Advice Needed on Balancing Work and Family

Updated on February 12, 2008
B.N. asks from Lake Villa, IL
7 answers

I am new to this so bare with me. I work from home as well as watch a 9 month old baby (friend of ours son). I have a daughter who is 3yrs old goes to preschool twice a week and identical twin boys who are 15 months. I work part time from home and its very hard to get anything done, including house work and time to exercise. I just recently went back to weight watchers and i am doing pretty good. I know i would do better if i could find more time to exercise. But if i do it at night i lose out on family time when my husband is home and then when the kids go to bed we do. I walk 2 days a week with a friend at the mall. She pushes the baby i watch and i push the twins. I am going to take advice given to me and make time those other days of the week as well and see where that gets me.

Hopefully someone out there will have advice on how i can balance all of this and still feel like a whole person.


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answers from Chicago on

Hi B.!
I've been struggling with this issue for a long time. I don't know if I have any answers for you, but I may have some advice that might help. I'm in a similar situation, but I don't have the little ones or babysit. I have a 3 year old who is at home. She missed the cutoff for preschool so I have to wait until next year for her to be gone 2 days. I also have a son who is in first grade. I never had any time to myself to get any work done so I was depending on my husband's help. When he got home from work I was spending a couple of hours working and he did the bedtime routines. We don't eat dinner together like we used to, which we have gotten used to. We spend time together after I'm done working and the kids are in bed. I also found a new solution. I work on the computer and my daughter loves to go on and so that's when I used to get my "not on the computer" work done, whether it's housework or work. I recently got a laptop and now we both work at the same time. If your daughter can find an activity that keeps her occupied, maybe you could have her do that when the twins are napping and then you could get some work done. I just know that this is a situation where you need support. I couldn't do this without my husband understanding that I NEED to get work done. Unfortunately I haven't found time to exercise yet. I think that this is something that I still need to figure out. Another option is to switch off children with a friend. You could have a child over at your house part of a day and then have your daughter visit your friend's house part of another day. You could do this during nap time too. If you have nappers I would take full advantage of that. When my daughter gave up naps that's when I had to start being creative. Good luck to you. Please let me know how things are going. You may have (or get) some great advice that I could use too!



answers from Chicago on

Yes we really have to be creative to fit it all(or most of it) in. I use exercise videos (50 min) or an elliptical machine (30) in front of the TV. I think of exercise as a way to maintain my stamina & mental health. What it does for me physically is really an added benefit. Exercise causes the body to release 'feel good' hormones that serve to regulate appetite & mood. Find an activity you enjoy & think of it as 'the magic pill' to feel good & reduce stress.



answers from Chicago on

Do you have any time in the mornings? Could you exercise 2 mornings, and one evening a week?

There is always a trade off in our time, and you need to put your needs first once in awhile. Make 1 evening a week your night to exercise and Dad's alone time with the kids.

Try to fit in a morning workout 1-2 times a week. You could also just take advantage of any free moments. Jump rope for 10 minutes, jog in place, go up and down the stairs, jumping jacks, etc. When the weather warms up, take a 1/2 hr walk in the evenings. As much as we want to spend are free times with the family, we also need a break ourselves.

I have a 9 yr old and 5 yr old twins. I have had to work f/t outside the home for the last few years ( I used to work at home), so I understand wnting to spend any free time with the family. I try to participate with my daughters girl scout troop as much as possible, and do as much as I can with school activities,and go on field trips, etc.

Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

What time do the kids got to bed? Maybe the kids can go to bed around 8-8:30 so you and your husband can have some time together. You could even exercise together. I try to exercise 7 days a week that way I know I will maybe get 3 days of exercise in. Exercise on Sat. & Sun. when your husband is home and it will be less stressful to fit it in. During the week exercise with the kids. Put on some fast music and dance with them. Look for DVD exercise programs for kids. I use an Elmo one with the kids and I just make sure I keep moving. Pile the kids in the car and go to the mall. Push the 15 months around in the stroller and put the baby in a backpack. Trust me that will be a workout. I don't know where you live but Randhurst Mall is great for this.
As for housework I try to do a load of laundry a day. I pick one room I am going to focus on each day. The rest of the house I try to just keep neat. The best thing to do is CLOSE the bedroom doors! Now the bedrooms always look clean. I also make a list of things that have to get done and just work through the list. There's always going to be things that need to be done so I just tackle it one thing at a time. Clean with your children. I run a family daycare and the children help me clean the playroom. We take all the toys off the shelves and each child has their own cleaning cloth. Usually they end up dusting the whole house because they are having so much fun. Now if I can only figure out how to get them to mop the floors. Don't worry too much about the house work it is more important to be with your family. Your children are going to grow up so fast enjoy this time you have with them. In the end it will all work out. I have a 16 and 18 year old and still can not seem to get everything done.



answers from Chicago on

I've struggled with the same issues. I am a real estate broker with a home office, though I have only a 4-1/2 year old to contend with on the days he's not in school.

What works for us is having a set routine, so there is no conflict or fighting when something needs to be tended to. I do my work out when my son eats breakfast, at a specified time every morning, and he now understands that that is mommy's time to exercise. I have learned to work when he's in school, though I have specified times I work that he is accustomed to also.

Took some time to get in the routine, but definitely worth the effort.

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

B. -

I know this will sound nuts - but exercise WITH the kids. THEY will LOVE it. Start out small - figure only about 10 minutes. DO some streaching etc. then move on and let them do it too. Week by week your time will increase. My youngest thought it was the best thing since sliced bread - when we got to 'exercise' together.

Now, SAHM of six ages 22-5!!



answers from Chicago on

Hi B.!
I have a couple suggestions..I hope they work for you :)
How about a half hour excercise routine? There are plenty of workout DVD's out there that even have 10 minute work out sessions. YOu could do 10 minutes every morning? Or 10 minutes through the day 3 times a week? I use this site to buy my workout dvd's. I can return them if I don't like them so no worries about buyers regret! WWW.COLLAGEVIDEO.COM.
With housework, sometimes the house will just be messy! Esp with how many kids you have, you'd need 5 extra arms to keep up with it all. I clean my place one a week and just put stuff away once a day. This is short term anyway. The kids won't stay this young forver. Once they are able to help put stuff away adn clean, tehy will have their own chores :)
Good luck!

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