The Busy, On-the-Go Momma’s 3-Step Guide to Maintaining Work-Life Sanity: STEP 1


As a parent 99.9% of the time – balance doesn’t exist.

Something always drops.

  • Effective week at work? Home looks buried in a mess.
  • House miraculously spit-spot? Family life suffered as you cleaned.
  • Plentiful family bonding time? Often leads to an overwhelming work week.

Really, how often is: you home clean, your to-do-list cleared, and your family time together abundant – all simultaneously?

NEVER. (Or at least VERY rarely in my experience.)

Work-Life balance (in my mind) is a myth. Occasionally I feel like I can see its hazy shadows appearing in the distant future, however usually (just as quickly as it appears) it slips out of sight. I’ve begun to believe that finding a lasting balance just isn’t possible.

But prioritizing… well that’s another matter, and something a little more controllable. And prioritizing is the 1st step I needed to take in order reclaim my own work-life sanity.

Step 1: Prioritize

Often as a busy parent, I loose myself in the act of merely surviving my day – putting one step painstakingly in front of the other – day after day after monotonous day. Time to look ahead never seems to be available, however one always manages to find the time to look back at what went wrong.

Why is it that we allow ourselves so much time to focus on past mistakes, when we should be using these precious moments to instead look at something we can actually change in the future?

A couple weeks ago I had a moment. A < I-can-barely-pull-my-head-out-of-the-toy-cluttered floors, my-paper-filled-office-desk and my-endless-hours-of-chauffeuring-services > moment.

When (after a couple days of sulking and despair and oh-woe-is-me self pity) it hit me.


Somewhere along the way I forgot about priorities.

I had been reflecting and not prioritizing, panicking and not planning, putting one foot in front of the other and not taking the time I needed to look towards the next mile marker along the road I was dangerously, blindly traveling.

I came to the conclusion that the first step to a better mix between my work and my life began with:

Re-focusing on my priorities.

So I started to mentally list and envision my own ideal goals.
I asked myself the question: In a perfect “balanced” life – what should my time reflect?

This is what I came up with.

  1. Be able to fully separate family time from work time
  2. Be available for my kids before and after school (ie. when they are home)
  3. Have a distinct time and conscious plan to effectively complete my paid and volunteer work
  4. Make a conscious, planned effort to do something for myself (beyond just my work and my family)

This was the beginning of my plan to take back my sunken sanity.

STEP 1: Prioritize. Think about, envision and determine my work-life priorities.

Next up, Step 2: Finding Time – because establishing priorities and acting on these priorities are beyond a doubt TWO SEPARATE THINGS.

Leave a Comment: Do you spend most of your time merely attempting to get through your busy day? If you were to list your own work-life priorities what would they be?


I frequently hear myself saying: “If only I had just a little more time.”

Time can easily escape me (especially since becoming a parent), and often I feel as though my life reflects a circus juggling act of work, family and whatever other balls happen to be tossed in.

Recently I’ve discover that by investing only 15-30 additional minutes each week, I am able to constantly “find more time” in my busy week. The post you just read is the 1st of 3 steps I use to help better manage my busy days. The full series will include: Step 2: Find Time and Step 3: Locate Solutions Within Limits (both soon to be published).

Maybe my 3-step solution can help you too?

Make sure not to miss the next post in this series.
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7 Responses to The Busy, On-the-Go Momma’s 3-Step Guide to Maintaining Work-Life Sanity: STEP 1

  1. Missy says:

    Love when you say you were “reflecting and not prioritizing, panicking and not planning.” I relate to that so completely, as I spend too much time in panic mode. Thinking I might post a sign on my mirror that says. “Prioritize and Plan!”
    Missy recently posted..Adrift

    • Kate F. says:

      I spend WAY too much time panicking also. I have to keep reminding myself – why waist time panicking when you can prioritize and plan (OK, admittedly not as easy as a mind frame to maintain, but it gets easier the more I remind myself).

  2. Justin says:

    Sign me up! I FINALLY feel comfortable with my life balance – just enough work to keep me healthy, just enough personal time to get a couple of things done, more than enough family time (though a little lite on the couple’s time). Then my husband gets immensely sick (still is). I’ve done a good job keeping my grip, then bit by bit, life chips away at my hold, and the past two days I’ve lost it. Prioritizing is huge. (And delegating, if it can be managed). But I also have to remind myself that taking 30 minutes, even once a week, will help give me some much-needed peace. There is ALWAYS time, even if you don’t think there is. And most of the time, people, including your family, are pretty forgiving.
    Justin recently posted..Here we go!

    • Kate F. says:

      Justin, so sorry to hear about Eric! Yuk. I hope he is feeling better. It always seems like (IMHO) that as soon as I feel I’ve reach some semblance of balance – that is the exact time when everything is thrown out of whack again!

      Prioritizing IS huge. Remembering your priorities is even bigger. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on the rest of this series. Part 2 is a little anal (truth be told), but part 3 is the life saver (in my opinion).

  3. Susi says:

    Sounds like great advice – something I may need as I contemplate adding a part-time job to the mix.

    • Kate F. says:

      Susi: After I added my part-time job with the NAMC and became more “accountable” for where my time went – THAT is when I really started to try to get a little more organized. This semester my scheduled changed at the college I am an adjunct at (I am working less there because I am working more with the NAMC) and it really threw me for a loop! My time has been … thin… to say the least. But this plan has really saved me… especially the choices I implemented in part 2 of this post and MOST DEFINITELY because of my adaptation of part 3 of this series. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts after those posts!

  4. Pingback: 3-Step Guide to Maintaining Work-Life Sanity: STEP 2: Find Time | On-The-Go Momma

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