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Balancing Tips from a Teen Mom

Filed under : Mommy Melt Down, family

By: Gloria Malone (@GloriaMalone)

Gloria Malone, creator of the Teen Mom in New York City, shares her tips and stories on how to stay balanced

Friends and family often times tell me they have no idea how I get so much done in one day.

I honestly have no idea what they are talking about. To me, being a single YUM, employee, student and blogger (to put it simply) is what I do.

Starting with the sound of my iPhone alarm clock piercing through my precious slumber – Mondays thru Fridays - reminding me to get ready for my morning workout.

With almost 6 years experience of being a YUM, I’ve learned helpful tricks to ensure I actually get out of bed and don’t just roll over and hit the snooze button. I’ve learned that by placing my alarm clock on the other side of the room, I’m ensuring that I literally get out of bed, walk across the room and turn it off. Another benefit of placing my phone on the other side of the room, well it also helps ensure I don’t spend hours in bed texting or social networking when I really should be sleeping.

After cardio, weight-lifting and showering, I begin making breakfast for Leilani, my five and a half year old daughter, and myself.

The next hour is a whirlwind of packing lunches, gathering homework, making her change from a skirt into jeans (because it’s 30 degrees outside) and me trying to remember what classes I have to attend that day.

I believe the combination of being the middle of five siblings and having my daughter very young has enabled me to multi-task and stay on top of things diligently.

It wasn’t always like that though, and I still have my days where I completely forget to do an assignment or nights when I feed Leilani cereal for dinner; as cliché as it may sound, the way to deal with multiple roles is planning and a lot of list making.

I literally makes lists to keep track of other lists.

While others may find a list stressful, I find them very helpful and almost therapeutic. There is nothing like crossing things off – task by task, as well as the priceless end of the day feeling of seeing all you’ve accomplished in one day staring back at you.

Thankfully my job is at school and on campus so there’s no commuting time. I work three days a week doing administrative work in the “Orientation and New Student” office at school. While the work can be a bit repetitive, it’s surprisingly a break from life. I get to socialize with like-minded students and it’s also a helpful way for me to make friends in the city, being that I only moved here a year ago. However, even while at work I’m still making list. Lists about what post to start on for the following week, what chores I have left to do at home, what assignments and test I may have coming up, what Leilani needs, anything really.

One extremely helpful startling realization I’ve made is, there are more days in the week then days in the weekend.

Often times, we get stuck in believing that leaving all of the “other stuff” for the weekend is our best bet. In reality, putting off grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning and any other chore of that nature only guarantees that you’ll be stressed on the days you should be resting. It might sound crazy, but by doing some of those chores during the weekdays, I open up my weekends to more possibilities and less stress.

By spacing out my chores through the week, I allow for more time to do homework and write a few blog posts. When it comes to blogging, I’ve found that writing multiple posts at a time is more time efficient and also solves the writer’s block problem. The host site of my blog has the wonderful option of me scheduling a time and date for the post to be published. That way if I’m having a very hectic week, I’m still up to date on my blogging.

Another trick I’ve learned is the beauty of bribing for earlier bedtime hours.

I tell Leilani if she’s showered, has her teeth brushed, and is in bed by 8:00 pm, I’ll read her up to four bedtime stories. If she’s in bed at 9:00 pm, she gets one book. Anytime after that and she gets none. The earlier she goes to bed the sooner I can get to homework, blogging and a few moments of relaxation before bed.

On weekends, I try to focus primarily on spending undivided time with Leilani. As a mother I can’t believe it’s been almost six yeas since she came into this world. Children grow up too fast and while having that report or research paper done is very important, I always keep in mind the reason why I’m working so hard is my daughter. If I don’t make time to be with her, then all of the work I’m doing now is useless. I don’t want to be the parent that worked so hard in the early years of their child’s life that when it’s time to reap the rewards of all of that hard work they don’t even know their own children.

While it may sound like I have everything figured out – I’m far from it.

I have my tricks and ways of getting things done, but sometimes I still have an extra dirty room or miss study groups. However, as long as I’m laying in bed at 8:00 pm with my best friend – whom is not only my inspiration, but most importantly – my daughter, that’s all that matters to me.

Gloria Malone a student, employee, YUM and the creator of the fabulous blog, Teen Mom in New York City. You can follow Gloria on Twitter @GloriaMalone.

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