Disclaimer: I don’t have it all figured out, I run around like crazy most of the time, work-life balance is this elusive goal that seems to get further away the older I get, and sane is not something my husband would normally call me.
A few months ago I realized that while finding balance in my life was going to wait until I am 80, I needed to find it for at least a few minutes at a time (notice I did not write every day – that would be too much of a stretch.). It’s nothing groundbreaking – not much energy for that – but perhaps it can be helpful to other overworked busy professional moms.
I read a book (usually very short) to my daughter every day.
You know the routine: At night you run home from work, try to get some dinner on the table while talking to your kids about their day, cleaning up, thinking about lunches for tomorrow, and trying to get your mom off the phone. I only have a bit more than an hour to see my daughter at night before it’s her bedtime and I found that I was just rushing through this time trying to get things done (and I am lucky to have a husband who is home in time to give her a bath and help with bedtime). Once she was in bed, I felt sad that we didn’t actually get to play or have any fun while we were together. So I made a rule for myself – somewhere in this chaos to read a book to her. Usually it’s just five minutes, but we’re sitting together, no one is running around, and it feels really, really good.
I drink tea and eat a piece of dark chocolate in the afternoon.
Yes, all those Dove commercials got to me. I make tea – microwave is a nice thing to have at work – take a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate – and read something online while I pretend to relax. This doesn’t happen every day nor am I able to actually stop working when I do this, but I think it does slow my mind down a bit, which is a gift.
I do one thing at work before I check my email.
I make a list of what I have to do. Read a report or an article that’s been sitting on my desk. Go through a document I need to review. It doesn’t matter what it is but doing it before letting the sea of email wash over me and distract me for the next four hours makes me feel more organized and productive.