This year has brought with it an unprecedented amount of change, even for me. At the beginning of 2020, we welcomed our third child into the family, making us a family of five. (We have twin two-year-old girls.) We also welcomed a live-in au pair from Colombia. As if that wasn’t enough change, my husband and I each took on new roles at work. On top of that, there’s a pandemic which has us quarantined and working from home full-time. To say we’ve had to adapt to change this year is an understatement. But the most important lesson I’ve learned is that balance is critical.
Balance is different for everyone. To find it, you need to look inward and define what’s important and what you’re willing to let go of, because there’s only so much time in a day. And while some say time is money, I believe time is life. So, being intentional with your time and striking the right balance with that time is critical.
I define my balance within three main pillars: family, fitness, and community. If I’m spending most of my time within those pillars, then life seems to be pretty good and balanced. Here’s how I define my pillars and ensure I make time for it all:
With three kids under three and an intense job, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and wrapped up in all things kids and work. That’s why I prioritize time with my husband each and every day. We have breakfast together daily (just the two of us), and each evening we spend at least thirty minutes talking without our cell phones or the TV on. Dinner is a family affair, and even though it’s loud and crazy, we have dinner as a family at the dinner table every evening. (Again, no phones allowed!) On weekends, we try to do at least one special thing as a family. Sometimes it’s a trip to the zoo or beach, and other times it’s a craft or building a fort and watching a movie. It doesn’t have to cost money to be fun!
Fitness comprises our overall health and wellness, which includes exercise and diet. I do my best to workout 5 days per week. I like Crossfit and running (weird combo…I know!), but any type of exercise is good as long as you like it. Also, I’ve learned that what we eat impacts how we feel and treat each other, so I take time each week to meal plan and grocery shop (via apps, which save a ton of time!). We eat clean (Whole 30) during the week. On weekends, we’re more lenient. We usually order out one night, eat sweet treats and indulge in a glass or two of red wine.
Our community consists of our church family, our work family, and our fit family. We recently hired a babysitter to watch the girls so we can go to church on Sunday. At first, I thought this was absurd, but I realized that when we weren’t going to church, something was missing from our lives. That something was our church community that we can only get by attending church in person. Same with our fit family (which is why we go to the gym versus doing at-home workouts). Also, our work family is extremely important to us. I’ve recently started doing book clubs and pod squads (a podcast book club), coffee talks and giving-back activities so that we can team-build virtually. Work is much more than just work to me, and I want to make sure I’m being the best manager to my team and the best employee I can be.
Even with these three pillars defined and 39 years of practice under my belt, the pandemic has made it difficult to stay on track. It’s blurred the lines between work time and family time.
I can’t count the number of times my kids have run into my office while I’m on a call shouting, “I pooped in the potty, Mom!”
It’s become more difficult to escape to the gym without feeling guilty. (Should I be working right now? Or spending more time with my kids?) It’s been hard. However, my schedule and coming back to my three pillars have kept me grounded. It’s allowed me to find gratitude for the things I have and given me an opportunity to set boundaries.
Finding a routine that works for you can take time. Keep it simple by first defining what’s important to you (your pillars). Then decide how that looks in your day-to-day activities. Most importantly, remember that every day is a new day. Learn from the previous day and don’t be afraid to try new things until you find the right balance.
Courtney Hennessey is a wife and mom of three girls under three; lover of God, Crossfit, and wine; and a Senior Director of Marketing at Ally. You can connect with her on Instagram at @mamahenncrew.
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Great article! Courtney is an inspirational person, friend, wife and mom and one I greatly admire. What she does and lays out in this article is not easy and requires immense commitment on her part. So proud of my bestie!