I normally get up at 5 a.m., so I can get a workout in…in my case, a seven-minute workout. Then, I do 10 minutes of meditation, followed by a shower. I am ready to go by 6 a.m. when I wake my spouse and children up to get them fed and dressed before I leave for work to be there by 7 a.m. Then, I leave work at 4 p.m. to get home and make dinner early enough to still have time to play with the kids before they have to go to bed. However, this morning, instead of hitting snooze, I turned the alarm off and overslept. My schedule was off. You know what though? It didn’t bother me. It’s taken me a lot of practice, but I found a few things to help me stay sane even when everything else is off.
Meditation or something like that
When I overslept, I had to cut my meditation short, but I still did it. Those 10 minutes (or sometimes five minutes) help me stay calm. Find time, Mama, to focus on yourself. Sometimes it might be just focusing on your breath or how your body is feeling, but by taking those few minutes to focus on one thing instead of several things like moms usually do, can help you be more productive and feel more balanced.
Yes, I said it, and yes, it’s hard. You work all day long and then take care of your family at night. I did a meal plan for a while and fell off when things got super busy. Your daughter has a dance class, or your son has soccer practice…whatever the case may be, get back on that horse! Meal plan for the week around a theme that is flexible and easy. If you have picky eaters, make a note of the meals they like the most, so you can put them in the rotation. I’ve also found it helpful to make enough dinner leftovers for your whole family to bring for lunch the next day. It can be a lot, but the flexibility piece is critical. You’ll be prepared for the week, and it won’t matter what day you cook each meal. Another great tip: ask for help!
As mothers, we’re ingrained to serve others first, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to take care of others? We hear it all the time about self-care, and it is SO important. On an airplane, they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others. If we can’t breathe, how can we expect to help others breathe? Self-care can mean many things for different people. I like to read and have a glass of wine. Maybe you like to exercise and get a massage. Whatever it is that helps you recharge, do it. I have found that I am much more present with my family and more focused at work when I feel good.
Have a schedule, but be flexible
It’s hard to maintain schedules when tasks change daily. It’s even harder when kids are in school and involved in extracurricular activities. However, keeping a general schedule with flexibility can help you stay organized and feel less frazzled when things change. My plan includes a cleaning schedule and family activities. What it doesn’t include is specific times or rigid deadlines, aside from work hours, school hours, appointments, etc. I clean out my fridge on Sunday because Monday is garbage day, but I don’t have a specific time set to do it. We generally do it when we take out all the other garbage, but it’s not at 8 p.m., nor will I freak out if it isn’t done by a specific time. It eventually gets done, and that’s all that matters. Our work schedules and deadlines are already rigid enough; no need to bring that home!
Leave work at work
I know there are some circumstances where you may have to bring work home, especially if you work from home, but separate work and home as much as you possibly can. If you need to vent, maybe call your spouse (or your mom or a trusted friend?) before you get home but don’t vent in front of your kids. They don’t care what you did at work today; they just want to spend time with you. So leave work at work, so you can focus on yourself and your family.
Give yourself grace and ask for help
You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be present. Nobody is perfect, and that is OK. It’s OK to go out to dinner if you don’t feel like cooking. You didn’t get a chance to vacuum over the weekend? So what! Now you feel overwhelmed? It’s OK…take a break! You are a mother, and no one can mother as you do. So, give yourself some grace if things aren’t perfect because they never will be. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Maybe once a week grandma comes by to help with dinner or every other night your spouse puts the kids to bed. Or you pay the nanny extra to stay for a little longer. Whatever will help you, ask for it. It’s better to ask for help than to feel stress and anxiety.
You are doing the best you can, and your kids won’t remember if you won that project at work; instead, they’ll remember that when you got home from work, and they got back from school, you played with them, helped them with their homework, and put them to bed at night. They’ll remember that they were loved, and in the end, that’s what matters.