Balance…it’s one of the hardest things for me to accomplish now that I am a SAHM. I am not a neat freak by any means but I do like everything in its place.
On the days when we play and laugh and memories are made somewhere inside me I still feel like a failure. I look to the kitchen and see the sink piled with dishes ( why do I do this? I have a dishwasher.. ) I feel defeated. Why can’t I play with my kids and keep the house tidy and still have free time for me?? .. Part of me blames our open concept house for this…. would it be better if I couldn’t see the kitchen * cough mess * all day?
You know out of sight out of mind.
Then on the days I manage to keep it clean and tidy, I find the kids are the unhappy ones. Always standing at my feet begging for my attention. Or squealing that pterodactyl scream babies do when they find their voice. Then I get angry because all I want is 30 min to do the dishes and clean the counters off. ( Oh I know it’s not their fault I’m just so much fun to be around lol )
All jokes aside I was struggling hard to find that balance I needed. To feel productive, to feel sane. And to feel like I was in fact accomplishing something as a mom as well a woman.
Between cleaning and play time, I never seemed to have any quality time for myself.
And so began the trial and error of how to balance life as a SAHM. After testing a few different strategies I came up with the 50-50 Nap Time Rule.
First things first, this 50-50 Rule does not always work. When I decided to test it out, my boys were in a solid nap routine so it worked perfect for a week or so.
Then one hit a growth spurt, wouldn’t nap and only wanted to nurse.
The other started teething again and our nap routine went out the window, like it always does when you have more than one kid.
Having said that I STILL try to follow the 50-50 Rule the best I can, it’s day-to-day like every other parenting tactic. It has however saved my sanity and has made me more productive in the past month or two than I have been in the past 2 years.
Ok ok, I hear you saying it, get to the point already!!! What is the dang 50-50 Nap Time Rule ????
It’s simple really, you spend the first 50% of your kids nap time ( or quiet time ) cleaning, doing laundry or other daily tasks you feel you absolutely need to get done. The other 50% is your FREE time for SELF CARE! Read, Shower, Draw, Write. Do whatever you need to do in order for you to feel like a human being again. *Note: some days ( those really hard days ) I reverse this and do whatever I want first. It helps to get me back on track just in case one of the boys wakes up early, then I don’t lose my precious down time. The dishes can always wait.
For my situation IF I can get the boys napping together that means: 1 hour for cleaning and 1 hour for self-care.
I would sometimes go days without doing something for me, and I was drained and angry with the lack of ME time. My temper was showing and I was falling deeper into the dreaded MOM FUNK.
Once I started following this 50-50 Nap Time Rule everything changed. My mood changed. The house got cleaner and the boys were happier. Winning!
Some days this doesn’t work though. I can’t always get both boys to nap at the same time, or one might only nap for 20 min. On those days I just try to smile, go make a coffee and pray tomorrow they’ll nap their usual 2 hours!!
I have also learned to use my evening free time better. I try to make sure the dishes are done before bed / or the dishwasher is at least loaded and turned on. Since it’s usually only the boys and I home, we don’t really make a lot of dishes but not doing them everyday tends to add up quickly. This is obviously extremely helpful on days when I don’t get a chance to use the 50-50 Rule.
So, what are you waiting for? Try it out mama!!
I’d love to hear back if this 50-50 Rule works for you too. Leave a comment or send me a quick email at email@example.com and let me know if it works or what you do instead to balance your mommy duties / me time.