NOTE: This post was originally published at Moments By: Jenn-Lee.
How do you manage being wives, and mothers and meet the demands of family life while still pursuing your dreams/career?
We’re often asked how we balance music and family. There are points in our lives when we DON’T have a lot of Mercy River duties. We keep our summers fairly open for time to run through the sprinklers, construct lemonade stands, and go camping, but during busy seasons? Heaven help us. We HAVE to find some way to balance everything or we go crazy. We’d love to share some of our tips with you! So, without further ado, we give you…
15 LIFE BALANCING TIPS FROM MERCY RIVER
1) Let The Kids Help Themselves: I have space in my fridge AND in my pantry that’s completely dedicated to my kids’ snacks. In the fridge I have yogurt, string cheese, and fruit. The pantry has granola bars, graham crackers, marshmallows, and raisins. The kids know it’s there and it’s within their reach. So anytime I get asked for a snack, the answer is, “You know where to find it.”
2) Use the Village: I have a babysitting group with two of my friends. Every Monday, our kids go to a different house from 9:00-12:00. They’re all the same age, so to them it’s just a playdate. For me? It’s heaven. Two out of every 3 weeks I get 3 hours to myself to run errands, clean my house, even take a nap. We’ve also done this on Friday nights for dates. It’s just…AWESOME.
3) Embrace The Morning: I’ve learned to really love early mornings. I’m usually up anywhere between 5:00-6:00. I go to the gym, do my grocery shopping, get my scripture study in…all before the kids are awake. It makes my day so much smoother.
4) Make Dinner Before Lunch: On super hectic days, this helps me a TON! As soon as breakfast is over I make dinner , whether it’s a crockpot meal, a casserole, a soup, whatever–and I stick it in the fridge to be reheated in the evening. This was truly a revolutionary discovery for me.
5) Think of Time as Tithing: We tithe 10% of our money to the Lord…should our time be any different? My days–busy or not–always run smoother when I make time for the Lord. He helps me run much more efficiently and productively. Give Him some of your time each day–and He will make the rest of your day better.
6) Over-the-Door Shoe Organizers: I have 5 of these hanging on the inside of doors in my home, and only 2 of them are actually FOR shoes. One is dedicated to seasonal “stuff.” In the winter, each member of the family has their own “row” for hats, gloves, scarves, and mittens. No more searching for mates! In the summer, we replace winter gear with sunscreen, swim diapers, bug spray, sunglasses, water goggles, etc. I’ve used these “pockets” in so many ways: church ties, hair bows, small toys, emergency supplies, the list goes on. (Oh, and in my kids’ rooms–where I DO use them for shoes–I “decorate” each pocket by slipping in old birthday cards they’ve gotten over the years. Having those on “display” brightens up their closet with memories and color.)
7) Listen to Audio Books: This doesn’t exactly save time, but it DOES help me include something I love that I usually do not have time for. I love to read, but when things are busy, I just can’t. Listening to audio books while I clean the kitchen kills two birds with one stone: it makes me WANT to clean my kitchen–and it gives my weary brain a much-needed escape.
8) Crockpot Breakfast: I like to send my kids off to school with a breakfast that will fill them up better than cold cereal, but 4 girls out the door before 8:30? Insanity. When I know we’ll have a particularly crazy morning, I like to stick steel cut oats, water, with almonds, cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins, etc. in the crockpot the night before. I just turn it to low, and the next morning a hot breakfast with no mess! (And my house smells amazing.)
9) Make a Meal Plan: Every Sunday I make a plan for meals for the week. This not only helps me with grocery shopping, but it helps me avoid that 3:30 PM brain stump of “what do I make tonight?” I can also be on top of any meat that needs to be defrosted, vegetables that need to be prepped, etc.
10) Choose Velcro or Slip On: I go for shoes my kids can put on themselves. For some reason, not having to tie shoes up a billion times a day helps my sanity.
We hope these help you find some balance in YOUR life!