You can read the first post in this series here and the second post in this series here .
After thinking about a year that I felt I had a good balance as well as outlining and taking suggestions regarding what I need to do now to make my life more balanced, I've developed an "action plan" of ways I can make balance more of a reality in my life.
1. Sleep. I have stopped feeding the girls during the night. I'm not sure it is helping at this point, but I am hoping that eventually this will lead to better sleep for all of us. I know that CIO may need to be an option, but it is very difficult with the two of them sharing a room. I am actually considering putting a Pack-n-Play in our closet so that at least part of the time I can put one of them in there and try to sleep train them without disrupting the other. On the other hand, at this point they have to share a room, so maybe it is better if they are use to the others crying? I dunno. This is still a tricky one for me, but I do feel like we are slowly making progress.
2. Naptime. I've given up trying to work during the short window of time when all three kids nap (or try to nap) in the afternoon. If I am lucky and they are all three asleep I take advantage of the time in other ways - blogging, cooking, folding laundry, and occasionally watching DVRed episodes of Grey's. It is just too frustrating to try to grade or work during that time. I hope when the afternoon nap becomes more consistent this can be more productive time, but for now, I find the "break" on those sporadic days when they all nap consecutively (which isn't often...) productive as well.
3. Exercise. Our family joined the Y for both the gym and for the opportunities it has for families. We'd like to take Bo swimming and do more family activities that the Y provides. Mike has been going to the gym three mornings a week before work but I still haven't figured out how to make that happen for myself. We also signed Bo up for gymnastics and I hope to look into swim lessons for him soon.
4. Healthy Eating. We are eating more organic foods and I am cooking more. A large part of this process is meal planning and shopping. I also want to continue to experiment with healthy recipes and eat better.
5. Friends. I'm working to make friends. I've joined the local MoM's group. I'm talking more to other mom's at lapsit. I'm friending locals on Facebook. We've had playdates with local mom's and their kids. And I think that I am beginning to find a network of friends in the area that will be positive for all of us.
6. Job re-evaluation. After much pondering, I decided to only teach one night class in the fall at the local community college. I will continue with a consistent load online but this will make my day time hours more flexible and hopefully allow for me to spend more time with the kids as well as find more balance. Mike will be home when I need to teach the class so this will eliminate many of the logistical issues we've encountered with me working during the day this semester.
7. Child care changes. Many of you know that Katie will be moving to Florida in May. While we will miss her, this will be a very positive change for her and hopefully for us as well. I am becoming much more daring with taking the kids out on my own. Since I do not want to be working until Midnight every night, I've managed to find childcare for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am to 1pm (12 hours per week). This isn't a lot of time, but it will give me some time to work on my online classes and provide the kids with some much needed socialization. All three kids will be going to an in-home daycare that is 2 blocks from our house. Our pediatrician's sons go there and the provider has experience with twins as her sister (and one of my new friends) has 18 month old twins.
8. Couple time. Mike and I are seriously discussing a vacation this fall and we've actually managed to piece together a few opportunities to spend time together. Last Saturday, Mike's parents watched the kids for a couple of hours in the afternoon so that we could go shopping. It was nice to be out and much easier to try on clothing with out three small children in tow. It's opportunities like this that we need to take advantage of and cherish the few hours we have alone together.
9. Momfidence! I am working hard to be more confident in my own choices, especially as a mom. It's easy to second guess and question myself regarding nearly every decision I make -- from working outside the home at all to paci usage, everyone has an opinion and isn't afraid to share it. I remind myself, numerous times daily, that these are our kids, our choices, and we are doing what is right for our family.
What am I missing? What else can I do now to help maintain balance in my life and my families life?