Hi, I’m Kymber. Mom to an active three year old little boy who thinks he is a dinosaur (triceratops to be exact), a feisty almost two year old little girl who thinks she rules the world and soon to be another little munchkin with an unknown gender (we love the element of surprise!). I am a dedicated wife to an engineer who can sometimes work long hours and travel for work. Add on freelance graphic designer, family photographer and marketing manager for Simpatico Design Studio and you can see I wear many hats. Here is my Team Perspective piece on How Not To Do It All. Miss the first two installments of this series? Read them here:
Team Perspectives: How Not To Do It All by Becky Kopitzke
Team Perspectives: How To Stay Balanced Or At Least How I Do It by Dave Simpson
Ok, let me re-phrase, instead of “I don’t do it all” I should have said “I don’t do it all in one day.” That’s the the key phrase to helping me do it all: NOT IN ONE DAY. On any given day you would walk in to my home and probably find the dishes haven’t been done if it’s before noon, my kids are probably still in their pajamas, there is laundry to do (seriously, does this ever end?!) and I am splitting my time playing and spending time with my kids and trying to keep up on all of my work. Most people do not have the opportunity to work from home so they can be home with their kiddos, and I am eternally grateful for this. With that being said, some days it proves quite difficult to do it all even if I do spread it over the span of a week.
First reason being the obvious: toddlers are hard work. They are all time and energy consuming somedays. They take almost constant attention and always seem to need something. Diaper changes for the little one, many trips to the potty with the older one, messes to clean, teaching them manners and rules, being a referee and don’t forget to feed them meals that they will refuse because “they aren’t hungry” then ask for a snack 30 seconds later. It’s a never-ending, thankless job that for some reason makes me so happy. Let’s not even get started with the expectations from society for parents now days.
Second reason for me is the lack of time. My kids are not school aged yet so while I don’t have to get them up and out the door, pick them up and chauffeur them to extra-curricular activities, which I’m sure will pose it’s own type of madness, I also do not get that break/time while they are in school. I have before they get up in the morning, nap times-if they decide they are going to nap on that given day- and after my husband gets home from work to get my work done. Most days, this is no problem. Other days, no matter how good your time management and organizational skills are, nothing will get done. AND THAT’S OK.
The third reason is the never ending list from between work and parenthood/taking care of a household combined. Just when you think you have made headway, four other things pop up. Not everyone deals with the same struggles as I do, but I think we can all agree that work/life balance is hard accomplish successfully.
With the reasons above being stated, here is my advice on how to do it all and not lose your sanity. The best piece of advice for people who are out to have it all is to decide what “all” means to you, set goals and prioritize. Prioritizing and goal making are key in being successful. Of course, having the right tools can be a huge aid in your success. A few things I rely heavily on to stay organized, sane and to help me prioritize are lists and my calendar. My lists include the task, due time/date and time in/out and my calendar has everything color coated (orange for photo sessions, purple for marketing/graphic work, blue for home stuff).
Another great way to tackle that to do list is to plan your day accordingly for what fits for you. Maybe you work at an office so the majority of your working time is from 8am-5pm. Maybe you work at home, like me, and early mornings, nap times and evenings give you the most freedom to concentrate on work. Whatever your daily life is like, take that in to consideration when planning your daily workload to make sure you are scheduling tasks for the most efficient times possible. Also note that this is subject to change and should be re-evaluated regularly. While my kids are happiest playing independently in the mornings allowing me to work right now, maybe as they get a bit older mornings won’t be so productive for me as their needs change.
The other thing to remember is some days, ok most days, sacrifices will have to be made. You can have the most detailed list in the world, but things come up that will be cause for you to restructure, or even ignore, your to do list. Learning to let go and go with the flow cuts back on the stress and anxiety that comes with being driven to reach your goals. Another thing to remember, and take this with a grain of salt depending on the situation, some days it’s ok to just take a break or the day off. If you are feeling burnt out, take the day to do something not on your list. This can the the single best way to boost creativity and productivity. A burnt out, tired brain does not do it’s best work.
Most of all, remember not to let the crazy expectations society is placing us be your standard for what you should be doing and do what’s best for you.