Kelsey Van Kirk is a Lifestyle & Clarity Coach for wives and moms and Founder of The Home Loving Wife community. She is a wife, mama to four lovely princesses and passionate about inspiring and equipping women just like YOU to create and live grace-filled lives full of balance, purpose, happiness and fulfillment! You can connect with her more on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, or in her members-only Facebook community, The Home Loving Wife Sisterhood!
Do you remember using a VCR to watch movies ages and ages ago? I do. In fact, I may or may not still have my collection of approximately 47 VHS movies that I acquired during high school as all the local video stores were switching to DVDs. Remember how you could be playing a movie and fast forward it as the movie was still playing – so you were still watching it, just really, really fast? Good. THAT is what my life has been like for the last seven years. Are you ready for this?
I married my darling husband at the ripe young age of 19 and got pregnant with my first daughter five months later. We were ecstatic!
Four months after that I stopped working, we moved from NC to MO, and stayed with my in-laws for three months while looking for our own place. At eight months pregnant, we found and settled into a new apartment, then had our first baby. She was a perfect baby, and life was a dream.
Then, four months later I got pregnant again! Another girl arrived nine months later and we were officially a family of four – in less than 2 years.
Eight months after that, we moved back to NC for my husband’s job and I started working a part-time “naptime hustle” from home…..which we celebrated by getting pregnant AGAIN just eight months later (ok, maybe it wasn’t exactly on purpose!) Our third daughter arrived the following summer and we thought to ourselves, “Ok….let’s maybe take a break for a bit, because….we’re really tired!”
However, we are apparently very good at what we do, and seven months later two little pink lines popped up on one of the pregnancy tests we had considered buying stock in at that point! We laughed, shook our heads and celebrated the start of our journey as an almost family of SIX….in less than five years.
And then we lost that sweet, fourth babe. We were devastated and shell-shocked. I remember how crazy it was that the statistics had made their way into our family – 1 in 4. But, miraculously, that part of the story has a happy ending….because just three weeks later, we conceived again.
With this last pregnancy, we finally felt like a chapter was closing. Fifteen months ago we welcomed our fourth and final daughter, six months ago I launched a blog (because I am crazy) and life is still a beautiful (crazy) dream.
The point of this little trip into my personal histories is to show you that, if this crazy busy, tired, stretched to the max mama can create the time and space to pursue her passions through the wonders of blogging – then YOU certainly can too! Here are some of my best tips and tricks for getting crap done and making your dreams happen while juggling being a wife and mom.
Tip #1: Define Your Focus
This is simple. Know what you want, where you want to go and how you want to get there. Figure out what is most important to you. For me, it’s investing in myself first, my marriage second, my children third and my business last. Each thing is equally important and needs time and attention, but this is the structure I follow based on my personal priorities. You can’t focus everywhere all the time, so now is the time to pick and choose. What is your focus?
Tip #2: Practice Time Blocking
Now that you’ve figured out where you want your focus to be, you need to start telling your time where to go. If you aren’t super intentional about how you spend your time, I promise you will get stuck in a vicious cycle of meandering through your days, constantly enslaved by the tyranny of the urgent.
You will always be pulled in a million directions by people needing to be fed and sippy cups needing filled and fights needing to be broken up and phone calls needing answered and birthday parties needing planned and taxes needing filed and husband’s needing new socks and mothers-in-law needing FaceTimed. Where in all of this chaos would you find time to do the things you’ve been dreaming of if you waited around for it to appear? I promise, you never would.
So your mission now is to take your list of focused priorities and assign blocks of time in your calendar to each category. In order to have the best shot at managing the juggle well, your schedule needs to be run like a well-oiled machine. And I don’t mean scheduling every minute of every day. I just mean, tell your time where it should go based on what’s most important – and preferably, tell it in advance!
Tip #3: Communication is King
I have no qualms with saying that if it were not for the unwavering support of my incredible husband, I am very doubtful that I could do what I do. But even though he is 100% on my team and supportive of me pursuing my passions, it still wouldn’t amount to much if we weren’t excellent at communicating with each other.
My husband and I talk – a LOT. Old habits must die hard, because we dated long-distance for 14 months before getting married! In order to make sure our individual needs are getting met, our household’s needs are getting met and that we are staying focused and accomplishing the things we want to, we HAVE to communicate with each other. It takes team work to make the dream work, so they say!
Tip #4: Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
This is kind of a personal mantra for me, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. I don’t like surprises that aren’t happy or fun ones. Who does?! But, sometimes life springs them on you, and there just isn’t anything you can do about it other than making the best of things. However, more often than not, there is a lot we can do to prepare in advance to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
Know yourself, know your family, and know your life, to the best of your ability. Train yourself to anticipate potential disasters and set yourself up for success!! Do a little more work in advance to be organized and prepared in the event that life presents one of its inevitable plot twists.
Tip #5: Don’t Forget to Eat Dessert
This is something I learned from my pastor this year and it has really stayed with me. The gist is this: Don’t get so caught up in the grind and the details and the hustle that you forget to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Give yourself time to breathe, relax and eat that darn dessert!
You’ve earned it. And, life is fleeting. Balance is all about learning to walk the line between pursuing forward progress and savoring the sweetness of the present. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, so make the most of your todays in ways that will set your tomorrows up for success!
We women are absolutely incredible, with an incomparable capacity to do a-freaking-LOT! Whatever season of life you currently find yourself in, just remember that YOU are the main character in your story, so YOU get to call the shots. I believe in you and your dreams, and I believe that you CAN achieve them. My hope is that these tips will help you out along along the way.