Balancing Work and Family

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Today marks the beginning of what will hopefully be my final semester.  And I’ve overbooked.  By a lot.  It’s going to take some serious time management skills to do what I need to do to walk in May.  (Yes, I’m paying for the whole walking ceremony thing.  It’s a ceremony that I’ve decided means a lot to me despite the unnecessary financial cost.)

I’m planning on getting through it by keeping track of my goals.  I have semester long ones, which will break down into monthly ones, which will break down into weekly ones, which will be fit in on a daily to-do list that will have to be squeezed around everyone’s activities and doctor’s appointments.  I’m going to make this work this time.  Because in the past I’ve always been able to put up valid excuses as to why I can’t finish school right now.  There will always be a valid excuse.  But this time I’m going to finish despite all the challenges I face instead of allowing myself to be defeated by them.

I have to prepare honors society stuff for my peers.  We have a graduating class this year so it’s going to be a little more work than last.  Then I have to prime someone to take over when I’m gone.  I also have to maintain my grades and continue to learn as much as I possibly can.  There’s a couple of other personal things in there, too.  I’m not going to allow myself time to relax until that daily to-do list is completed.  But what counts as “relaxing?”

Things That Don’t Count As Relaxing

  • Spending Time With My Children.  We enter a slippery slope when we find ourselves uttering the words, “But I’m doing all of this for them.”  It may be 100% true, but the biggest thing I can do for my children is not getting more money so I can buy them more toys that they really don’t need.  It’s not saving for a downpayment on a house.  It’s not taking crazy lavish family vacations.  While those are all things I’d like to do, and, really, I plan on doing in the future if my finances allow, none of them are worth sacrificing time with them.  The biggest thing they need is my love, and if I can’t find the time to demonstrate that to them on a one-on-one basis, I’m doing something wrong.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m going to utilize the luxury I have of an extremely generous and geographically close family that offers free baby-sitting.  I’m going to have to in order to go out and do all the things I need to.  In order to complete papers and homework exercises.  But I am not going to allow myself to get so busy that I don’t schedule time with them where I can be present and 100% dedicated to the moment they are living in right now.
  • Date Nights.  The boyfriend and I have sacrificed these in the past.  No more.  We’re not going to go out every week.  This would be nice.  But it’s not realistic.  But we will regularly schedule time for our own relationship.  Because if our relationship dies, then I’ve lost the most beautiful thing I have in the world, and no amount of money or career training can replace that.  (Yes, my children are the most beautiful thing in the world, but I wouldn’t have them without him.  And he’s kind of the world’s most amazing dad ever.)
  • Sleep.  This will give a bit.  I’m not planning on getting anywhere near 8 hours.  But I will make a concentrated effort to get enough of it.  If I’m not functioning well during the day, then it doesn’t matter how late I stayed up to work on those papers or plan that meeting.  Because the quality of my work will go down, down, down.
Things That Do Count As Relaxing
  • Reading my behemoth of a book.  I got this awesome Thomas Jefferson book for Christmas.  I’m a super nerd, and reading it has been what I enjoy doing most in my (haha) leisure time lately.  It’s 1,600 dense pages, and I’m a notoriously slow reader.  I like to pretend that the fact increases my retention of information, but I’m not entirely sure that’s accurate.  While I’d love to finish it sometime this year, it’s not a priority.  It absolutely falls behind my family, sleep and school work on the list of priorities.
  • Watching TV.  This is such a timesuck.  One of the worst ones.  It’s nice to turn your brain off and just watch someone else’s problems arise and get solved, but it doesn’t actually do anything to advance you to your goals.
  • Ordering Food.  We have a tendency to order food when we get super busy.  Because who has time to cook?  But the honest truth is that while we’re waiting for food, we’re usually watching TV or bumming around while we stare at the clock wondering why the feast didn’t arrive 20 minutes ago.  We’re not getting anything done.  We could be cooking.  We’re pretty good at it.  And while we were cooking, we could be saving TONS of money that could be used on other, better things.
How do you balance work and family?
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19 thoughts on “Balancing Work and Family

  1. Holly@ClubThrifty

    lol, this made me crack up. Spending time with the kids is amazing, but you’re right…it isn’t relaxing!

    I try to balance it all but sometimes I have to let things go. There are only 24 hours in a day.

  2. John S @ Frugal Rules

    I can so relate to spending time with your kids as not being relaxing. I love spending time with our three little ones, but I often am tired at the end. 🙂 Like, Holly said there’s only 24 hours in a day and some things have to go by the wayside at times.


    I think the best point mentioned on your wonderful guest post at snarkfinance (see how i did that?) is remembering that you do this for your kids. Create the plan and execute, even if it sucks sometimes. Regret sucks way, way more and children are, long term, forgiving. Good luck.

  4. canadianbudgetbinder

    I have to plan especially with the blog now, and plan well. We go on date nights but it might not cost us hundreds of dollars. A date might be going for a drive, walk in the mall shopping, going for a coffee or ordering a pizza. I keep a schedule and try to stick to it so we both can balance our days. It’s hard, but you get used to it.

    1. femmefrugality

      Our date nights are way frugal, too. We got a couple of gift cards for Christmas that will constitute our “splurge” nights, but other than that we try to do free stuff. There’s so much out there, especially in our city, that there’s really no reason to go broke over staying in love.

  5. livingdebtfreerocks

    I have trouble at times balancing work and family life since I work from home but my husband does a good job of staging periodic interventions 🙂

  6. MyMoneyDesign

    Wow, don’t burn yourself out too much! You may still want that TV time just to let your mind settle and get back in the game. It is pretty cool to see the light at the end of the tunnel though, isn’t it?

    1. femmefrugality

      I’ve been letting that book reading slip in right as I lie down to sleep. 🙂 I only get a few pages in before I’m out cold, but it’s at least something. The light at the end of the tunnel….here’s to hoping I can make it this last stretch!


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