Pushing the Up Button on Work/Life/School Balance

In her workout DVD Extreme Shed & Shred (which is awesome; you should try it), Jillian Michaels reminds viewers that “you can always, always push the up button.”

So true of life as well as weight lifting.

One thing about work/life/homeschooling balance is that it’s unpredictable.  You never know if a client’s change of schedule will result in two overlapping deadlines in the same week that your kindergartener decides to boycott subtraction.  You can’t predict when the babysitter’s car will break down or someone will start throwing up while you’re on a conference call.  After three and a half years you might forget how tired and sick you get while pregnant.  Sometimes life pushes the up button for you!

What do you do when the up button gets pushed on your work/life/school balance?  Here are a couple of things I’ve been trying to do as pregnancy sickness and exhaustion have left me feeling like a sloth with mono (who still has a job and needs to homeschool) for the past couple of months:

1. Focus on core competencies.

It’s too late to toss my kids in a school, so I’m on the hook for homeschooling, plus I really, really enjoy homeschooling and sometimes I think I do a fairly good job at it.  And I can’t subcontract my work or outsource being the wife and mom in our house (not that I would want to).  So I put my limited energy toward those things and try to let other stuff go.  Which leads me to point 2…

2. Outsource, let go, say no.

I have to teach Hannah multiplication, but I do not have to cook dinner from scratch every night or clean the bathrooms.  Fortunately because I have work coming in I can pay someone to clean, but if I couldn’t afford that, I would just ignore the mess until it got really bad, and by then my husband would probably have noticed and would pitch in (he’s actually super helpful around the house, especially when I’m not feeling well).  I’ve relaxed my standards for lots of things for now.  It’s only a season.  I’ve also just said no to a lot of opportunities–things that would have been fun, I’m sure, but that I just don’t have the energy for right now.  Sometimes you have to admit that you can’t do it all.  It’s better to save the energy for what you do best, than to be somewhere and be too wiped out to enjoy it.

3. Remember the blessings of a life well lived.

When I’m feeling terrible and it’s taking foooorrrrreeeevvveeerrrrr to get through the spelling lesson and a deadline is looming and my brain has turned to mush, I remind myself what a blessing my full life is.  This fall I’ve been struck so often by the things I take for granted.  I am never too alone.  I have amazing conversations with my family.  I get to do work I’m good at, but in a really flexible way.  The class I’m teaching this year is really rewarding.  I’ve had unexpected fun times with friends.  My husband thinks I’m pretty even when I’m pregnant.  My life is full, and it is good.  “Count your blessings” has pretty much lost its meaning from cliched overuse, but keeping perspective and a positive attitude really does do wonders when life is coming at you fast.

Do you ever feel like your up button is pushed?  What do you do to manage your balance when that happens?


Disclosure: The Jillian mention is an Amazon affiliate link. I don’t get paid to promote her workouts, I just really like them.  

One thought on “Pushing the Up Button on Work/Life/School Balance

  1. Oh my! I know exactly what you’re talking about. Moving away from my family and support system/social life while pregnant this past spring was SUPER hard. In August I had a baby and it was by far my longest recovery (easiest birth, go figure) for so many reasons. And because family is several States away now, I actually have to host them in order to see them. School with Jesse just got more involved this fall and Lily has entered the terrible twos… which I don’t believe in… but she’s doing her best to test that theory.

    But when I do stop to think about it, I am very blessed!

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