I recently finished reading Julia's Child by Sarah Pinneo for my online book club From Left to Write. In the book Julia is putting in a LOT of hours trying to make Julia's Child, an organic toddler food company, get off the ground. The main focus of the book is her struggle with balancing work and home life. That really hit home with me since I have been struggling with the same since my third child was born almost 4 months ago.
I feel like now that it has been 3 1/2 months since Lily turned my life upside down I have to stop using her as an excuse why my house is messy, I'm tired, and I just generally can't get anything done. Added to the mix is that I work 5 days a week outside the home and Lily is exclusively breast fed. Four of those days are very long, I'm gone for 10-11 hours. I spend about 3-3 1/2 hours out of each day feeding Lily. Figuring out how to fit everything in every day when I am only home for a few hours before needing to go to bed in order to get up at 5am has been a real struggle.
So how am I finding the elusive "balance" in my life?? I've learned to let go. It sounds so simple, but for me this is just about the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm somewhat of a neat freak. Yet I have learned to live with a messy house, or at least what mess is left over after my amazing husband has finished cleaning up. (His idea of clean is on the complete opposite spectrum of mine. LOL!!) If there is something that HAS to be done I ask J to do it, or one of the older kids. Otherwise it has to wait until after I get the baby nursed and put to bed or for Friday. Friday is when I try really hard to accomplish everything I can't get done during my 5 day work week (Sun-Thurs). It is just Lily and I at home on Friday's since I ended up putting Noelle in daycare so I could get more done. This gives me from 9-3 to get all the laundry done, clean the kitchen top to bottom, and clean the downstairs floors. I get a jump start on the laundry by having Adam and Noelle gather, sort, and load the first load of their laundry before I take them to school. They are also required to put away their own clothes that night.
Another change I have made is that I have stopped cleaning up after everybody. J is an adult and the kids are 5 and 8, they can pick up after themselves. Again, this is REALLY hard for me to uphold. I am constantly starting to pick up a mess or put something in it's place and will stop myself and make myself leave it for whoever it belongs to. So hard!! But it really has helped my anxiety about a messy house to tell myself that MY messes are cleaned up and that is all I can do.
This post is inspired by the novel Julia's Child by Sarah Pinneo. Worried about what her kids eat, Julia Bailey starts a prepared organic toddler meals business. Can Julia balance work and family and still save the world? Join From Left to Write on May 24 as we discuss Julia's Child. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.