How do you find balance?

This training cycle has been tougher than I expected.  I realize I have a lot on my plate- full time mom, running my health coach business, blogging and training for a marathon.  Plus there are those “extras” that I’ve said yes to- the hour of volunteering at my daughter’s preschool each week, a regular guest post for a local mom website, revising my health coach site and beginning to blog over there, getting a newsletter together every two weeks and so on.

I love it all! I really do.

Some weeks I find myself riding the high of doing it all and finding that perfect balance.  And then other weeks I feel like I am barely hanging on and I try to figure out what can give.

Stonyfield asked us to share how we balance everything as we train for Boston, so here’s what I’m doing.  I’d love to hear what works for you!

Sleep

Seriously! Despite everything on my to do list each day, I prioritize sleep.  I know I need it to recover well but I also that I am significantly less productive and more fuzzy brained if I’m not well rested.  So I’ll push my run back to later in the day and catch an extra hour if I need it rather than trying to go all day running on fumes.

Delegate and ask for help

I like control and doing things my way, especially with my babies.  It’s hard for me to give up time with them but I have a babysitter coming once a week that has been a huge help.  I also rely heavily on my husband for help around the house.  We have always shared duties and I know I wouldn’t be doing everything I’m doing without all the work he does.

DSC_0352

Simplify meals and snacks

We’re repeating more meals these days since baby J came along.  We stick to foods we always have on hand that are fast, healthy and please everyone.  Eggs are a staple.  Frozen veggies add nutrients to meals on crazy days. Black bean pasta or quinoa pasta with pesto or sauce.  Salmon and sweet potatoes.  Tofu or chicken stir fry.  Stonyfield yogurt for smoothies or snacks with banana and chia.

Veggie Frittata

Alternate bedtime duties

We take turns putting the kids to bed.  Some nights it is still a two person job, but most of the time we’re now able to switch off and on so that we each get some quiet down time (or work time) before we finish cleaning up the kitchen and any evening plans begin.

Efficiency

Now that the weather is a bit nicer, I can get in some of my runs with baby J in the stroller.  I prep dinner while making L’s after school snack and hearing about her day.  I clump errands around the time we need to pick up or drop off L to be as efficient as possible.  I sneak in strength training all day long.  I cut back on social media time when I have work to do- multitasking does not usually equal efficiency on the computer!

Baby J 2 months asleep

Supplementing

On long run days, I don’t worry about my milk supply any longer.  I plan to use extra milk from the freezer until it bounces back up, or I will occasionally supplement with formula on those days.  I don’t need the stress of wondering if she is getting enough.  I still try to pump most evenings after she is in bed but if it doesn’t happen, I don’t sweat it.

A Quiet Moment

I NEED some peace and quiet to recharge.  If I don’t get it all day, I go to bed early enough to read a little bit.  If I don’t get some down time, I slowly start to fall apart.  I need time to reset my own spirit (loving Jesus Calling right now- I know I’m a few years behind but it’s really speaking to me right where I’m at).

What are your strategies for staying balanced and caring for you?

How do you know when you’ve taken on too much?

41 thoughts on “How do you find balance?

  1. Sleep is so IMPORTANT for me, because I am a hot mess when I do not have enough of it. I usually know when I have taken on too much, when I just feel depleted, unmotivated, and cranky about doing my job. It is usually then that I take a break…some alone time…and disconnect. Have a great weekend! XOXO
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..Half Marathon Training WorkoutMy Profile

    • I am the same way without sleep! It’s been a rough two weeks with two sick kids and lots of nighttime wake ups, but I think the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. 🙂 Have a great weekend!!
      Laura recently posted..How do you find balance?My Profile

  2. Great post! I think the best thing that I do for myself in regards to balance is recognizing that there will be some days that I do not get to all the things on my to do list and that is ok!

    • That is so true! I’ve learned to be okay with that too. Many times items on my to do list are rewritten again and again on the following day(s). I prioritize what MUST happen and don’t worry about the rest!
      Laura recently posted..How do you find balance?My Profile

  3. Faith.

    I balance it all with faith that everything will be completed well in the week or when it needs to be done.

    Acceptance.

    I accept that our life is as it is with both of us working from home, raising a two year old and four month old, living in a spot where weather shifts everything, and family calls for help randomly.

    Faith and Acceptance help immensely in finding the resources I need to balance it all. As a backup, we live by the Special Forces attribute of, “the situation dictates the action.” I cannot tell you how I/we balance everything in each moment, but I/we do.

  4. I can relate to this one. I’m a single parent, work full time (with an 1 1/2 hour commute each way), and try not to let my training interfere with my daughter. So for me, it means a lot of 8:00 pm treadmill runs and super early morning runs outdoors on weekends. But instead of focusing on the bad, I focus on the good, and that’s the ability to at least have a treadmill and be able to run at all. It’s not always easy, it’s tiring at times, and recognizing that I’ll never do 100% of a training plan is ok.
    Robin recently posted..Fat Ass Cake Run – Sulphur Springs CourseMy Profile

  5. I need to make sleep more of a priority! I run at night after our girls go to bed as it’s the only time I have after working all day/meals/bed time etc., especially when my husband is away. I’m a big fan of asking for help though it can be hard to do at times but I’ve learned it doesn’t make me any less of a mother.
    Anna @ Piper’s Run recently posted..Injured Runner Hashtag……My Profile

  6. Great tips! Oh how BALANCE has been my word focus for 2015 (and life)… yet no matter how hard I try to find and achieve it… it always looms over my head as I struggle to juggle daily life’s expectations and demands. LOVE that you shared what works for you and your beautiful family! 🙂
    rachel recently posted..Sometimes… Running SucksMy Profile

  7. You truly do have a boatload on your plate right now! I think you’re doing a fabulous job. I’m really glad you are able to sneak in a bit of quiet time in the evening now and then.

    Definitely sleep is the big one for me–when I’m not getting it, I’m just a monster. And for me, setting aside one afternoon a week, if I can, to just unplug and enjoy. Today that means yoga followed by a massage–cannot wait!
    misszippy recently posted..Run it, FEEL it, Spell it ChallengeMy Profile

  8. This is something I struggle with too- While I certainly don’t have it all together in practice, but I do have a plan that I’ve been writing/working on. The challenge then comes in actually implementing that plan.
    I’m finding lately, as hectic as life with 4 kids and working outside the home is, I am a better human if I stay true to two things: Running & sleep (sleep has been suffering lately as the hubby has been on nights again and I have a really hard time sleeping when he’s not home.)
    I am carving out some time for myself this weekend to tweak my written schedule and get things situated so that I can manage my life and try to maintain balance!
    Thank you for writing this post…I really needed some reassurance! There is so much I have to do, and I know I can when I can prioritize and balance!
    Amanda (@mommygorun) recently posted..Honey Bunches of Oats Bake at Home #sponsored #ic #BakingWithBunchesMy Profile

    • You do have so much going on! A written plan is a great idea- it can at least give you some peace of mind even if it isn’t always executed exactly as you imagine. And know that you are not alone! 🙂
      Laura recently posted..How do you find balance?My Profile

  9. This is a really tough one for me, and I relate to seemingly having an endless amount of “to-do” on my plate! I honestly do not have the answers, because it seems to change every day. What is enough sleep one night is not the next, what is a nice invigorating run or yoga practice is exhausting the next. I would say tuning into yourself and accepting limits before becoming overwhelmed is a good skill to work on, probably for many of us moms, I know for myself!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted..No Bake Chocolate Chip Fruit & Nut BarsMy Profile

  10. Great tips. I try to double things up as much as possible, prepping tomorrows dinner while I cook tonights meal etc. I don’t think I will ever live in complete balance, I know I often tip the scales one way or another, but I can live with that.
    Jennifer recently posted..Friday 5 – Spring!My Profile

  11. I really think that balance is overrated. It is constantly moving target that when striving to achieve just adds more pressure and therefore more unbalance :). I just do the best I can. Like you some days I feel like I can conquer the world other days I feel like I can barely keep my head above water and that is normal, that is life :). When I feel like I am drowning I try to take a step back and focus on one task at a time that needs to get done. Instead of focusing on balance I want to focus on doing what I love and enjoying the moments 🙂
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted..1st race of the season re-cap!My Profile

  12. I find I go through phases where I feel as if I have a good system and it’s all working and then times where nothing is working and I’m a mess! Right now it’s the latter 🙂 It’s really hard. I agree, having a regular sitter for a few hours here and there makes a huge difference for me!!!
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen recently posted..Bayshore marathon: week 6My Profile

  13. Love how you alternate bedtime. Very good idea and one we should have implemented a long time ago. I end up doing a big chuck of them, because my husband works late, but if he’s home we both do it. Bedtime is a time that my kids will actually open up to me and talk, so I don’t want to skip too many of them, especially now that they’re getting older and they need the emotional support. Great tips Laura. You are so organized… that makes life much more smooth.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Comment on Can Running Be A Moving Meditation? by Angela @ Happy Fit MamaMy Profile

  14. My balance, or more like the art of unbalance, is scheduled for next week. I had a get me off of this roller coaster, that’s moving too fast, I can’t do everything moment last week. With training, work, blogging, more freelance writing, coaching clients and family problems, I’m learning that something has to give. Obviously family is first and foremost so if that means turning down some assignments, so be it. I truly don’t think there is such a thing as balance. You just keep moving and hope everything stays afloat!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..High Five Friday {Giveaway}My Profile

  15. I struggle with the sleep aspect – it’s always on my list of things to work on. Since I’ve reached the I-am-so-uncomfortable-I-may-burst stage of pregnancy, I have been so fortunate that my husband has taken over bedtime routine nearly every night. It makes such a difference to me to just have a half hour to myself in the evening. Sounds like you are doing great. That photo of the girls is amazing, too. 🙂
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted..Fit Mama Friday – Meet JennyMy Profile

  16. You have so much on your plate, but you’re handling it with such grace! Sleep, exercise, and quiet time are definitely the things I need when life gets busy. I’ve also taught myself to say “no” to things that aren’t going to enrich my family, friendships, or my life – it’s hard and I never want to let anyone down but doing so means that I can give more to my family and myself.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted..Lessons from the Elites at the 2015 LA MarathonMy Profile

  17. i ran a half-marathon a few months after having my second baby and, in hindsight, it was too much. i kept getting sick (my son’s first year in preschool…he brought home a bug EVERY WEEK) and was often on antibiotics, did a 10-miler with a fever, and ended up injured and burnt out.
    looking back, it was a mistake. being a mommy is definitely about finding balance between priorities, and i think that balance shifts drastically with new babies and continues to shift as your little ones grow.
    Amanda K. recently posted..We’re calling this our Mothball-calypseMy Profile

  18. Love all of this! Totally, totally relate. There is so much in a day – full time motherhood in itself is just huge. I have to say, I couldn’t do it all without my husband. We support each other – he is my cheerleader for getting me out the door for my workouts and I am so grateful when he walks in the door in the evening to help with bedtime. Now, we’ve added in homework with my 2nd grader and that is a whole separate task! Oy!
    I used to go crazy (inside) if my house wasn’t spotless and now I know I have to let it go (for the most part!). It’ll be cleaned up at the end of the day. As long as my kiddos are healthy and happy, that is all that matters, right?
    Rooting for the end of your Boston training!! You are going to run so well and that is so exciting!! 🙂
    Natalie recently posted..Friday FavoritesMy Profile

  19. Keeping things simple is important, and has so many emotional and practical benefits. Also, When my daughter was growing up, I stopped trying to find balance on a daily basis. Too much pressure. If I could look at a couple of months of life and feel like I was balanced overall, not continually overextended, and not resentful of overcommitments, I was doing ok and could feel good about that.

    The thing with my job/family structure now, is that if I need another hour of sleep, it really means giving up my run or workout. There isn’t much I can take away from elsewhere. I’m toying with the idea of trying to run (or at least walk) in the middle of the workday, but it can’t be the same length or challenge that I can pursue in the morning. I need to start remembering that Some is better than None!

  20. Woo! You have a lot of stuff going on! I think that you are doing a good job balancing, although it is hard to balance and still have “control” of your life! I tend to either have a million things going on OR if I have a bit of down time, I tend to be less motivated and therefore less productive than I would be if I were totally busy! It’s not good.

    I try to balance by not scheduling after work activities on week days. It is hard though, as many friends want to do this or that, but I really try to not schedule social things, as my week days are either my errand days or my workout days (or my relax days!). However, usually weekends are pretty full of running things, social things and home chores, so I need to consistently schedule down time during the week or I will be frazzled all the time.
    Travel Spot recently posted..Friday RecapMy Profile

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