As a bellydancing mom of three who dances and teaches, i get asked this all the time. At first glance, I don’t know how to answer it. I just do what needs to be done. But when I look at the bigger picture, I can see how crazy it looks.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself! Let me give you a little background. My name is Lisa Jean. I’m a dancer, dance teacher, and barre fitness instructor based in Wamego, KS (a.k.a. small town in the middle of nowhere). I’ve been dancing since I was little, bellydancing for almost 20 years, and teaching for around 10. I’m also a stay at home mom of three kiddos. Rowan is 10, Kelvin is 6 and Leah just turned 3. So yeah, I’m a little busy!
Honestly, balancing everything isn’t something I consciously planned at first. I just sort of shuffled things around until I got it to work. And of course, everything changed with the addition of each kid. After being a dancing mom for 10 years, though, I can give you some tips for what’s worked for me.
- Lists. This is probably the biggest one for me! Between all the things I need to remember to do for my business, the kid related things (doctor appointments, school things, pokemon names, etc), and just life in general, there is absolutely no way I can keep it all straight in my head anymore. I use google calendar that’s shared with my husband, a physical planner, and a daily to-do list to keep it all mapped out.
The daily to-do list is by far the most helpful. Let me share how I do it! Each night I make a list of all the things I want to do the next day, then divide that into three categories. The first category is the things that NEED to be done. I try to put no more than 4 things in this list, cause let’s be honest, between drop-off, pick-up, potty-training and everything else, I don’t typically have time for much else!
The second category is the things I’d LIKE to get done. This is typically things that need to be done soon, but not necessarily tomorrow. If they don’t get done, no sweat.
The third category is the things that probably AREN’T going to get done. Just those things that you’d like to get done at some point, but don’t really have a due date.
My goal for the day is to just get those few things done on the first part of the list. If I can those done, I feel accomplished! I had to train myself to be okay with not getting the rest done. It took awhile, but now I can go to sleep guilt free if I only get those first 3-4 things done. Life with kids has a lot of unpredictability to it, so I can’t really schedule large chunks of down time to do things. I have to look for the windows. Boys are at school and Leah’s playing contentedly? Quick! Work on something on the list that doesn’t need prolonged focus. Nap time? Knock out something that needs a little more focus. I’ve also just gotten really well practiced at working in small bursts.
2) Rely on your support network. I’m still working on this one! I tend to be of the mindset that I can do ALL THE THINGS and asking for help is a sign of weakness. Actually, asking for help is a sign of strength. My husband takes care of bedtime solo two nights a week and keeps the troupes busy for a chunk of time each weekend so I can get some focused work done. My parents are always happy to keep the little one while the bigs are at school so I can get some serious work done once in awhile. There’s no way I could get as much done as I do and still stay sane without help.
3) Schedule in creative practice time. This one I just recently started doing. Businessy stuff and drilling and lesson planning I can do at home with the kids under foot. But just noodling around and exploring movement is something I can’t really do while wearing the “mom hat”. So here’s my current solution! I teach my in person classes on Monday nights. However…when my classes aren’t in session, I still go in to the studio and take that time to dance just for me. I choreograph. I play. I explore. It’s been lovely! I’d love to have more regular time to do this, but I know that next year my youngest will go to half day preschool so that will open up some regular time that I can dedicate to my personal dancing.
4) Keep the big picture in mind. Your littles won’t stay little forever. They won’t always need you. Dance will always be there for you, even if it goes a bit on the back burner once in awhile. Enjoy your mommy years as much as you can because they’re fleeting and irreplaceable.
I know this list doesn’t contain any magic secrets that will miraculously create loads of free time to get your poop in a group, but hopefully it give you a little insight to creating more balance in your dance/mom life!
If you’d like to follow along in my adventures, be sure to follow me on instagram at lisajeanbellydance or visit my website www.lisajeanbellydance.com
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