Hello? Are you out there? Mom that is is trying to do it all, mom that is just trying to make it through the day…I know you are out there. I’m you.
This momming thing…it isn’t easy. The reality is, regardless of whether or not you are a full-time work-outside-the-home mom or a full-time stay-at-home mom, or somewhere in between – there is more to momming than just getting to be a mother.
If that wasn’t clear enough through the barrage of to-do lists and daily activities that we find ourselves wrapped up in, just ask society because the collective group has also made us fun labels like SAHM, WAHM, or WOHM (is wohm one?) that we can use to describe our place in the world. The same world that has created what appears to be endless amounts of parenting books, theories and methods, that we can all try and stay on top of and judge each other on, while we are trying to do our thing as our assigned acronym.
Aren’t you exhausted? I am.
I don’t know about you, but I feel stretched pretty thin most days. Last night I took 30 minutes to myself to sit on the back porch with a beer and though it was relaxing, the to-do list kept creeping back into front of mind. It feels like there is so much. So many things to do or stuff on our plates.
I’m sick of it. I am sick of the constantly full calendar and trying to make plans with friends only to inevitably require a month’s advanced booking. I am sick of staring at the piles of home projects that I have let mount up, that ultimately only weigh me down more because they are not yet done.
I’ve been trying to slow down and take more time for myself, more time for my family, more time for friends, more time for the stuff I really want to do. I am still definitely a work in progress here. I think I always will be, and you know what? I think you will too. However, I have come up with a list to help myself restore some sanity and these are things you can start doing TODAY to help restore yours too.
1. Say no.
This is something that I am not very good at. Between my full time job, the blog, kid activities, appointments here there and everywhere, the calendar can fill up really fast. I have now begun to get in the habit of looking at my calendar at the beginning of the week and saying no to things so I don’t end up with more than 2 or 3 “extra” events in my week. We need time at home to recoup. What will you really be missing? This also helps narrow down the list of things are really important.
2. Be present.
Whether you are taking the time to be away from your family or you are just relaxing at home, make sure you are present. Let the moment sink in. If it was important enough to make it on the calendar, I want to make sure I am fully there and not thinking about the to-do list. Hanging out with friends? Be engaged in the conversation. Getting your hair done? Enjoy that hour and a half to yourself. Playing legos, princesses or chasing your kids around the back yard? Be there. Remember they get dragged through the weekly to-do list too.
3. Be Spiritual.
Regardless of your faith or belief system, take some time to just breath, meditate or pray. Let the clutter go. Clear some space in your mind and make room for what is really important.
4. Get active.
I am certain that there are some crazy statistics out there about the startling health effects of sitting at a desk all day. If you spend a lot of time sitting, make sure you get up and move. I work near a local park and try to make sure I get up and go for short walks during the day. You don’t have to take tons of time away from your tasks, but it does a lot for your mind and body to be mobile and get fresh air.
If you are at home during the day, make a point to find some time for yourself to workout or get outside for a walk or run with the kids. We can easily get in the habit of thinking that “chasing kids” all day is exercise, and it is, but our bodies need more than just running around the house and our minds definitely do!
5. Get organized.
Ugh, this one is a constant struggle for me. My creative brain in all over the place. Ironically though, I am a person who really likes things to be in their place and so does my husband, so when our house gets cluttered or things are all over place, it creates additional stress that doesn’t need to be there.
I am constantly trying to work on my organization in all areas of life. Whether it is getting a pretty planner or organizing your pantry or junk drawer; just start taking steps to organize the clutter. You don’t have to do it all at once, but I bet you will be amazed at how starting to get organized makes you feel like you are regaining some control.
6. Spend less time online.
Seriously. It sounds counter-intuitive as I type up a blog post that you read online, but seriously…step away from the devices mama. Between laptops, phones and tablets, it feels like I am always looking at a device. In fact, I started noticing I was having more neck and shoulder problems recently front tilting my head down so much.
In order to avoid becoming “slouchy”, I have started trying to look at my phone less. It is amazing what you can see when you look up. You know what I’ve noticed? We ALL walk around looking at our phones like some new type of pod people! It is ridiculous! Get off your phone. It won’t break if you have less screen time. I promise.
Also, lets refer to back to #5. Getting organized. I don’t know about you but as soon as I start looking at social media, I am all like “SQUIRREL!” and forgot what in the world I sat down to work on in the first place. I got some excellent advice last year from my friend Ashley at NOLA Moms Blog, who said not to open a single website, email or calendar until you have sat down and run through your day’s to-do list. It is amazing how much more focused you can be and actually get things done!
I really, really, really need to get better at this one. When was the last time somebody was handing out prizes for “doing it all”? Have you been having that recurring daydream that people are going to start to slow clap when you walk into the room because you just really nailed your to-do list today? Odds are slim that it will actually ever happen. If it does though, let me know because it is kind of a daydream of mine…
Sometimes we need help and whether it is from your husband, your family or one of these villages I keep hearing about, you should not be afraid to seek it out. Even for something simple. I would sure love to come home to dinner on the table one night (still waiting for my slow clap on that one), but whatever it is that may help you…people don’t know you need it unless you let them know.
Asking for help can also be as simple as asking a friend for advice. I am blessed with a wealth of friends who are from all walks of life and doing different things. I seek inspiration from my friends and use the things I think they are doing really well to help guide me along my way.
8. Set goals.
I have been working a lot lately on goal setting. Not just daydreaming about things I want to do or see, but actually physically sitting down and going through the process to write down my goals and begin to try and see them through. Empires are not built overnight, neither are simple homes. Everything takes planning. Although it is nice to think that we may strike at rich in the lottery or be an HGTV dream home winner, most all of us will have to do the work to accomplish what we have set our mind to.
What has been interesting for me is how I am seeing my goals evolve and change as I am stepping through the process. If you really strip it down. What is it you want? What are you working towards? That answer is and should be different for all of us.
9. Give grace.
Give grace to yourself and give grace to others. I am incredibly critical of myself and set myself to a very high standard, which sometimes makes it hard for me to accomplish things. Lowering the bar a little bit is not admitting defeat, it is being honest with ourselves and setting realistic expectations -which frankly makes life a little more enjoyable.
Give grace to your friends. Remember that they are going through life too. Wherever you are, they might be right there with you or they might be working their way over another hurdle. It can be hard when you feel like you are losing connections or losing touch. Do the best you can to nurture the relationships that matter to you. The best friendships always come back around.
10. Remember that you are doing a good job.
Recently, I was talking with a friend that has and infant who isn’t interested in napping. I myself, had a child like that so I was trying to offer whatever pearls of wisdom I had to give and the name of a book we had read and found helpful, but the best advice I think I gave her was “remember that you are doing a good job”.
No matter if you are a SAHM, WAHM, WOHM or otherwise. No matter where you are at. You are doing a good job.