Monday, September 12, 2011

How Do You Find Balance?

Okay, so…I was chatting with a good friend of mine this morning and we were talking about how difficult it is to find balance in life. Pardon me if I ramble, but I just wanted some perspective from all of you intelligent, successful, women who have this all figured out much better than I do!  ;)

 

I know that many of you can relate- as Moms/wives/employees- we are often pulled in SOOOO many different directions that it can make us completely stress out and feel…incompetent/ depressed/ inadequate/ like we are failing at our responsibilities.

 

For me personally, I would love to have the perfect balance of: interacting with my children, being a “good Christian”, chillin’ with my homeboy, going to work, working out and taking care of my body, cooking yummy healthy meals for my family on a daily basis, keeping my house clean & tidy, blogging/computer time, reading parenting books, going out with friends, finding alone time…

 

but it seems that when I’m doing really well at a couple of these tasks, the others fall by the waste side. If my house is clean, and the laundry is done- then I probably haven’t played with the kids very much that day… or if I’ve been to preschool, been to work, and come home to cook a nice meal- I have probably used up every last ounce of energy in my body and will fail to make it to the gym, etc.

 

And it doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist, so I want to do everything RIGHT, 110% OF THE TIME, EVERY TIME…which is true about every aspect of my life and it really wears me out sometimes. I put a ton of pressure on myself to strive to be the PERFECT wife, PERFECT mom, PERFECT friend, PERFECT child of God…and I just fail miserably at times.

 

So- I was just wondering how you all find BALANCE in your life. How do you prioritize and keep a good flow going? It seems like just when I fall into a good rhythm, I’ll get off for one day (due to illness, traveling, etc.) and I’ll be completely off for a good couple of days, weeks, months…{gasp}…years

 

It is time to re-focus, and re-prioritize. Mama needs balance! Winking smile

suz signature

46 comments:

Jenny B said...

AMEN SISTA! I am in the exact same place as you right now. No clue what to do now.....how to get it all in line. Let me know when you figure it all out lady:) love you & am praying for you:)
Jenny B

Amy Bennett said...

My oldest is 9 and I've learned that balance is a figment of my imagination and so is a person that is a perfect everything. Just do what you can to the best of your ability and that is fine. Some days your laundry is perfect and some days your kids are perfectly content. There are NO days where ALL of it is balanced and perfect.
That being said, there are better seasons than others. And most of that starts with ME getting good rest and starting my day EARLY. Also, putting aside time-suckers like TV. Yes, we need to have me-time but we all know there are time wasters. Also, LISTS of what needs done helps tremendously.
I don't know if any of that made sense but that's my thoughts off the top of my head.

The Mom said...

I wish I knew! I am a stay at home mom and still can not seem to find the balance! I will be checking out the comments for some good ideas myself!

Cant' wait to hear all the good advice!

asplashofsunshine said...

I can almost assure you, you are more in balance than you realize. Remember, what is balance for you, is not balance for someone else. Maybe take that word out of your vocabulary. Make your checklist titled, "How Can I make my family happy?" You're doing it!!!!

Triplets and a Surprise said...

I have the same problem! One week the house looks great all the ironing is done, but the kids say I didn't play with them enough. The next week we play like crazy, and the house is such a mess you can't walk without stepping on toys! Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels like this!

Anonymous said...

You are not alone....and I only have 2 kids! (4 1/2 year old and a 20 month old) I too am a pefectionist. I work part-time as a morning kindergarten teacher and then enjoy the afternoon/evening to be mommy. What I have found myself saying often is "this is the season of life I am in right now". My husband and I would love to be in small group at church but we just can't do it right now because we want to keep things balanced.When the plate gets too full we often get grumpy with one another because we miss each other. He works one night a week and I have board meetings one night each month and our girls have gym class one night a week. So, each week two nights are out, one week out of every month three nights are out. So for us, we don't want to add anymore. Does that mean I don't go out with the girls? No. I try to about once a month. If I can't get out with my friends we catch up on the phone, next to each other at the gym or send a text. Cleaning the house? I am fortunate that we built into our budget for someone to come and clean the house every other week. I keep the house picked up and look forward with anticipation for Miss Vickie to come! Laundry? Ugh...hate laundry!! Sometimes it sits in the dryer for a few days or until I need to start another load and I am forced to fold and put away clothes. Recently I've made a point to do better and have started a pattern of Wednesday and Sunday's being my laundry days and asking my husband to help me with the putting away part because it cuts down on the amount of time it takes. Me time? I am lucky right now that my kids still have naptime/quiet time. My 4 1/2 year old doesn't also sleep, but she knows she has to stay in her room and read books, play with her dresses etc. until mommy comes to get her. My other "me time" is when I go to the gym. Some weeks are good weeks and I go 4 or more times and other weeks it's only 3. It's important to me to take care of myself so I am healthy and energized for my girls and I also believe it sets a good example for them to know the importance of staying healthy. Time with my kids? After nap time we sit and watch for daddy to get home...a highlight of the day. Dinner time has also become a highlight as we talk about the best parts of our day and then talk about what game we want to play or books to read. As so many moms can understand, I have recently realized how fast time is going and how I need to be more intentional in my times with my girls. You are fabulous mommy and I enjoy reading your adventures with your kids. Praying God blesses you and shows you the balance you are searching for.

Unknown said...

Oh, how I could have written that post word for word (though probably far less eloquently than you). I don't have a ton of advice, but I know that I will be returning to this to check the comments. In the meantime, know that you're in good company!

My husband reminds me that as a perfectionist, my view of "balance" is often unrealistic and that I need to cut myself some slack. I think that's easier said than done!

Good luck, and thanks for posting this...it does help to know I'm not alone.

Misty Cossey said...

Well, I try to have it together. Some day's it works others it just doesn't! I have a daily calendar I keep and I write down my schedule for the day with order of importance. First EVERYDAY, is Jesus Time!! And, last is always "Pick Up". I do chores daily but only a few and that schedule is as follows...Monday, vacuum & Laundry; Tuesday, dust, iron & grocery store; Wednesday, sweep, mop & vacuum; Thursday, bathrooms & laundry; Friday, vacuum and "Scrub" one room; Saturday, catch up on anything I didn't get to; Sunday, REST. "Scrub" is when I clean baseboards, ceiling fans, closets, wipe down walls, etc. I have found that this works best for me because that way the house never gets out of control. I get up at 5:30 and go to bed around 11:00 most days because I want everything done before the girls (two year old twins and a 5 month old)get up so my time with them is spent with them and not always cleaning or working. I also work hard and fast while they nap/rest time (which is 3 hours they HAVE to be in their room to nap or rest quietly). I did this too when I worked so I again never had to spend an entire weekend cleaning. This is what works for me RIGHT NOW. Hope some of it may be able to help you too!

The Drama Mama said...

Suz!! I am so struggling with this since we moved!! Everyday I wake up and try to prioritize my day...which seems to end before I've gotten to number 3 on the list! I need help with this so badly! BIG HUGS to you sweet friend!

Carrie said...

I was going to say about the same thing as Misty.

You CAN'T do it all in one day. I definitely make sure that I find time to play with my kids every day, but as far as chores go, everything gets spread out over a week. Except laundry... I do one load a day so it doesn't get overwhelmingly crazy.

Also, if you don't already do it, get your kids to help with the chores! My 2-year-old helps already - he dusts (put an old sock on his hand, spray it and off he goes!), vacuums (with a handheld vacuum), cleans up his toys, wipes up his spills, feeds the dog, helps load and unload the washer/dryer, puts dirty dishes in the sink, trash in the trash can... So not only is he helping and loving it, but we're spending time together getting stuff done so that *I* have more free time to do fun things out of the house!

Emily Elizabeth said...

I am not yet a wife or a mother, but I am a full time nanny. One way I like to get things done, such as making a meal, and still spend time with the kids is to have them help. If I am making something they cannot help with, I will find something else for them to do such as set the table or unload the silverware from the dishwasher(except for the sharp knives which I do first). One thing I have noticed with this method is that you are not only getting two (or more) things done at once, but you are setting up the kids for being willing to help out with chores in the future.
Another thing I have seen with the families I have worked for is that they will do the majority of meal prep as a family on the weekends which cuts down on prep time during the week.
Good luck finding your personal balance and remember that as long as you are loving those cuties of yours that everything will fall into place (eventually).

Colleen said...

Hi Suz!
I have been a long time reader but this is my first comment (although I was VERY mad about the recent blog troll).

I have a 22-month-old and at this point don't even know if I could handle anymore and I don't even work. I think that we need to lower our expectations of "balance" in order to truly achieve it. Not in a bad way, but finding a way to be happy and content if not everything is in place.

Easier said than done though, I know, I feel exactly the way you do, and like I said, I don't have nearly as much on my plate. Someone once said to me that no matter what you do as a mom you will feel guilty so might as well cancel out that emotion!

Christina.S. said...

Last summer we welcomes our 3rd child into our family. We had a 4 year old, an almost 2 year and then a newborn. Shortly after all the family members went home and "left" us on our own, I realized how much different and harder 3 was than 2. It was REALLY hard for me adjusting to that and everything felt unbalanced. I'm a stay at home mom and wife of a pastor who works out of our parsonage house and I was, and am, trying to juggle day to day messes, laundry, getting time with each kid when so much of my time was monopolized by our newborn, time with my husband, time for me, you know how the list goes on...
I finally tracked it back to the cleaning. For me, having a messy house makes me feel out of control, depressed and just stressed out. But it would get so out of hand and then I was spending whole days at a time, if not more, trying to catch up. So I came up with a weekly cleaning list, so that I could spread all the regular stuff out. All the day to day stuff was still there (dishes, picking up toys, etc.), but just the simple idea of assigning a different type of laundry to each day (kids, mom/dad, kitchen, towel, sheets, etc.) made it seem sooo much more simple to keep a hold of. It freed up more time in the day for me to spend time with the kids, it relieved my stress level and made me feel like I had a grip on things again.
I feel silly saying that a cleaning schedule helped me so much, but it really did. It helped free up time for other things and brought my stress level down so I could enjoy everything that was going up around me - a beautiful family that God had blessed me with!!

AKK said...

Suz,

I love your blog and love watching your kids grow up. Never commented before, but this post really hit home for me...

My children are grown and we are expecting our first grandchild. All I have to say, is that every Mom who actually worries about balance in their life and in the lives of their kiddos is doing the right thing. There is no perfect balance in all that we do. You do the best you can do.

Just remember that you only have your kids for such a short time (even though certain times seem like a LONG time!) It was always a concern that I was balancing everything correctly, and my kids turned out great. Do the best that you can do and ENJOY yourself. Your kiddos seeing you happy and enjoying things is a great example for them!

Elizabeth said...

I've tested out working full time and staying at home full time (not with quads...but with our 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 year olds)...but have found that working part time has had the most benefit for all of us. I do M/W/F while the kids are at preschool. On Tues/Thurs, I try to do something fun with the kids...usually incorporating some exercise...like going for a run or hike; I'm sure that it's easier for me with a double jogger...don't see many quad joggers! Sometimes we hit the library, playground, or just get a happy meal. As far as healthy meal making goes...I've gotten to enjoy freeze-ahead cooking (to a point...fresh is nice too). We plan out our meals for the week, including some stuff previously frozen and some stuff the kids can help make. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the whole laundry/dishes/clean house part fit in...you are right...if you spend the day doing that, then you haven't had much fun time! I try to do it during "rest time" and after they go to bed...but I also need some time to unwind.

p.s. one more exercise idea...do the wii fit or just dance game with your kids. they'll love it, and some of them are actually good exercise!

Lisa said...

Although my children are grown and my only grandson lives at my house with his mother (he is 20 months old) - I hope that my girls remember the times spent doing things with them and not the dust on the furniture, dishes in the sink and floors that needed sweeping. Spend time with your beautiful children, they are only small for a short time (even when it seems like forever) and time spent with you means that they learn your values and beliefs.

lala00 said...

I'm having the same problem! Today I played with the kids and cooked a nice dinner, but the laundry is unfinished and ironing is untouched. I'm trying (again, for the hundredth time) to wake up earlier than everyone else and start my day in the Bible, then pray that everything else will fall into place. Or at least pray that I won't be bothered by the things that didn't work out!

Anonymous said...

My children are 24, 18 and 15. I hate to tell you this but it seems to be a lot easier when they are young. When they are older you are not only working, there are multiply things that they do..sports, church group, work..... The last 2 years I sat in a gym Mon - Fri. for 6 weeks. I just did my best with the house and food..haha

As far as when they are young...I did laundry on Saturday and Wednesdays. We did eat at home most of the time. In the winter the crock pot was my friend!! I baked on Sundays and would freeze about 3 baggies of 10 cookies for the week. I spent 15 minutes on the house right before bed and it is amazing how much better it looked! The kids started having chores at 4. They made their beds every morning, set and cleared the table and rinsed and loaded the dishwasher. When they got older the chores got harder. (they like the chores at first.)
I would really clean on Sat. morning, kids got the dusting job. If I missed one Sat. I didn't worry about it because with the 15 minutes every night it really wasn't bad.
Good Luck!!

Barbara Manatee said...

I think my favorite comment that I read so far was the one that said any mom that worries she's not doing a good enough job at it all...likely is doing the right thing. Great advice and reassurance from a "veteran mom" - thanks AKK!

I have 3 lil ones (4 year old twins and a 2 year old) and work full time as a teacher plus am pretty active in my MoMs group, and have been working hard to find time to work out (was on a mission this summer and trying to keep it up now that school's back in session).

I feel like I give a lot to the kids and work, try to squeeze in some time for taking care of me/exercising, but rarely have time for my husband and friends. Life just moves at such a fast pace these days.

We have fun, things get done (not always 100% and not always right when I want them done)...but it works. I try to prioritize and remind myself of what's truly important in that moment.

As one friend told me when my kids were babies and I went back to work "You'll never regret that you didn't spend more time washing the dishes or dusting...but I'm pretty sure you'll look back and be glad you spent time with the kids and taking care of yourself."

Anonymous said...

There is an old saying: "Cleaning your house while the children are still growing is like shoveling the snow while it is still snowing". From the looks of the other posts, many many people are in the same boat. We all want the perfectly clean house, the perfectly put together kids, the killer body, the spiritual relationship, a gaggle of friends, a fulfilling career. Sometimes you have to combine things. Why not form a play group with church friends. You get girlfriend time, Christian bonding, and the kids get play time. Have you ever heard of Fly-lady? She is a down to earth Christian lady who encourages organization and balance in your life 15 minutes at a time. You can find her online. Encourage the kids to help around hte house, then be content with how they do things. It won't be perfect, it will make things a little better, and you will be teaching them how to be responsible. But most of all remember that the kids are growing up super fast. Spend more time loving on them and less on sweating the unimportant stuff (even if it seems important to you). There is a day coming all too fast when spending time with their friends is more important than spending time with you. You wna their memories of childhood to be of a funloving Mom who laughed and played with the. You want them to remember cooking with you and reading with you etc. They won't even notice that your blinds were dusty or their clothes were wrinkled. And in your case, I hate to bring this up, but the nest is going to empty in one fell swoop....So relax and enjoy the ride. There will be plenty of time for a career/perfect house/6 pack abs before you know it.

Anonymous said...

This is an addendum to an earlier post of mine, but combine exercise with devotional time by putting on a devotional pod cast while you walk the treadmill. And as far as nutritious meals, try this: cook once, eat twice. EX: If you grill chicken, grill enough to slice up for sandwiches or salad later in the week, with a few extras to freeze for another meal next month. Cold sliced grilled chicken makes a great lunch (IMHO)

I am a mom of 4 too. When they were all at home and involved in sports etc, I would cook several meals at once, then freeze them in meal sized portions. Then all I had to do was pull one out the night before. If your oven has a timed bake/preset button, you can pop the meal in the oven, run to the gym etc, and when you get home, the meal is ready to roll. Add a salad and nutritous, home cooked goodness is on the table. I got the idea from a book called "Once a month cooking". I adapted the technique to meals we liked, then really only cooked about 2 weeks worth at a time. Now I just double my recipes and freeze one for later...

Like someone said earlier, the fact that you are even worried about achieving balance means you are probably doing a better job than you think you are.

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney is a great book!

Also as a Christian if we put our relationship with the Lord first by obeying what we know then a lot of the things we do with our time will be more clear. I think it's a struggle we will always have that we have to submit it to God each day. Relationships always matter more than material things and sometimes in our pursuit of material things we can lose sight of the relationships of the people we are trying to provide for.

We only have a small amount of time with our children so as much as we can we need to live in a way that we won't regret missed time with them once they are gone.

Erin

Alyssa said...

I wish I had an answer. I'm a SAHM, so you'd think that after being home alone all day, that I'd have everything done so that I could enjoy my kids once school is out. But it seems like there's a never-ending to-do list (esp. this week with 2 birthday parties at our house). I get one thing done and something else pops up. The kids get home and between homework and breaking up their "fights," cooking dinner and spending some time with them, I'm exhausted before I even get them to bed. I sympathize with you. Must. Find. Balance.

LMM said...

This is just what I was talking about with a girlfriend at lunch today! She recommended this book which is just coming out called Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction by Christian author Matthew Kelly. Might be worth a read (or audio book) for you in this current battle.

Tricia said...

I'm with you on the perfectionist tendencies. I want to everything to perfection all the time and fail every time. Over the past two years, God has been teaching me to let go of my high expectations of myself and to focus more on who HE is. I pray for an eternal perspective and that my focus will be on God alone. Its true that so many things seem so important in this life, but that is just the way of the world. I struggle often with letting go of my expectations so that I can strive to bring God glory, rather than honoring myself. Honestly, reading God's Word in order to learn more about who He is really is the only thing that helps me to keep things in focus and my life balanced in a way that pleases Him.

Jordashblack said...

Suz,
If you haven't already pick up a copy of "A woman after God's own heart" by Elizabeth George. it is my absolute favorite book. She talks about priorities, time robbers, how to find the balance and how to get it all done. I remember a while back when you recommended "love and respect" which is now one of my favorite marriage books...this one is right up there with it as far as the impact it will have. You won't forget it. Just for fun I did it with a few close friends of mine. We read through a few chapters and then emailed each other our thoughts (like a bible study discussion) we learned so much from each other and grew together. I know you are asking how to get it all done and adding a book to your plate doesn't seem like it would help LOL but I read it usually just before bed or during my cardio at the gym. Just a little each day ;) You are an amazing wife, mom, friend, and nurse and you already "get er done" like no one else I know. Keep up the good work :)
Ash

Stephanie said...

Seriously, I think your post is EXACTLY what I am feeling right now. I. Want. To. Do. It. All. Really, I do. Isn't there some sort of self help group for people that think this way?? Argh!!

lauren said...

Hey friend! When I look back over the past 5 years of being a mom, I can see that there is no way to have all of those things working at one time. I would try to let go of that and just go what feels right in your heart. For example, I've been having a blast doing a big PTA project and working up at school this past week, but now I'm feeling that ache because I miss playtime with Jack, so next week I'll focus on that. Josh and I will realize we haven't been on a date in a while, so we'll just schedule the babysitter. Etc, etc. Just do what you can and let go of what's not going strong. Also, we started a daily devo book called the Daily Office, and that has been an incredible blessing to me. It has helped me in so many ways, but I feel like it's helped give me direction in my day (as far as priorites), mainly by the quiet time it "forces you" to have with God. It has given me energy, too, and has made me feel more "balanced". :) love you!

Lizzie Fish said...

Commenting so that maybe I'll get the rest of these fabulous comments by email in case (because) I forget to come back and see what the people who have it together do!!! =)

Because yeah, I'm in the same spot. I want to be PERFECT and it's just not happening. And I just volunteer, not even WORK! Oh my word. The one teeny thing that makes me feel okay every night is if I've made time to sit with my kids and do our bedtime routine - if I have done that, then the other stuff doesn't matter, for at least those five minutes. =)

I know it won't mean too terribly much because you have your OWN standards of 'doing a good job' but it looks like you're doing great! Love this blog =)

Nicole said...

I think you are doing a great job so far of keeping the balance in your family. Don't be so hard on yourself. Working outside the home, and taking care of the home is a tough balance to achieve for anyone!
As for us, we both work full time in demanding jobs, and have four kids (not quads, though hehe). We have found that by hiring someone to come in and clean the house weekly, as well as do our laundry, we have freed up so much quality time to spend with our kids. We found that we can only stretch ourselves so far each day. I used to stay up until 1am each night, getting the house cleaned, and laundry done, and then still getting up for work at 5am. It was wearing me out! So, hubby and I sat down and budgeted for our amazing housekeeper and it has truly saved my sanity. I love coming home to a sparkling clean home, and clean folded laundry. I literally hug my wonderful housekeeper each week, ha! We also budgeted for a wonderful landscaper to care for our yard. This frees my hubby up to spend that time with our kids. He used to spend hours mowing,raking, planting, shoveling snow, etc.
I do all my grocery shopping on the weekends, usually early Saturday morning before the kiddos even wake up so I do not take any time away from them. I make my list out the night before.
I recently started meal planning, and cooking extra meals for the freezer each week. Makes getting a good healthy dinner on the table a lot easier each evening since we are all getting home from work and school. All I have to do now is just take the meal out of the freezer the night before, and let it thaw in the fridge. When I get home, I just pop it into the oven, fix a tossed salad, and voila! dinner is done! I make enough meals on Saturday to cover us for Monday- Thursday. Every Friday, the kitchen is closed (as per my hubby's insistence), and as a treat we all go out to eat as a family (our kids take turns choosing the restaurant), and talk about our week and any upcoming plans for our weekend. Saturday mornings we go out for breakfast, and our kids all are involved in sports, so after we get home, we usually grill out. Sundays, we make french toast or pancakes in the morning, and either eat at my parents after church or at my in laws house.
As for school lunches, my kids and I make them together the evening before. I find it is good quality time, and teaches them the importance of making balanced and healthy lunches. I cut up a bunch of fresh veggies and fruit for the whole week, and bag them individually. I also boil a dozen eggs and keep in the fridge. I also will bake either cookies and brownies, and wrap them up as well. My kids love homemade muffins for breakfast, so I bake some of those too. Easy to grab from fridge when they are already portioned out ahead of time and wrapped. Saves a ton of time too! We either make sandwiches, or the kids like to take hot leftovers from dinner in thermoses. One of my kids loves grilled chicken salads, so she usually takes that, and some fresh fruit. Breakfasts on school mornings are usually simple and easy. Cold or hot cereal, frozen waffles, yogurt and granola, fresh fruit, muffins, hardboiled eggs.

We found that ever since hiring our housekeeper and landscaper, our weekends are now freed up to enjoy doing fun things as a family. No more stressing about cleaning the house and coming home to piles of laundry. and I do mean PILES! All the kids do sports so you can just imagine!
I also suggest setting aside time for yourself, whether it be meeting your gfs for dinner or lunch once a week, or going for a manicure/pedicure. You NEED your alone time, just as much as you need your family time.
We also make sure we have a "date night" at least twice a month, without kids. It helps keep us in balance as a couple, and as a result we are better parents. Oh, how I look forward to those date nights with my man!
Well, I hope those tips help!

Keri said...

I don't think you can. You just do the best you can. I have 4 boys ranging in age from 14-8 and if I'm not at work I am being a taxi to pep band, guitar lessons and other varies school activities. Plus my husband and I try to go to the gym 4 times a week. So we usually only have 3 homeccoked meals a week and I'm always tired but at the end of the day I know I'm doing the best I can and really I think that's all that matters. With this many kids someone is always going to get the short end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

Balance is a daily struggle in my life. After being laid off it was necessary to take a job working for a company that i KNEW had no line between work and life outside of work. Expectations are that if you can log on from home you can be available 24-7. I have spent a lot of time trying to define that line on my own. To set expectations that while although most employees work from home that does not mean that we are working 24-7. I have commited to working a very long day while my son is at day care and my husband is at work and then from the time they return home until my son goes to bed is FAMILY time. No exceptions. Unfortunately this often leads to working late nights but it gives me the time I need to commit to playing with my son, getting his dinner and his bedtime routine. Weekends are for family, if necessary I will put in a few hours during nap or after bedtime. Is this balance? I hightly doubt it.. its more self defense and hopefully it won't last forever and I can find a job that respects the line between work and family/life so that I can do a better job of staying on top of everything. For now the things that suffer are the 'me' time, the time i used to spend working out (although I do try and squeeze that in during the day) and sleep.. I guess everyone does what they need to to get through the day!

Momma and Her Doodle said...

Hello is this thing on? Really you look MARVELOUS and you had quads! Let's hope Savannah inherits you great genes to bounch back into shape... I am still working on mine almost 4 years later and I have 1 kiddo.

Laundry, do a load every night before bed when the kids are asleep in the morning with your coffee fold the clothes. make this a nightly routine and laundry piles should not add up.

What I have found works best for me is to have a home eliptical machine and a home gym this way I can work out before my hubby leaves for work and before I shower and wake my son up and we are out the door. this way it's morning and my workout is completed.

Your home is spotless in your pictures... remember this if your kids are happy, healthy, clean and dressed, your husband and you are happy THAT is what matters. The floors can be cleaned later b/c your kids grow up way to fast! Look at them they are 4 and next year to be in kindergarten.. the days of babies are gone the days of preschool and on the go are here... be proud your do great and I know this by reading your blog! Suz your SUPER MOM with quads... I think you have better balance that you give yourself credit for.

Your not a simple situation... you have 4 kids PLUS Joes and Shiloh!

Emily said...

Hi Suz,

You don't know me but I am one of your best friends! Well, we would be if I lived in Dallas, I just know it! Alas, I live in Las Vegas and will have to settle for reading about your adventures. Love the blog; I've been reading a while now since I have only one 4 yr old just a month younger than the quaddies.

I read another blog called Motherhood Uncensored and just today she launched her new site, http://www.4kidsormore.com/. She has 4 of various ages and starting a site for support and encouragement for large families. It reminded me of your questions about balance so I thought you might be interested.

Have a great week!

Pam said...

Well, since my children are grown and I have been there and done that I can just say I know what you are going through, not that I had 4 at the same age the same time, but three at different ages and still wanted to spend time playing, cleaning, pleasing husband, pleasing me and God. I look back now and I can say...we did good, not always perfect, not always pleasant, but we did enjoy each other, the children had a good childhood and are very good adults and leading good lives. I know there were times the house wasn't perfectly clean and probably one child got more attention than the other, meals were "always" perfect but it just all works out. Bringing your children up in a good Christian home you can't go wrong. You'll are such great parents and your children are so healthy and happy, you'll are healthy and happy....what more can you ask for? You are doing a great job, just enjoy the moments and don't sweat the small things! Love ya Suzi and love reading your blog! You have a beautiful family! Your friend from east texas, Pam.

Kerri B said...

I have 3 kids (not triplets, just singles). When I went from 2 kids to 3 I had a real "come to Jesus" moment where I had to accept that I just couldn't keep up with everything. It wasn't until a full year went by that I realized that I could keep up with it, but it was just going to be different with 3 kids. I had to shift from cleaning the house once a week top to bottom to cleaning one room a day. And instead of getting all the laundry done once and waiting a full week or five days to do it again- I do laundry every single day. A couple loads a day saved my bacon! I've found over the two years since my youngest was born that if I do a little every day, whether or not it seems to make a huge wow factor- it makes me feel like I'm on top of all of it. Getting enough sleep at night is crucial for every bit of it ever standing a chance to happen. Hang in there, Mama! There is balance with young children. :)

erinlaughs said...

I think the key is to know that you can't have it all, and to prioritize. I would like to see my friends more, but it just doesn't happen so I try to keep up via Facebook or email. I would like my house to be super clean but that isn't going to happen, so I try to keep it picked up. I would like a rock hard body, but settle for working out a few times a week instead. I can't cook every night, so I make extras to freeze so that I can just reheat and go.

I realized last weekend that we spent all day Saturday running errands or doing housework - no one had any fun! Now I'm going to hire a babysitter to come every other week so I can run my errands then, and have fun with my kids on the weekend.

Anne said...

I too struggle with that. I have 4 kids and work outside the home too. I feel like once I'm caught up with everything there is a trail of mess behind me! haha A no win situation. The older my kids get the more time outside the home we are...crazy busy with sports/activities but I've learned to savor these moments now. My husband volunteers with most of the kids activities so that helps with the older 2 (9 and 7) and I drag the 2 littles ones (3 and 1) with to watch it all! haha but we try to make it fun! I was in a bad accident last year and since then I have put a new outlook on things and tried to regain focus on the most important. I still struggle too with things not be just right but I'm getting better! hehe

Anonymous said...

I am a mother of 2 wonderful kiddos. ages 4 and 2. I am also a nurse and work weekend option every Friday and Saturday night). I too have the same problems as you do. EVERY GREAT MOM does. That is what makes us great moms. We are trying so hard. It isn't at all possible to be perfect first of all. But secondly, it is hard to be great at all of the roles we play. You shouldn't be so hard yourself and try not be perfect all the time. BTW, I think I need to take my own advice. :) Good luck and let us know if you find out the answers!

Jennifer said...

I have three kids (12, 10 & 6), and our season of life involves lots of time in the car. It's frustrating. I'm learning to let go of a lot and realize that I can't do it all. There is great freedom in embracing our imperfection! BUT making lists and keeping a detailed calendar helps a lot. Schedule in the things you can do, and let go of the things you can't. In addition to all the practices and rehearsals and soccer games, my calendar has things on it like "writing," "gym," "scrapbook," "read," and "date night." We've been married for almost 17 years, and we are still learning how to do that last one! But we've discovered that if it's not on the calendar, it's not going to happen.

Suz, you are an amazing and inspiring woman & mom! Thanks for being so real with us, your sisters.

PS: your post and others inspired this:
http://www.ftcomc.com/2011/09/keeping-all-balls-in-airor-not.html

PPS: Your pedi ophtho, Dr. Norman, is with my husband in Vietnam right now!

xoxo

Marie said...

Amen! I have 4 children (8 1/2, 7, 5 1/2 and 18 months), have an amazing husband, am very active in our church and I teach middle school special ed. I struggle to find balance each day. What I have learned, is that I put God first...if I don't start my day with God, then it is doomed to be a bad day. Then my husband and kids come in. I do all I can to make sure once I am home from work to make them my priority- after kids are in bed, then Matt and I spend time together. I try to steal a few moments away for me every now and then, but work (school and house work) come last...Our home is rarely perfect, but my husband and kids know that I love them...There are days that it all gets done, but I am not perfect and by God's grace, my kids will grow remembering not how messy the house was or how I sometimes went on cleaning sprees, but that I loved them more than anything!

Marie said...

Oh- have the kids help with what they can...it may take a while to get them started and doing it, but let them help, and don't go back and clean it after them (the hard part)...My kids make their beds, sort dirty laundry, put their clothing away, empty/reload the dishwasher and sweep/mop the floors. it is not always to my standards, but they are learning and I didn't have to do it...I had to loosen up my standards and breathe...we will all get there..if I never have the killer body, that will be fine!

Grandma Honey said...

I think it's all a continual balancing act. Everyday, every moment, it's just trying to choose our priorities and do the best we can.

Your life is so preciously unique. I can't even imagine having 4 all the same age :)

Girl Child said...

The answer is:

You will never balance it all, so the best thing you can do is DESTRESS. Do some of this today, and some of that tomorrow.. it doesn't even matter if you clean the house immaculately because it'll be a little messy before you say boo! And if you do "all" the laundry.. you will have at least 6 outfits in the hamper within a few hours..

let it go.. chill.. relax.. don't be a lazy sloth.. LOL but def stop looking for how to make all 33 pieces of the 10 piece puzzle fit.

Hrmph! ;)

Anonymous said...

I mean this in the best sense: I seriously think of people less fortunate than me: people starving in Africa, or working 18 hour days in a sweatshop. Then I remember that balancing things like Bible Studies and coffee dates and exercise and the people I love is a PRIVILEGE that many people don't have. I stop "balancing" and just enjoy the ability to do these different things, even if I don't do them "perfectly".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I've been struggling with being a working parent and not being able to get it all done and wish I could be a sahm. I will say the time with my kids is the most important thing to me.

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