I was washing the floor this morning and trying to wrap my head around our schedule for the day. I can really think when I wash the floor. Maybe it’s because of the repetitive ‘push-pull’ of the mop. Maybe it’s because my children have to be preoccupied so I can keep them off the floor. Either way, I can really think things through and follow my train of thought when I am in full house-frau mode!
Anyways, speaking of train of thought… I was pondering a remark a friend of mine had made about how she cannot understand how I fit everything into my schedule. Part-time shifts at the hospital, son back and forth to preschool, daughter down for naps, working my Arbonne business, dinners out with my husband, keeping a Facebook page and now a blog up to date and even popping out for a social night of West Coast Swing dancing once a month. This made me really think about how we can fit so many things into a day and not go crazy with stress. So, maybe I can share a few things that work for me.
1. Involve your children – These little people love to be a part of the family dynamic. They want to be considered an integral part of the family. Make them feel like you could not function without them! Make sure that you run some plans by them, even a day or two before it happens. My son in particular really needs to be given advanced notice of things and I always regret it if I throw something at him he does not expect! FREAKOUT session! Nothing like a screaming 4 year old to create stress. The conversation usually goes something like this…”This week, we have a few things that we need to do and I need your help…” Then I give him a list, reinforcing the days of the week as we go through (teachable moment!) and often end up writing him out a little schedule if some activities are related to him directly. He loves it! He even posts it up in his room and crosses the days off himself!
2. Involve your spouse – OK dear, time to pitch in! It was so unbelievable clear to me how difficult it would be if I was a stay-at-home Mom when I returned to work after both my maternity leaves. A full 12 hour shift where I did not have to be responsible for anyone but myself…HEAVEN! So, by staying home all day with my children, my husband understood how challenging the day was and now he is always ready to offer me time away whenever I request it. Errand time, gym time, shopping time, you name it. He appreciates my hard work and likely his own opportunity to be with the children and then escape to his job again the next day!
3. Take time for you!!! – This one is huge. I struggled with this and still do, but now realize the importance of this simple concept. After a full 12 hrs with my kids I felt too exhausted to even think about cleaning up and heading out. I also really wanted to spend a little time with my children and husband all together, as a family. But, I end up drained from doing the same thing ALL day with no time for me. Choose 2 or 3 days each week where you get a full hour or two away and to do whatever you need to do: exercise, shop, go for coffee with a friend. You choose! It will likely work very well if this is exercise! You WILL have energy if you just get your body moving! Get out in the fresh air with no little people to herd. You will have SO much more patience and energy for everyone else if you allow yourself to recharge.
More tips to come in the future….and don’t think I have all these things perfected.
I too, am a work in progress!! It takes persistence and perseverance to build habits for great success!