One night this week, I received a text from a sweet, young lady. Her text read, “I am so out of balance that I feel physically ill.” I called her later to chat and discovered her week had gone like this:
She had got a call from daycare and her 4-year old son was ill and needed to be picked up. Her usual backup person was out of town and her husband was not able to leave work. She had called a friend, but got no answer. She had a big work project that needed to get done by the end of the week, but with no other options, decided to leave work and put in the extra time at work later in the week. Her daughter had ice skating practice and was performing that weekend so skipping that was not an option. Her husband came home just in time so they decided he would stay home so he could eat (as they had already eaten) and she played taxi driver for the evening. She woke up the next day at 4 a.m. to get to work to finish her project. She was feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to get her life back in balance.
Can you relate to my friend? Many working parents deal with finding balance. I am in the “empty nest” stage of life, but certainly could remember parenting times just like this. I knew this young lady desired to be a godly wife and mother. She is a good employee, a volunteer at her daughter’s school, and is involved at her church.
Here are a few parenting tips I gave my friend that I have learned over the years from a wise woman who was a mentor to me during those busy years:
- Ask God to give you the wisdom and strength to balance it all to His glory.
- Say no sometimes. Pray about which activities you and your children will be involved in and say no to the rest. Do not allow so much activity that it sacrifices family time. If you have a hard time saying no, try to say “I’ll give it some thought” instead of yes. This allows you time to think over what things you can commit to.
- Say yes to offers of help. Rather than thinking that needing help is a sign of failure, consider it part of God’s grace.
- Learn to delegate. Seek cooperation from your family members, but not perfection! A wise woman once told me that a slight layer of dust on furniture could actually protect my family!
- Create a support system. Read Titus 2:3-4, and consider asking an older woman at your church to enter into a mentor relationship with you.
As for my friend, we had a good conversation. After listening and praying with her, she decided that her first goal is to pray about what activities she needs to say “no” to. I told her I would call her next week to see if she had made progress with her goal.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”…2 Corinthians 4:17