Work/life balance is a debate often heard in communities and in the media but what about just balancing life in general. There are only 24 hours in a day and I need to sleep for 7 of them, this leaves 17 hours, child 4 is awake for 12/13 of those and he takes up quite a lot of time just because he is two and therefore needs a fair amount of close supervision.
So how to split my time, well I aim to complete one job per day. I have to cook dinner and loading the washing machine is easy enough. I try to clear as I go. That is I don't leave the breakfast stuff until later, well unless world war 3 is taking place elsewhere in the house. The older 3 children are quite good at sorting themselves out, they can sort their own breakfasts, load the dishwasher and get themselves ready for school etc. I have found that if I just aim to complete one additional job, like hoovering or ironing I can feel that it is actually viable and I often get that one job done.
If my expectations of myself are too high, I am just setting myself up to fail and failure isn't good for the soul, it also doesn't set a good example to my children. They honestly don't care if the house is a little untidy or if child 4's fingerprints are all over the windows. They do like to have homemade cake in the cake tin so it's fortunate that child 4 loves baking. They also want to come home from school and share their news of the day, they want to eat dinner together as a family, especially if it's Taco Tuesday, lasagna or burger night. They want to have story time, movie night, a cuddle just time with mum and dad. Is that not why we had them all in the first place.
Here is a story I read once years ago, I tore it out of the magazine and it's still pinned, well read and tatty, on my notice board today, just to remind me about what is important in life
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him.When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2" in diameter.He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes."
"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter - like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."