Our expert answers real-life questions. (Do you need advice on how to achieve your best life? Submit a question here.)
Q: Between working and parenting my time is constantly occupied. This means that by 7:30 at night, I have to choose between spending time with my partner (usually watching TV) or working out. Because of our kids’ ages, we can’t leave the house. Help! / Torn in 2
Full plates all around! I get it.
Are you and your husband keeping track of the kids as a shared family time? Do you feel there is a fair division of labor in your home (which can vary in every relationship for various reasons)? Women generally end up doing a majority of the child care and house work, especially if he gets home later than you.
But, it sounds like it is the post-7:30 time that is concerning you. My simple fix is that you have a dance party or yoga session with your husband after the kids are in bed. You’ll get your workout and your time with him.
That means shutting off the TV. Are you open to that? Do you and your mate regularly enjoy non-TV time together? Taking a TV break has been shown to increase relationship intimacy and free up all kinds of time and energy. Try it one evening and see how it feels.
Q: I’m a work-at-home mom, and I can usually have a solid stretch of work from 8 to 3. Finishing off the last two hours of my work day is difficult and motivation is low after he goes to bed. I feel a lot of guilt, for either not spending enough time with my kid, or not spending enough time on work. Can you help? / Always On The Clock
I’m impressed! You put in a full work day, and you are a full-time parent who spends focused time with her son? You sound like a loving and motivated person to me.
The guilt? Tell it to hush up. Comparing yourself to anyone else? Please try not to. If you were neglecting your son and/or your job, this would be a different conversation. But, you are deftly managing life’s biggest challenges. You are showing up for your life beautifully.
Repeat this as needed: I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.
Exhale Lifestyle’s expert advice giver is Lori Fiedler, MA, LMHC. She is a licensed psychotherapist and consultant in Greater Boston. She has over 30 years experience counseling individuals, couples, families and groups.