Finding Balance as a Working Mom

The month of January is usually filled with enthusiastic intentions and overwhelming failures. New Year’s resolutions, in my mind, just set us up to fail. The emotion and excitement of change and discipline quickly fade into disappointment when we realize that this life thing is hard. And we’re tired. So, there are no resolutions for me this year.

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Instead, though, I am striving towards a goal for 2015. I’m aiming, not for specific results, but a state of being. A mental orientation that (hopefully) translates into some action.  Throughout 2015 I want to focus on balance. My goal being to strike a balance between doing stuff and doing nothing.

Most days, I wake up tired, go to work, come home, play with my kid, cook some dinner, get my kid ready for and into bed, and then collapse in front of the TV with my husband.  And then we do that all over again. Five days a week. Dishes pile up, laundry gets backed up, and toys are everywhere. Then I’ll get to a breaking point where its all overwhelming and we spend a weekend (and usually some tears) cleaning everything while wrestling a toddler. (When did I get a toddler?)

I’ll find myself driving to or from work thinking about all of the things I want to do. My husband and I want to make a piece of art to go in our dining room. I want to re-upholster my headboard. I want to spend more time reading, both scripture and for pleasure. Oh, and there’s that novel I’ve been meaning to write. All of the creativity inside of me is building up, waiting for an excuse to come billowing out. I feel like a part of me is shriveling up and dying.

But I am so freaking tired.

By the end of the day, my creative needs are buried under my immediate desire to sit down, drink a glass of wine, and get lost in the story line of our current TV show.

So, instead of creating lofty goals as to how I am going to remedy the above situation, I am simply going to focus on balance. I’m going to let myself do nothing sometimes–just not ALL of the time. I am going to make an effort to use my time more wisely (especially those two hours or so after my son has gone to bed) so I can have creative outlets (not to mention, ahem, exercise). Here are a few things I am working on this year to find balance (and feel free to ask me about them throughout the year):

1. Putting our phones away! My husband and I have been talking about what we see as our biggest impediment to doing stuff: the internet. More specifically, our phones. Hours can quickly disappear by simply checking one thing. . . which leads to another thing. . . and another. And then our kid is playing by himself in the middle of the living room and both of us are staring into a bright little screen. Parenting failure.
2. Letting the dishes sit there. Often, I don’t take time for myself because I feel like I have to make sure everything is clean first. Well, this year, they can sit there. I’m going to be over there writing.
3. Not watching TV every night. Its totally okay to veg out. Sometimes after a busy day at work or hours of a particularly trying toddler, I’m done. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. But, I am also not going to let myself do it every night, no matter how much I want to watch Parenthood or House of Cards (new season in February!)
4. Have time alone. My husband and I are going to be intentional about letting the other have some time alone to do whatever they want. A friend of mine recently told me how much having alone time has meant to her and her husband. So for a few hours one Saturday, I’m going to leave the house, by myself, and go write, or paint, or do whatever. And the same goes for my husband. He can spend a few hours hiking in the woods or grab a drink with a friend.


I don’t need to be perfect. Or 100% fulfilled in all the ways all the time. But I need to have outlets for my creativity so I don’t feel like I’m drying up. And I need to veg out sometimes because I’m tired. And that’s ok, too!

Have you found a balance in your life?

Kristen and her husband, Gabe, married young, halfway through their college careers at LSU, figuring it would be more fun to be poor together than alone. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2007, they trekked all the way to Delaware, where she earned a Master’s degree in English Literature and can tell you more about Nineteenth-century England than you’d probably like to know. Afterwards, they spent a carefree year living in Philadelphia, enjoying city life, before moving back home to Central and settling in. The start of 2014 brought their son, Sam, into the world—their greatest adventure to date. She works full-time, tries to cook most nights even though she’s exhausted, and is trying to see the beauty in the mundane. Kristen is passionate about eating together around the table, teaching our kids to be independent and creative, and empowering dads (rather than telling them they’re doing it wrong). In her “free time,” she enjoys reading in the bath, watching Doctor Who, intending to do DIY projects, and occasionally making cameo appearances in her husband’s music videos.



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