Those who know me well, say that I always seem to be on the run. But I know I’m not the only one. Moms everywhere seem to be scrambling for time and we usually manage to juggle (sometimes, rather successfully) one too many balls in the air.
A glimpse of what we juggle every given day: Carpools, supermarket shopping, school activities, meals for the household, school supplies, our kids social lives, after-school activities, managing the home, setting time aside for our spouses… the list could go and on. And this is EXCLUDING any professional obligations you may have.
The important issue that we tend to forget about is not only the juggling, but the balancing. It’s very easy to let one aspect of your life take over the others. And with women, that usually means forgetting to take care of ourselves.
Don’t you forget about me…
Remember that Simple Minds song? OK, now that you know how old I am, I just want to share some simple tips to not lose yourself while juggling everything else during the adventures of motherhood.
- Don’t feel guilty about doing something for yourself. Nobody else will do it for you. And look at it this way: it will allow you to release tension. A more relaxed mom, is a happier mom. A happier mom, is a better mom.
- Take care of yourself. Yes, that means taking your vitamins, getting enough rest, eating well.
- Treat your “me” time as an appointment. Sounds too planned? Well, the truth is, IT WORKS.
- Organization is key. Arrange with your spouse or partner or a trusted friend to watch over the little ones for a specific amount of time each week to give you a breather.
- Choose something you’d like to do, not something you need to do: a manicure, coffee with friends, reading a book, even shopping.
When work overwhelms you
Regardless of where you work at, the juggling act seems to throw in more and more balls in the air and if you really pause to think, it can overwhelm you. In these cases, learn to prioritize what’s urgent from what’s not. If everything’s urgent, then something’s really wrong, because something has to be most important in your to do list.
In this era of hyperconnectivity, it can be hard to set limits and boundaries. But just like you need them when raising your kids, you need them to keep your sanity while working and trying to balance your life a bit better. And believe it or not, you are the person that needs to respect those boundaries the most.
For some, it means no smart phones even near the kitchen or dinner table. For others, not taking calls or answering emails in the evening. And I’m assuming you already know that texting and driving don’t mix well. You need to find what works for you. Then, stick to your resolutions.
When family responsibilities drain you
Sometimes it’s the chores and everyday routines that sap out your energy, Again, a little organization and planning goes a long way.
- Decide what really has to be done and don’t get sucked into the non essential stuff.
- Make a schedule for your kids. For younger ones, take pictures of the daily tasks they must do (for example: eat breakfast, brush their teeth, take a bath, got to bed) and decorate together a poster they can look at. For older kids, make a schedule on the computer and print it out for them.
- Buy gifts for birthday parties in advance. If you are always pressed for time, use gift bags and tissue paper instead of wrapping every gift individually. You can even buy in bulk online and save.
- Do a master shopping list on your computer, print several and have them in the kitchen. Check off items as soon as you are running low and that way you’ll avoid multiple trips to the supermarket during the same week.
- Learn to say no. Sometimes that means scheduling less after-school activities, organizing less play dates or not hosting all the family dinners.
- Ask for help. Wonder Woman only exists in a comic book.
Personally, I dream about having my groceries delivered, but have to accept the reality that none of the supermarkets close to my home offer that service. So, I shop once a week and go at odd times when not so many people do their grocery shopping. Sometimes that means right after dropping the kids off for school, other times it’s late in the evening while my husband takes over parenting duties.
You’re in this for the long haul
The juggling act of motherhood is not a one hit wonder. You’re in this adventure for the long haul, and will have better days and not so great days. Sometimes one of the balls will fall to the floor, or you might get hit on the head by a curve ball. It’s not the end of the world, and those around you will follow your lead on how to react.
So next time something doesn’t work out the way you had planned, try laughing or smiling instead of getting angry or even wanting to cry. A sense of humor works wonders and aside from making you feel a bit better, comic relief is underrated when dealing with your children. So then, aside from juggler extraordinaire, you will tune into the comedian inside of you. After all, there are moments in life that are so utterly absurd, all you can do is laugh if you want to find the strength to keep on going!