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Family Forum: Balancing Acts - How To Do It All?

Work, family and finding "me time" - how do local parents balance their lives?

You've got work deadlines, teacher conferences, bills, baseball and ballet practices and an endless to-do list. Not to mention, your hubby has been begging you to schedule in a date night.

Dare we even suggest adding in a manicure appointment, yoga class or some other form of "me time."

It today's fast-paced world, busy moms and dads can feel as if they are being pulled in several different directions on a daily basis. Just getting through the week can seem like a small victory but finding ways to balance it all is key to truly enjoying life.

Tell us. I'm sure like most parents, you probably feel like you do not have all the answers, but no one does. Still, we want to hear - what is working for you and what are your biggest struggles when it comes to juggling your career, your family and your own needs while staying sane?

You'll see members of our Family Council, an advisory group comprised of smart and engaged parents from the neighborhood, responding to these questions below in the comments section and we invite you and your circle of friends to join in the discussion by doing the same.

Family Forum is a feature on Patch that invites local parents to discuss issues that matter to them.

Wondering who are these local parents we tapped for our Council? Meet the members:

  • Janet Grech - A Malverne mom with children enrolled at Our Lady of Lourdes School.
  • Laura Murray- A Lynbrook mom who grew up in Malverne and is the current president of the Mothers of Malverne. She has two young children not in school yet.
  • Gina Genti - A Malverne mom with two boys in elementary school.
  • Andrea Shinsato- A West Hempstead mom with a 2-year-old and one child enrolled in Chestnut Street School.
  • Theresa Walz- A West Hempstead mom whose children attend Cornwell Avenue School and West Hempstead Middle School.
  • Loraine Magaraci- A West Hempstead mom with kids enrolled in West Hempstead Middle School and High School.
  • Audrey Diaz Robles- A new mom to a 6-month-old baby.
  • Dawn Wladyka- A Malverne mom with two students attending Our Lady of Lourdes School and one enrolled in Grace Lutheran PreSchool.
  • Eileen Lynch O'Hara - A Malverne mother with three children enrolled at Saint Anne's School in Garden City and one child at the Brother Fox Latin School at Kellenberg Memorial High School.
  • Maria Salcedo-Hafker - A Malverne mom who sends her children to Maurice W. Downing School and Davison Avenue School.
  • Lori Lang- A Malverne native and mother of four whose children attend St. Thomas the Apostle School in West Hempstead.
  • Jennifer Johnson- A West Hempstead mom with one child attending Cornwell Avenue School and another in day care.

Family Forum will also be the place for you to pose your questions about parenting topics and local issues that affect families. Where can we get information on local flu shot clinics for children? How do we talk to our children about peer pressure, bullying and protecting themselves online? How can we help our children's schools weather their budget cutbacks?

Have a topic or question you'd like to bring before the Family Council and fellow Patch readers? E-mail Tara.Conry@Patch.com

Lori Hunt-Lang April 27, 2011 at 06:33 PM
The biggest thing my husband and I try to do for ourselves - and one another - is going to the gym. We find it clears our minds, give us more energy to tackle the to do's and makes us feel better and less stressed out. We belong to a great gym in RVC called the Sky Athletic Club complete with a nursery - so there are never any excuses! We have taken the kids since they were each 6 months old. It works wonders for energy, stress and me time!
Theresa Walz April 27, 2011 at 09:34 PM
It is very hard trying to juggle everything but I really try to have a little time for myself. I look forward to my weekly breakfast with the girls and I find that is a good escape from all the chaos and running around. I also try to make the school vacations a down time for my family because it is usually the one time when we don't have alot of the running around to activities and meetings so we try to do some family things together. We always plan a summer vacation so we can be together without any other distractions
Andrea Shinsato April 28, 2011 at 12:58 AM
what is working for you and what are your biggest struggles when it comes to juggling your career, your family and your own needs while staying sane? This is a tough question because I still struggle to find a balance. My daughter, who is 5, is only now beginning to have extra-curricular activities and already, there are time conflicts and late dinners etc. As far as scheduling, I have a calendar that I am super-dependent on. I write everything on that calendar and it helps me to plan my family's engagements. Regarding 'me' time, my husband is fortunate to get home at a reasonable time (around 4 pm) so there is an hour or two I can steal away, but I don't do that very often (I am questioning my reasoning for that as I write this....) As the weather improves, we take a walk as a family every night. The kids expel some energy on their bikes and my husband and I actually have a chance to catch up with each other without the usual interruptions. Date nights are a great reprieve too, but again, they are few and far between. I rationalize it this way: my kids are really young and I figure I am putting in my 'time' now and later, there will be a time when I wish I were busier with them. I try to keep that in mind when they are driving me so crazy that boarding school seems like a great idea! HA.
janet grech May 05, 2011 at 12:53 AM
Aahhh!!! This is a very good question, to which I can say, I honestly don't know. I can tell you, however, that we just keep on going. We do it all, school, homework, sports, dance, Girl Scouts, and on and on. I try to cook a healthy meal each night, not just something quick, but something good and get them to bed early. It's not always easy, it's not always possible. "Me" time is something I don't usually get to enjoy but I definitely get a break on Bunco Fridays or over the weekend. We are lucky enough, however, to get away often and spend some good quality time with each other.

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