Juggling motherhood, a full time job and my side hustle is a challenge. Like most women I want it all. Next to these things I also want to be a lovely partner, great friend and daughter plus be able to hit the gym twice a week and do some yoga. Oh yeah, also add some relaxation time in there.
I always say balance is the key, but how to reach it? I only want to talk about myself because everyone’s situation is different. I think it’s about knowing what you want, what is important for you and setting priorities. I’m a mother and my children are of course important, but I am also important. A mother who doesn’t take good care of herself can’t give her children what they need. The days I’m exhausted and can’t focus and play with them, those days I’m happy if I we just make it through the day. That’s why I try to recharge my battery every way I can. I try to be in bed on time every night and once in a while when it’s possible I take a nap. Power naps do magic! Next to sleep there are a lot of other ways to boost your energy. I’ve been going to the gym all my adult life but only now I’m really taking it seriously. I started viewing it as an investment in my health. If that’s an important thing, I sure must be able to spend two hours a week on it. Through sports I build my strength, empty my head and get those dopamines flowing.
One of the reasons I started this website is because it brings me joy and energy. I put my love of art in here and try to keep it manageable. When I see something is giving me stress it means I just delete or change it. This piece of my life has to be there for expression and sharing and not for putting more pressure on myself. I mostly draw when my kids are in bed for an hour or two. I also love Netflix so when I don’t feel like drawing I try not to be to hard on myself and enjoy a few episodes. Sometimes I also draw on public transport, in a cafe or the rare moments my kids play peacefully. I must admit I feel guilty sometimes when I have the feeling I’m doing it too much. But hey, happy wife, happy life 🙂
Although I enjoy my alone time a lot, spending time with loved ones also gives energy (most of the time) and combining it with activities for the children is a good way to ‘multi task’. Most of my friends also have busy lives and it’s not obligatory to see each other every week, somehow my agenda fills itself naturally with play dates, girltime and family gatherings. The only thing I need to keep an eye out for is planning date nights with my man.
Everything in my schedule revolves around my full time job as a psychologist. Working full time in this field luckily means four days so I have one day a week alone with the kids. There is daycare at my gym so I combine those in the morning and the afternoon is for having fun together. I’m a pretty organised person so at the office I try to manage my agenda in a good way so I can finish all my work and don’t have to bring anything home. In the Netherlands most people don’t make extra hours so keeping work and private life balanced is quit manageable.
In the weekend I try to rush through cleaning the house and running errands so there is enough time to see friends or family and to take the kids out. I like going out of the house with them because at home I always want to get things done or relax and that’s a challenge with two boys running around. A thing that’s also helps is having a meal plan for the week, sometimes it’s boring but honestly I’m just happy with whatever (healthy) meal on the table at the end of the day. And during the week it helps me to eat healthy which makes me feel good. In the weekends I eat whatever I want and that makes me feel even better!
Obviously drawing makes me feel good and relaxed, but I also love reading and drinking coffee in cute cafes. These quiet moments are scarce but one of the upsides of being a mom is that I can enjoy them even more. I also started practicing mindfulness, meditation and yoga more consciously which helps a lot. These skills are something you need to practice every day and some days it flows naturally and some days your way out of the ‘zone’. It’s all ok, as long as you’re trying.
I’m not a perfect mom, artist, psychologist, friend etc. I don’t even want to be. What is perfection anyway? I guess the most important things for me are to be conscious, try to do good and enjoy the ride called life.
One tip I can give, try to do one thing a day which brings you closer to your goal(s), even if it’s for half an hour!