On Balance, Blogging, and Turning Two

February 15, 2011

me and boy

Today is just an ordinary Tuesday for most of you, but for me it marks the two year anniversary of my blog!  Yay!

What a year! I never imagined so many opportunities would come my way and I am so grateful to all of you who visit now and then, thank you SO much!

I’m one of those many multitasking moms, but lucky enough to be able to work from home, blessed with good health, great kids, a supportive husband, and a plethora of power tools.  Life is pretty good, and I’m thankful everyday. 

I often get these questions: How do you balance it all and get so much done? How do you manage your time?  How Do You Do It All?

My friends, let’s face the truth.  No one can ever “do it all”.  Not unless you’re Martha Omnimedia with unlimited resources and highly paid staff to cater to your every whim.  Then yes you probably can do it all, I suppose. 

There are plenty of things I don’t do, and for me, that’s the key to the ‘balance’ question.  I’ve decided what I can accomplish in any given day or week, what I have to sacrifice to get it done, and the power of saying ‘No’ to the things that won’t work for me and my family. 

Life (and blogging) is an ongoing treadmill, and Year Two taught me a few things.  But like a runner who’s been running for awhile, most importantly it taught me to find my stride.  The last two months have been extremely challenging.  I flew to the east coast three times in six weeks, all the while doing all the other things I ordinarily do.  I can’t believe I haven’t fallen down or gotten sick, which is nearly impossible when you’re on so many airplanes and picking up all those germs on every hotel doorknob and elevator button. 

I absolutely could not have stayed afloat this past year without my eternally patient husband, daily devotions, the support of some ‘got your back’ moms in my community watching over my munchkins, and Dori’s ‘just keep swimming’ attitude!  

 

I’m pretty disciplined with my time, but I’ve also learned to be forgiving of myself.  My house is never perfectly straightened, dust free, and it is rarely ready for company.  So what?  Perfection is not my goal, contentment is my goal.  Dishes and laundry and kid toys pile up, clutter creeps in, and to tackle it all I just keep swimming. 

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Here are a few of the rules I’ve made for myself to successfully manage my time.

Budget Office Hours.  I’m rather disciplined and I recognize I’m most productive between 9 and 2 p.m.  9  to 11 a.m.  I make the rounds, email, comments, favorite blogs, and a little time on Facebook and Twitter.  From 11 to 2 p.m., I run errands, keep appointments, gather supplies, start new projects, then at 2:30 I pick up my kids and take an afternoon break to do homework and clean up around the house.  That afternoon break to focus on family is extremely important to me.  I budget a few hours after bedtime to write, and I spend most weekends working on new projects. 

Avoid time hogs.  There is so much on the internet, and on television I could be online or in front of the tube all stinkin’ day.  If that was the case, nothing would get done.  I love social media, but for now I stick to only Facebook and Twitter and have a ‘login, logout’ philosophy.   Just a few minutes here and there over the course of the day.  My television is never on during the day, unless I have two sick kids at home like yesterday, then I make an exception.  I record every show I like, then I catch up every few days after the kids’ bedtime or on the weekend when I have time. 

Try to Prepare Posts in Advance.   Long ago, I used to scramble to finish a project and photograph it ‘today before daylight ends’ to post ‘tomorrow’.  Ack, that’s just too stressful!  Sometimes this still happens to me, but for the most part I try to stay a few days ahead, and write down a schedule of posts for the upcoming week.  I find that if I start early on a project and pace myself, allowing time to finish or deal with an ‘oops’, then I stress a lot less. 

Kid Swap.  My kids are at an age where they are all about the play date.  Great!  I have a fab community of moms and we often kid swap for two reasons:  clean laundry room1) kids love playing at their friend’s houses for a few hours and 2) it’s a heck of a lot easier to run errands alone.   A trip to the grocery store alone is that priceless opportunity to read labels and plan menus without distraction.  The art of the kid swap is a major time saver for me. 

Finish Cleaning Late in the Day.  One thing that helps me a lot is saving the home chores for when I’m home with the kids in the afternoon.  Yes, I actually leave my morning dishes in the sink if it’s during ‘Office Hours’ !  I finish them in the afternoon when the kids are doing homework at the kitchen island, that way I can help with homework and clean at the same time.  I fold laundry upstairs in the evenings when they’re also upstairs in the bath.  Etc.

Dedicate Time for Family.   All blog and no play makes me a cranky Mom.  The choice to work from home to be closer to my family has to actually mean something.  When I hear those words, “Momma, are you done with your computer?  Will you play with me?”  I heed them.  To me, no amount of pageviews is worth that chance to play, even if it’s to reenact for the hundredth time that first scene in my boy’s favorite movie. 

star wars battle

They’re only little once, I’m not going to miss it. 

Let Go.  I’ve learned to resist the pressure to post every day, as much as I’d like to, if my home life gets too busy, I can’t do it.  I don’t think anyone should ever feel the pressure to post just to post because they haven’t posted in awhile.  I’ve found a good pace that works for me, 3 to 4 posts a week, but if I ever need to take a step back, I certainly will.  

Take Care of Yourself.  Rest is best!  It bears repeating how important it is to make time for exercise, for play, and for eating well.  And when life falls completely out of balance which it often does, take a day or two to rejuvenate with some junk TV and ice cream or whatever it is that makes you feel better.  Then pick yourself up and go for it again.  Just keep swimming.

Thanks again to those of you who stop by to visit and say the kindest things.  Words cannot express how much I appreciate you.  I read every comment with a smile on my face, and I’m so grateful for your thoughtfulness, your humor, and overwhelming support. 

So, now that I’ve rambled, I’ll take a big breath and blow out my candles. 

Cupcake with Two Candles

Happy Two Year Anniversary to you Centsational Girl !

smiley_thumb6

Anyone else out there have a great time management tip you’d love to share?  I’d love to hear it!

 

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220 Responses to “On Balance, Blogging, and Turning Two”

  1. Sarah says:

    Happy Birthday Centsational Girl! Thanks for finding the balance and creating a great blog that I love reading :)

  2. Peggy says:

    My days were pretty much like yours when I was working from home and all I can say is, “What a great gig!” We get to take care of our kids and all of the wonderful things that go along with that and yet have a career at the same time. As you said, something has to give and housework and being organized were my back burner issues. However, it’s been three years since I stopped working, this year my youngest went off to college, and I am busier now than I ever was before. Go figure! I like to tell people I’m working my way through my twenty-five year long “To Do” list.

  3. Nicole says:

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary. I recently stumbled upon this blog from Life in Grace. Once I starting viewing your DIY project list I was hooked. Your blog is lovely and I enjoy reading it daily and look forward to starting some new projects of my own that have been inspired by you. Thanks and God bless.

  4. Karen T. says:

    Looks like you’ve got a great time management plan that works for you. One just cannot miss valuable time with their kids & spouse. It seems sometimes that in the blink of an eye your child has grown, met some milestone, etc. & you just can’t get these moments back so enjoy it now before they’re off to college.

  5. Susan says:

    Kate, Congrats on your two year anniversary! Love reading your blog and seeing all the amazing renovations you take on! I think balance is a tricky, tricky thing…even when folks work outside the home. Enjoy those little ones. You will never say, I wish I had spent more time on cleaning or blogging or (fill in the blank) when they are grown and gone. You’re doing an awesome job and really sound like you have your priorites in the right place. Can’t wait to see what you bring us in your 3rd year of blogging. :)

  6. Grace says:

    Congrats on your two year anniversary. You are a blogging wonder – my hats off to you.

  7. Congratulations on all of your success in the past two years. I’ve been a proud follower of your blog since it was still fairly new and the quality has remained consistent. Yours is one of the first blogs I read.

    Best of luck on your continued success and happy anniversary!

  8. mypatsyann says:

    What a great post. Once again. Thank you.

  9. Melissa S says:

    Happy Birthday! Love reading your blog!

  10. stacy says:

    Happy Anniversary! I just recently found your blog and I love it! Your projects are inspiring. I am a SAHM who is constantly trying to find balance. Thank you for this post!

  11. Thanks so much for this post. My blog turns one in just a few days and I enjoyed seeing that someone else has to stop and reboot once in a while. I have been trying to put out a post every weekday while still working a full time job. It’s brutal, but I love it!

  12. Karen says:

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary! I have been following you for a little over a year and I love your blog.

  13. Jane says:

    Congrats!! Love your blog, your projects and your words. Balance is key – university starts for me next Monday so I will be back on that treadmill. Your way of looking at life is great! Well done!

  14. Cathy M~ says:

    Hiya Kate! Congrats on your 2 year anniversary! I just want to say that I love this post! It is so real and I feel like I got to know you more! You have always been such a nice blogger (emailing and commenting) and I just want you to know that I appreciate it! Big hugs to you! Cathy

  15. rozelyn says:

    Happy birthday! Thanks for such an inspiring post.

  16. Tina says:

    I just discovered your blog via Ohdeedoh. Happy 2nd birthday!! I love your thoughts and ideas. I’m a new mom an always looking for good advice and resources from experienced moms. Thanks!!!

  17. Gabby says:

    I saw your recent appearance on Nate a couple of weeks ago. How exciting was that! I am also using your post as an example in my current post. Balance — I like how you broke it down. It seems to be a constant juggle however you seem to be pretty level headed + open minded about it which is great! Love your blog. Happy Birthday to you and keep up the good work. BTW — I am also a No Ca girl blogger ;)

  18. mana says:

    happy birthday!!!!!!! and keep swimming, we will still be here although you take some days off!!! love your blog.

  19. Shaunna says:

    Well, I’m just now reading this brilliance and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thanks for being real…totally refreshing and uplifting. Gonna keep swimming through this busy season of my life (with many dishes in the sink).
    xoxo
    shaunna

  20. Happy blogiversary! You are right – you are always honest in your posts and I appreciate it!!

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