How does anyone have kids, a spouse, commute to work two hours per day, cook and still function at their job? (And why would anyone want …
Answer by Thomas Zerbarini:
It's not easy; but, it is possible.
First of all it takes commitment, discipline and a lot of pre-planning to have it go smoothly.
There was a time when I was juggliing two kids, a wife, a 90 minute commute, two jobs and going to college online. It was challenging but it was doable.
I can't say I'd do it like that again in hindsight. I think it placed too much stress on my marriage; my wife had a difficult time coping with the stress which seem to give rise to increased health problems for her.
The kids were great and we still had plenty of time together after school and after dinner. We made it a point to dedicate that time and sit down dinners with the entire family. Also, on the weekends we would decompress and do fun things together and even go on little day or weekend trips.
A lot of our activities were dual or triple items at a time. For example as we made dinner, the kids did homework with me in the kitchen and I'd help them with their homework as needed. And, the laundry was washing and drying to fold later.
Here's a typical day with four young kids (ages 4, 5, 10, 12) and two working parents:
- 6:15a – Wake up dress breakfast for school and work.
- 6:45a – Bus to school for 10 and 12 year olds
- 7:00a – Drive 4 and 5 year olds to Pre K
- 7:30a – Work
- 2:30p – Older kids go to After School Program ( do homework )
- 4:30p – Pick up toddlers from Pre K
- 5:00p – Pick up Tweens from School
- 5:30p – Start laundry and dinner, kids show/complete homework
- 6:30p – Dinner
- 7:15p – Kids play outside for a while, or we dance or play music games or dress-up together. Something fun.
- 8:00p – Kids shower/baths dress for bed
- 8:45p – Kids in bed to sleep
- 9:00p – Fold laundry, Do bills, clean up a little, prep lunches for morning, etc…
- 10:45p – Bedtime
Now, that's all nice on paper and it doesn't always work out that way. But, its a written target we aim for that keeps it manageable and predictable. If you don't at least try to plan and stick to a schedule then your just going to have chaos and things will constantly be overlooked and forgotten and you can spiral into stress and frustration–I've watched it happen and its not pretty.
So, just have a plan and approach it from a positive can do attitude and you'll be surprised how much you can accomplish in a day.
For me it was all about providing stability and a loving environment for my children. It worked and it was fun.