I think before every season begins, I tell myself, “things are going to slow down for our family.” Then the calendar filling commences. We had one of the busiest spring and summer ever – traveling nearly every weekend for something. A great deal of them were for fun or celebratory events, but as one of my good girlfriends says, “even positive events can be stressful.” TRUE DAT! During all the madness, I realized life just never slows down and THAT’S OKAY. So as we enter the fall months, I decided to embrace the busyness, dust off some of my “best practices,” and enjoy the ride.
Keep a Family Calendar
My husband and I use our Google Calendars and invite each other to events that may affect the other person. We also have a calendar on our fridge, that I update before each month begins – adding all the happenings. This helps the whole family see what each week looks like (cause my kids are advanced readers at five and two. Ha!). This seems crucial for my OCD planner-ness. Yes, I color code by the person in our family, or type of event – I’m that girl. And unless you want to see Anger from the movie Inside Out, you best leave the writing to me. DO NOT TOUCH THE PENS!
Plan Your Week in Advance
Yes, the calendar helps, but to ensure I get other things done, the week-at-a-glance is my golden ticket. Each week I try to make a list of items to be completed, and I also pencil in my workouts. Lastly, I plan dinners and get to the store at the beginning of the week. If I have all the ingredients at home, then there’s no last minute store runs, take out, or rushed restaurant dinners.
Find Some Headspace
Getting up early is key for me to start the day off right. It gives me a little extra time to drink half of my warm coffee, get breakfast and lunches ready, and maybe even some of that fancy makeup. Lately, I stepped up my game. My husband introduced me to Headspace. It’s a daily guided meditation app for newbies and pros. I wake up, meditate with my good ol’ buddy Andy (he has the voice of an angel), and get my head in the right place before the “hurry and put your shoes on and brush your teeth” daily dance begins. Whether it be three minutes or 15 (I do ten), this has been such a game changer.
In addition to Headspace providing a positive start to my day, it also reminds me to be present. It’s so easy for us to multitask as moms. Sometimes it’s necessary, but other times it’s really not. Even if I’m just watching my kids play from a distance, I’m present and taking a moment to appreciate what’s right in front of me. Two lovable kiddos who really need a bath. Who’s their mom anyways?
The other part about dropping my phone is that I usually find I get things done quicker because I’m not checking my notifications or email constantly. But hey, I’m human and I still “check out” – I just try to catch myself a little more often. Lastly, when I’m present, I’m not stressing about “all the things,” and enjoying the ride.
Take Time for Yourself
As a mother, self-care is so important! Can I get an amen? However, it’s also the first thing I take off my list of to-dos. Nap time comes, and instead of working out, I’m cleaning the house or doing the laundry. Girl’s night out and the week’s all the sudden too busy? Cancelled. Why do we do this to ourselves? Being a mom is nonstop, and some days it’s exhausting. The best way for me to recharge is to get some kind of break. I literally need two hours, and I’m ready to get back in the game. Running errands alone does not count. I repeat – DOES NOT COUNT (now I’m just taking notes on my own advice). Whether it’s a workout, a night out with the ladies, reading or binge watching a couple episodes – take the time. You deserve it!
Hold Date Night
Man, another that goes to the wayside when things get busy or we end up hanging out with other friends in lieu of date night. Not to say a night out with friends isn’t crucial to my sanity either, but date night is a must. Maybe it’s just devoted hang out time after the kids are asleep – eat dinner at the table or sit outside and drink some vino. Just something to engage rather than the “Netflix and chill” (but like the real “chill” where you’re wearing your PJs from college). My husband and I both feel better when we have time to connect, remember why we love each other (and our kids), chat about our day, and laugh a little.
So, in conclusion, I should probably learn to take my own advice and not write an entire blog post about it. I’m sure you’ve heard some version of my words, from far more reputable sources, but shoot, maybe you’re like me and need to be hit over the head a couple more times before it sinks in.
How do you keep your sanity? Have any pointers? Enjoy and embrace the chaos as much as you can because life really is pretty grand!