Being a wife and mother is a never-ending job. I’m up early and in bed late. I keep the world spinning, food magically appears from nowhere and I make sure the sun rises and sets daily. I keep the catastrophe at bay and the boogieman and I have cultivated a nice friendship over the years. (metaphorically speaking)
I am at the center of everything in my home and everyone is a priority, except me. As much as I love my kids and my husband, I found that I really lost myself taking care of everyone else. The doctors call this post-partum depression. I think that is the wrong term because what i’m talking about happens to every woman at some point and usually it’s due to being overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities without any depression at all.
Putting everyone and everything before ourselves is our way of coping with the stress and strain of Motherhood. It’s a natural sacrifice that we make that we really shouldn’t. The less we take care of ourselves, the less effective we are at taking care of our children and household. I am guilty of this on so many levels. I have even caught my self neglecting myself for weeks at a time. I am guilty of this. I have dealt with depression and it has drastically gotten better over time. The times that I neglect myself the most are not caused by depression but by a super busy schedule, a sick child and mountains of laundry worse than the Himalayas. I was not sad or emotional when I was neglecting myself. I was trying to get the chaos in order.
Once I caught myself doing this, I got on a mission to improve my world so that this would not happen again. I started getting together a system that helped me to deal with my family, my responsibilities and tasks, as well as myself.
1.) Get a planner
I know that you have heard this a million times but this is so true. You will have so much on your mind things will get lost in the shuffle. Write them down. Either in an app on your phone, or a paper and pen. I keep a notebook and a planner. I have to write. It gives me the greatest calm and peace to write down not only my tasks for the day but also how I’m feeling. Seeing it on paper can help me to sort out what is just my mind running wild and what is actually happening. Believe me, I have been through the altered reality too many times. Writing things down will clear your mind and get you grounded fast. I have a Happy Planner by Create 365. I decorate and plan in my planner weekly which is a creative outlet for me as well as functional.
|Classic Happy Planner: Everyday Essentials
2.) Get a plan together
Once you have your planner in hand, use it. Concentrate on writing down your tasks and to do’s. Prioritize from the most important to the things that can be done later. You will realize, once you make your list, that things are not as overwhelming as they seem. You will gain so much clarity. I usually do a top 5. After that I do an optional 3. Any more than that and I won’t have room for things that come up all of a sudden. Flexibility is key. Leave room in your schedule for unforeseen events. Give yourself extra time to complete tasks.
Put your big girl panties on and get to it. You have to focus on what you have in front of you. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true. You have to tackle what you see first. Then move on to the next. Hit your top priority items on your task list. Challenge yourself to get done at least the first 5 without stopping or getting distracted. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you can get done.
4.) Stop multitasking
You shouldn’t multi-task just like you should’t text and drive. It will end badly. If you are cleaning, then clean. If you’re doing laundry then do laundry. You will get tasked completed so much faster if you focus on one thing at a time. You will also have more attention to detail. This means you won’t forget or leave much out.
5.) Schedule everything
Now, let’s get carried away with this one. Some people take this statement literally. When I say schedule everything, I mean make sure to use your time wisely. If you have a block of time in between tasks, this is the perfect time to schedule some down time for yourself. I even schedule showers and baths. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have asked myself if I had taken a shower that day. It may sound ridiculous to some but, it’s absolutely true. Schedule your personal care time too. I even write down my morning and night routines for my skincare. This comes in handy when you get mommy brain and can’t remember anything.
Now, by this time you should at least have a pretty good handle on things. Planning and scheduling should have at least cleared the smoke and let you see things much clearer now. Now that you have a little clarity as far as tasks go the next three will make your life even easier.
6.) Prep ahead of time
My kids clothes and my clothes are laid out ahead of time. Their clothes are organized so that I can grab what I need when I need it. My clothes are organized in the same way. I train my kids to use the same system that I have put in place and explain to them why. They get it. They are also young so their brains are just soaking it all up. This habit took me a while to cultivate and master but my “future self” thanks me all the time. Trust me it’s worth the extra effort.
7.) Get everyone involved
Don’t leave your kids out of the clean up. Get them to help clean up their messes and do laundry whenever possible. Remember, you are raising adults and you want them to be confident and independent. Giving them responsibility and chores little by little instills character. This also gives you a chance to see what they can do and what they can’t. It’s a great learning experience for you and them. You can even make it fun by turning it into a game. Engaging their critical thinking and motor skills which is great for their development. It also lightens the load on you.
8.) Develop a routine
Having a routine is critical. This can make the day go a little smoother but most of all, orderly. An established routine creates order and expectancy. Kids like this because it gives them a sense of security. They know what happens next and what is expected. There is no room left for question. This will also make life easier for you because after the routine is learned, the only thing you have to do is oversee.
9.) Be Consistent
As a mother, tiredness and lack of sleep were my greatest complaint. Establishing the routines talked about earlier has given me a chance to train not only my kids but myself. I compare it to the metaphor that says “The fish rots from the head.” this is very true. You are the lead person in your household. The group of people you are responsible for respond to you and your leadership. They feed off of your energy. Make sure it is always positive. Being consistent is a positive reinforcement. Even though we don’t feel like it we should for the greater good of our home and family. A little struggle pays off in the end.
10.) Take time to relax and reset
Like I mentioned earlier. I even schedule this time in my planner. I will at least have a day or a few hours to myself to unwind, relax, and reset. You absolutely need to have this time. Whether it be a few minutes or a few hours. Take time to take care of yourself so that you can take care of the ones you love.