- Life Balance -
• Ask for a flexible work schedule, so you can have extra time when you need it. You can occasionally work through lunch and get to the gym. You can come in early and leave early for a kid’s soccer game, or come in late after a dentist appointment. Or try a compressed workweek-work four 10-hour days, and use Fridays for appointments and doctor's visits.
• I used to think having someone clean your house was a waste of money…until I starting tracking how much time I spent cleaning…five hours a week on average! That’s 20 hours per month and approximately 250 hours per year! Now I have a woman who comes into my home every other week. She cleans the entire house in four hours and charges me $15 an hour. Is it worth it? For 250 hours a year...you bet! Think about hiring out your yard work, paperwork and filing, laundry, errands, and gardening.
• Think about having groceries, diapers, stamps, milk, office supplies, and dry cleaning delivered. In most cases, it’s cheaper than doing it yourself, if you factor in the value of your time. Look at every responsibility in your life and ask yourself if there’s another way to get that task done.
• You may know someone open to exchanging services. They may love doing a chore you hate and vice versa. If you hate to wash windows, trade it with your neighbor to steam clean their carpets. Trade baby-sitting services for gardening. I know two women that have a wonderful trade going. One loves to do crafts, and the other loves to bake. So, at holiday time, one wraps the other’s presents and decorates her home, and the second woman bakes all the holiday goodies for the other and prepares her holiday meals. What a great exchange!
• Have a designated day of the week (ours is Sundays) for “Family Day.” Family members take turns deciding what we will make for a special breakfast, where the family should go that day (movies, Chuck E. Cheese’s, bowling, etc.) and which restaurant we should visit that evening.
Pay a responsible high school or college student to provide transportation and care for your children for a few hours a day, a couple times a week. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations and check with local colleges, especially in the elementary education department.
• The easiest way to prepare meals is to not cook at all! Takeout dinners, butchers, delis, precooked, delivery services, leftovers, freezer meals, or prepared foods from your supermarket can all feed your family, nutritiously and without fuss. Or prepare several meals on the weekend, or prepare large batches and trade with friends.
• My daughter, Meagan, loves for me to “time” her when getting ready for bed. We make a race and a game out of brushing teeth and hair, putting on PJs, getting room cleaned up, etc.
• Once everyone begins to gather at home at the end of a long day, allow yourselves some time to reconnect. Instead of immediately launching into dinner preparations, spend a few minutes cuddling on the couch or blowing off steam in the backyard. It takes only five or ten minutes of attention to keep kids happy while you make dinner. Also, let them have a small, healthy snack to take the edge off hunger and get rid of grumpiness.
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