As a family of three who is about to become four, this topic has been on my mind for quite some time now. But the question is - how do we balance it all? Even before kids I remember it being hard to find time to fit everything in and then you add a child into the mix and you better buckle up! But, I would like to think we’ve done a pretty good job of balancing it all. And today I’m sharing how.
FOCUS ON YOU. You still need to focus on what’s important to you and what makes you the best version of yourself. I know for my husband Wes and I, that’s being healthy, exercising and practicing self-care. So, we always try to make this a priority. Luckily, he has a gym at work so he can use it pretty much anytime of day, and my gym also has a daycare so I really don’t have an excuse for not going. Now that it’s Summer, I incorporate Tayler into the mix by talking her on walks with me or in the stroller. We cook together as a family probably 3-4 times a week and let Tayler try out all the veggies or fruits we are using in the meal so she can become accustomed to those foods. Every other week we usually do a self-care night, which usually consists of a mani/pedi for me and Wes goes to the driving range.
FAMILY TIME. During the week, if Tayler is in school - one of us picks her up (we usually alternate who does based on what our schedule looks like that day). Then afterward, it’s home time where we hang out as a family. Because it’s so nice out right now, that usually consists of us playing in the front yard, going down to the beach, or having a dance party inside. This is our few hours to just be together, talk about our day and reconnect. Don’t get me wrong, not every night is like this. Sometimes one (or both) of us is so tired we don’t want to talk to anyone in which case, Tayler gets to watch a show and we order take out. But, for the most part we really relish in this time together. Going on vacation as a family is something we are also very passionate about. We love to travel and really want our kids to experience the joys of travel also. This also creates a sense of ritual in their life and memories that they can remember forever. For example, this Summer we are going on our third trip to Lake Chelan for a week with friends and their kids. We hope we do this until they are old enough to start continuing on the tradition themselves.
SOCIALIZING.. Yes, we still have a social life! We are both extremely outgoing people who love to interact with others so going out to dinner, spending time with friends, etc. has always been a part of our weekly routine for as long as I can remember. So how does that work when you you have family? Well, you bring the kiddo(s) along too! Tayler has been coming out to dinner with us since she was 2 weeks old so by this point she is accustomed to it. She can sit through a meal without having a melt down - we bring crayons, a coloring book and sometimes if the food is taking a really long time, we let her watch something on our phones (but we really try to keep her off the blue screen as much as possible). I know what you’re thinking, that doesn’t sound very relaxing…well sometimes it’s not, but luckily we have taught her to be respectful at the dinner table and now at her age (she is 3), she is really fun to be with in a social setting! Luckily, almost all of our friends have kids all within a couple years of each other so parties have become a place where kids can play and we can catch up over some adult beverages. And yes, there are times when we don’t bring her at all. There is a time and a place for everything.
ONE ON ONE TIME. Finding time alone with your partner is where it gets challenging. Both of our parents live about an hour away, so planning this time together has to be pretty strategic, which is hard because we are very spontaneous people. We also haven’t been very proactive about finding a babysitter because sometimes it’s a hard pill to swallow knowing that going on date night could end up costing you a couple hundred bucks after you factor in dinner & drinks (Seattle has become ridiculously expensive). But, it’s one of our goals for the near future, to schedule more date nights, even if it’s just a quick happy hour up the street. It’s so important to take this time to enjoy each other without someone constantly needing your attention in the background. We also try to have a couples trip at least once a year just him and I. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just a couple nights away somewhere can do the trick and really bring us back to life. Luckily, my Mom is always up for taking Tayler for the weekend and they both have the best time which makes it a lot easier.
ALONE TIME. Before pregnancy #2 I was a lot better about scheduling girls nights or quick happy hour catch ups during the week with the fabulous ladies in my life (because we all need some girl time). It’s so healthy to spend time away from your family now and again. Wes does a boys weekend a couple times a year and I always jump on the opportunity to attend a bachelorette party or girls weekend when I can. As far as being alone, we usually always do this after Tayler goes to bed. We have two living rooms in our house so typically we each retreat to our “wings” and catch up on our favorite show or books for an hour or two before bed. It’s a nice way to decompress from a busy day and something we both require in order to function.
So there you have it! Whether you’re looking to start a family, are currently pregnant or already started, I’m hoping this post can help inspire you. I’m sure a lot of these things will change once we add a fourth addition to the family, but what I really wanted to get across in today’s post is that it’s possible to have a family and still have it all. You just have to spend your time intentionally and with reason. I’d love to know what you do to balance your family life! Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram post!
Special shout out to Jenny of Jenny B Penny photography for snapping these authentic and real-life photos of us in our element at home and at the beach. If you guys are looking for a lifestyle photographer in the Seattle area, she is great and really captures the true essence of family in your most comfortable environment! You can check our her work here.