wisdom to know how to make the most of your time and to make the best decisions possible for your family. And don’t waste your time complaining about how heavy your load is; focus on finding ways to make it work.   

Become the queen of routine. These moms know that kids flourish when they know what to expect and what’s expected of them. There are bedtime routines, morning routines, and weekly routines. And these schedules aren’t just for the kids. When parents follow routines, too, it sets a good example for children and helps to keep life saner for everyone. Again, these working moms take their cue from the woman in Proverbs 31, who “keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive” (The Message).   

Sticking to routines gives your children a sense of security. If you haven’t made routine a priority in your home, try one small routine at a time, and do it without fail for one month. Then continue to add other routines one at a time.   

Say no sometimes. Without apologies, explanations, or guilt, these moms feel free to decline requests that infringe on their family time. They realize saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else, such as a meaningful conversation with their husband, playing a game with their children, or catching up on laundry.   Pray about which activities you should be involved in, and learn to say no to the rest. If you have a hard time saying no to others’ requests, begin by postponing your yes. When asked, say something like, “I’ll give it some thought.” Then think carefully about which activities you should commit to.   

Say yes to offers of help. There aren’t any Superwoman costumes hidden in the back of these ladies’ closets. They’re only human, and they know it.  If someone wants to “fulfill the law of Christ” by helping to carry your burdens (Galatians 6:2), by all means let her. If Grandma offers to help with laundry, take her up on it. If your neighbor offers to baby-sit, say yes. Rather than thinking that needing help is a sign of failure, consider it part of God’s grace to help you through each day.   

Learn to delegate. As part of a family, these women ask other family members to take responsibility for their part. Mary Whelchel, founder of The Christian Working Woman ministry says, “Working mothers make a mistake by not requiring the children to carry their share of the work load.” She suggests displaying a chart somewhere in the house that lists each family member’s responsibilities. “Not to do that,” she says, “is to rob your children of learning to be disciplined and that you have to work for things.”   And remember, your goal should be cooperation, not perfection. As Whelchel says, “A thin coat of dust on the furniture protects the family.”   

Find ways to stay healthy. First, that means getting enough sleep. Losing a full night of sleep for just four nights in a row has been shown to cause physical reactions such as memory loss, diabetes, and hypertension.   If you’re not healthy, you cannot successfully balance your responsibilities to your family and your job. Begin by making sleep a priority, limiting sugar and caffeine at night, and taking time for an occasional bubble bath to keep yourself mentally healthy.   

Create support systems. One group of working moms created an exclusive e-mail encouragement group to voice concerns, find solutions, and keep up with school activities. Some moms plan their weekly grocery shopping together as a fellowship time, and others take their cue from Titus 2:3-4 and enter into mentoring relationships with older women at church.  Whatever you do, create a support system, whether it’s a mentoring relationship or a group of godly women who will support you and challenge you to grow.   
Kiss guilt goodbye. Rather than feeling guilty, successful working moms have a confident assurance they are accomplishing God’s will for their lives. Whelchel gives this advice for identifying guilt: “True guilt comes when you are in disobedience to the Lord. You know specifically what it is. As soon as you obey, the guilt goes away. False guilt is a non-specific feeling of not measuring up, but you’re not sure exactly why.” To defeat false guilt, Whelchel advises getting in the Word and “finding a Scripture verse every day.”   While these tips aren’t guaranteed to make everything in your life go smoothly, they can help you strike a balance so that when you’re home, you’re really home.

Option E
By the way, Tracy’s Wednesday turned out better than she expected. Her husband’s schedule wasn’t as inflexible as she thought, and he was able to get their son from school. Later that evening, as she sat in church listening to her daughter sing, Tracy thanked God for being her Counselor and Guide.   
For that day, she chose to focus on Option E: eternal life. She reminded herself that her “light affliction is producing for [her] an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Marie Armenia is a freelance writer living in Spring Hill, Tenn.

The above struck my heart in so many ways.   

One of my biggest mistakes is in the sleep deprivation area.  I used to be a "champion" {I use that term very loosely} in that arena, but, it's not quite so easy for me of late.  My body is rebelling in a big way.  I used to almost take pride in the fact I didn't seem to require a lot of sleep, but, that was totally a false illusion.  Maybe I'm learning in my advancing age?  Or just giving up?  

I love her insight to accepting and expecting attitudes.  My greatest desire:  to be a 100% stay at home mom.  The end.  However, our circumstances do not allow that.  I am extremely blessed to have the ability to work at home on a professional level for the law firm.   And, although at times, I know I have taken that for granted, I am very thankful.   To be honest, that is not the most fulfilling work.  My photography gives me probably much more than I ever give.  And, it's not even really a source of income as my accountant will attest, I'm in the red. :)  But, it's just a very good outlet for me as I don't get the same "emotional" return from the medical records.   And, I do think this is an area as I have tried to  tweak and improve in the past, but it clearly warrants looking at again for a better sense of balance.    I definitely need to focus more here.  Again. 

Routine, I am usually fairly strong here.  But, with me being gone so much lately.  That routine has pretty much flown out the window.   Need to get this back on track in a big way. 

Saying no.  I'm shocking even myself.  And, strangers.  I have learned I can't do it all, even though I try to pretend I can.  Although I may not have any time to squeeze out of my schedule {as in our all day Easter party and Spring Fling} that was something that was very important to my kids - so it was important to me and I tweaked other things.  To be honest, I was stressed the whole time, but I kept going to what she mentioned initially........making the best decision possible, making the most out of it........I had to grab on to it and although I haven't "made up" that lost time, I will.  And, on that same line, I was asked {in front of a room full of moms if I could do something specific and SOMEHOW not only did I decline, I did so in front of the eyeballs of 20+.  It was painfully hard and although I almost retracted, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Because it wasn't about the "gift" I would be giving, but the time that would be involved.  Time away from the priorities that must be tended to now.  

Oh, so hard, the offers of help!!!!  Probably my biggest problem area.  I have BLESSED with friends & family that I can honestly leave my children with and have no worries.  Really, if I die tomorrow, you know who all of you are..........PLEASE stay involved in the lives of my boys.  You have been and are that much of a treasure to this mom's heart.  There have been times that although I cringed, had a sick stomach and wanted to do anything but take you up on your offers.....I don't know what I would have done without your help.  It's not just letting my kids sleep over for the night or driving up to a hospital in the middle of the night to retrieve a child fro me or get a call while you are in the school pick-up line and I am not.........although it takes every part of me to say yes or to make that call....your help to me has been priceless and there really are no words.  And, in that same brother and SIL.   There is no way on earth I could have made it the past several years without them.  Someday.......I may tell him that he has truly been my hero.  But, not yet. :)  And, my SIL - same there.  She would drop anything at any time even though her hands are overly full.   And, when he is here, he is not there.......I don't take that for granted.  The night my dad died when Shawn and I stood in horror in our bathroom in the minutes that followed after we knew he was gone......he looked in that mirror we stood in front of and told me that he would take care of us.......and that he has.  More than he will ever know!!  He was only 13 and had no idea what my future would hold.  He has kept his promise.  The only thing I wish I could change were that 1) I didn't require the help at all or as much as I do and definitely 2) that someday, somehow I can be there for you in a small, small way as you have for me.   Whew!  I'm having a tear flood right now!

Guilt - well, I'm working on that.  

So, this article was huge to me and I want to keep it here so I can return to it.  And, hopefully there are moms out there who are not as off-balanced as I am, but maybe this can help a bit if you are the slightest bit tilted.       

1 comment:

SheWolf said...

LOVED the article! It is SO hard for me sometimes to balance this crazy thing I call life, but I am very blessed with a flexible job, and two Dad's that are very helpful. But, all that said, it's still so hard to work and have children. I struggle with guilt every single day....thanks for the article!!