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I am often asked how I have managed to balance my busy life as a mom, wife, chiropractor and business owner.  Well, I stumbled across this journal entry I wrote  on September 7th, 2011 – proof, I guess that one of my keys to success is to always have a plan… while accepting that being a working mom requires the flexibility and juggling skills of a master.  Enjoy!…

This week marks a significant transition in my life as a mom.  Yesterday I dropped both of my children off for the first day of school – and the first week of many to come where they will both be full time elementary school students.  It marks the first time in my 8 years as a mother that I will have recurring & predictable time to “myself”.  I could actually laugh out loud at that misnomer… while I will now have 2 days a week without either of my kids at home, or myself at work – I am not fooled.  Most of this time will be allotted by necessity to my roles as both mom and chiropractor/business owner.  As for time actually spent for myself? Well, I’ll have to carefully schedule that in.

I will liken it to the concept that as you make more money you spend more money, and the excesses always have a use.  It appears to be the same with time.  I am not in any way disillusioned (I think) about the notion that this will result in oodles of quiet non-doing time.  I think the closest I will get to that is in writing like this – which is definitely a bonus for me – but also something I’ve been waiting to be able to do since Ethan was born over 8 years ago.  And so…

I think it comes down to the same old story of finding balance and having a plan for how I will use my time.  Here are my thoughts on how to fit all the pieces of the puzzle in – of course, let’s face it, I am writing this as I am only 30 minutes in to my first “me day”…

If I look at all the areas of my life to allot time to, it breaks down into these categories:

1 – Amy- time.  In this category falls my time to exercise, write, enjoy a quiet book, preferably with a warm cup of coffee in my back yard, or occasionally, a rare shopping day – which in this category means that it is for me, not the kids or house.

2 – House – time.  I guess this would include my hopefully-not-wishful-thinking intention to finally organize (and stay on top of!) my house: closets, kids’ rooms & toys, and those bags of “stuff” I put aside for organizing “whenever I get around to it” (most of which can obviously be recycled or donated, as these notorious bags range in age from days to years old, I expect)

Both my sister and house cleaner assure me that every house has it’s hidden areas of chaos.  Which brings up another point – much like money and time, in the 2+ years since we made the decision to hire a house cleaner, I must say that I spend no less time at house-stuff, it’s just different types of stuff – like multiple loads of laundry…  I just had a thought flash: wow, maybe now I’ll be able to have laundry regularly folded and put away, rather than sitting in the “clean bins” in the laundry room (aka my bedroom)

3 – Food-time.  In this category falls the task of grocery shopping, as well as my plans to do more regular meal planning, advance food prep for meals, and even to become a more regular baker.  The truth is, whenever this is in place, we eat healthier, spend less money on eating out, and it gives me a feeling of providing well for my family.  I must admit, this is one of the areas I am most excited about in my new-found time freedom.  Maybe I’ll even meet my goal from years ago of trying out a new recipe every week.  However, to be reasonable, maybe I’ll set that to once a month to see how it goes first…

4.  Work-time.  It somehow doesn’t surprise me that this category falls at the end of my list.  While I love my “work”, it still is secondary to my “work” as a mom.  And yet, I am very excited to having more time to work on the quality of my practice, prepping all the behind-the-scenes stuff – like writing, blogging, having time to dedicate to getting myself and my message out to my community.  There are so many pieces of my work-life that have taken back burner to the necessities of my working-mom life, that even though work-time was allotted the #4 slot, my plan is for it to have a full 50% share of my new time.

So…  how am I going to do this all?  I roughly have 12 hours a week, divided into 2 different days.  Plus Monday mornings, which I’ve had kid-free for a while already (which up until now has been how I have taken care of the most pressing of house & food – stuff)

Here is what I am proposing to happen:

Mondays – will include my post-school-drop-off workout, followed by a meal in the crockpot, made likely while I fold laundry.  At the (approximate) strike of noon, I will don my “work-hat” and head to my office early for some prep-time and our weekly staff meeting.

Tuesdays – long “work” days

Wednesdays will likely be dedicated as my work-behind-the-scenes day, (after another exercise time) interspersed with the necessities of home – again, laundry and cooking for the day. I hope to start a blog, incorporate social media as a tool for getting my message out, finally start the monthly e-newsletter I have wanted to implement for years, work on marketing, speak more in the community, and the list goes on…

Thursdays – my other long “work” day

Fridays will be my dedicated house-day, which will include another exercise class, followed by errand-time (groceries, etc), and more meal prep at home – including baking and meals for freezing.  I guess this day will also serve as my “organize the house” day, which I hope will actually happen… as I look at my plans, even now I see how it will take some careful planning tinged with patience to get it all done.

So…  let’s see how this all goes.  Right now I have to head inside to clean up from the morning chaos of breakfast & school lunch prep.  I may be off to an interesting start, as my kitchen currently includes a glass dish that exploded while full of spaghetti sauce (I mistakenly thought I could heat Audra’s lunch in a pyrex dish on the stove… who knew?!) and  a dog who has been shut downstairs so that she doesn’t try to lick the broken fragments of sauce-covered glass that are still lying where they fell)

I do find it amusing that I could be giddy on my new-found-freedom, and yet, I suspect that any non-parent reading this might question if freedom is indeed the right word.  As a working mom, who LOVES both of my “jobs”, I can absolutely and assuredly tell you this:  I get as much fulfillment in my mom-job living the dailiness of life and it’s inherent chaos, as I get from changing lives as a chiropractor and being a business owner.  In fact, I have to admit that being a mom is the harder of the two.

My purpose is to inspire and empower people to live their lives to the fullest – which I apply in drastically different ways when I am at work vs at home.  And yet…  somehow taking care of the necessities of life for me and my family are very directly in line with this same purpose for me.  Both provide abundant rewards, and yet, when I nurture myself, and myself as a mom, it seems to translate back into my life in every way, including my role as a chiropractor/business owner/advocate/teacher/speaker.

Maybe it just keeps me real.