The excitement that a new year brings is here! With all of the many Tweets of those I follow, I sense that goals are being set and the resolves of many are strong. I also have been examining my life and wanted to see how to best prepare for 2014. I love my job and my students, but I have often found that I spend inordinate amounts of time on schoolwork at home including connecting to Social Media more than spending quality time with my family. I am always perusing resources that my Twitter PLN describes, adding educational pins on Pinterest, watching webinars, lurking or participating in Twitter chats, reading educational blogs and putting together K-5 Technology Lessons for my students, while also checking emails on my school email. I have decided that my balance will begin when I FIT IN the time that I spend within my digital world with the time that I have with my family each day.
First, it is an honor to be a wife and a parent. I will be a better teacher if my home life is better balanced than it has previously been. So how will I promote balance this year? I will encourage my family to set goals each week. These goals will be as follows:
Get Homework Done within an hour and a half each night
Exercise three times during the week
Eat healthful meals
Meditate on truths found in the Bible and pray
Limit Social Media presence to one hour per day including playing of games, Tweeting, Facebook, Pinterest, and Emailing at home
Have meaningful conversations while spending quality time with family
Realize that we will never have another week quite like this one so disconnect from work and school while engaging in quality family time
Clean up after self. Mom will do laundry a couple of times a week.
Make wise purchases.
Participate in Christian education at church twice a week (once on weeknight and once on weekend)
Evaluate how week’s goals were met at end of each week and refine them for specific reasons such as preparing for projects that require weekend time to prepare.
Here is an example of how one night might look after I leave school and join my children:
After school, assess how long each subject will take to complete as homework, set a timer, and do it. I will make dinner as homework is done and throw in a load of clothes. Next, we will go to the gym for a Gymnastics class for one child and a workout on the elliptical machine and with free weights alongside my other child. Get home, kids get baths, finish homework, read Bible to instill values and to develop a personal relationship with God, pray, sit with husband on couch to connect and develop our relationship, pray with kids after discussing a truth from the Bible using a devotional book, tuck them in, put away dishes, wrap up cleaning of kitchen, then rejoin husband on couch.
I have loved every minute of Winter Break as it has given me time to reflect on how to make the most of my life. Once school gets started, I am determined to stay focused and balance my home and family life. My marriage and my children deserve ME and my presence. My job is tremendously important, but I must nurture my family. Even as I wrote this post on the iPad, one of my children made a card for me with a picture of a seed and flowers growing with a smiling sun along with the following words: “You help me grow into a flower like the others…so thank you for helping me grow.” My children realize that I help them grow and they want my support. I had helped her in the last hour with her music theory book in preparation for her upcoming weekly piano lesson. She needed me and I need her. I don’t want her to grow up feeling like I wasn’t here for our family due to interacting constantly in the evening and weekend with my iPad and computer.
I want to use time wisely at school to design and develop my plans. I know that on two nights a week, I have to do extra homework to type my plans after I have been preparing them all week at lunch and during my planning times at school. Balance is about crafting time blocks into my day and using time wisely. If I mismanage money, I would squander it and be in poverty. If I mismanage my 24 hour day, I will also impoverish my mind, my family and my job. Let the balance begin!
I would love to hear from other teachers on how to find balance as a mom who works outside of the home.