As a parent, what are your days like?
Do you hit the ground running hours before the rest of your family wakes up and keep going full speed ahead until long after they have gone to bed?
If you answered yes to one of those two scenarios, or both, then you are not alone.
As a mom of two girls, I feel your pain, and your stress! I am continuously feeling the pressure that I must simply do it all, because I am a mom and that’s what we do!
However, moms cannot do it all, and neither can dad or anyone else. It's one of the life lessons that I learned a long time ago. We must accept this fact once and for all, so that we can finally find a little balance in our lives and accomplish what we can each day.
Thankfully, there are many things that we can all do to save some time and our sanity in these days filled with things to do and only twenty-four hours to get them all done.
Here are 6 helpful tips to claim your sanity again when you are stretched too thin:
1. Learn How to Say NO
It is not easy to say no to those PTA requests, classroom helper requests, sporting event concession stand requests, birthday parties, and more. However, once you learn how to have this two-letter word come out of your mouth a little more often, you will find that you have much more time to get other things done. Start by saying no to one thing and then work your way up to saying no for everything except the items that you are truly dedicated to.
2. Take Time for Yourself
Every mom needs to spend some time on herself, even if it is only ten to twenty minutes each day. Use this time to take a long hot bath, read a book, catch up on part of your favorite television show, meditate, or anything else that you are interested in. I guarantee that you will find that you have much more energy afterwards to tackle a few more things on your to do list. You will be a lot more focused too!
3. Take Time to Work out and Eat Healthy
As a mom, I am constantly battling my not so healthy eating habits! I spend many days thinking that I just do not have time to grab a bite to eat for breakfast or lunch, yet that means that I overeat at dinnertime. It also means that I never have the energy that I should to get through my days.
Good foods and a good workout are what we all need to recharge our batteries. Once you start doing these two things on a regular basis, you should find that your to-do list is not as long as you thought it was. Your stress levels will lower, and you won’t be as cranky with the child who forgot their lunch or homework for what seems like the billionth time this school year! This is one tip I could have told my 20-year-old self!
4. Create Routines
I understand that routines can be boring, but trust me, they can help you from getting overwhelmed. Try to clean the same part of your house on the same days each week and pick up your groceries on a specific day as well. I love creating morning and evening routines, so that I can have things ready for when I need them.
Your evenings might have you cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, paying bills, filing papers, picking up the house, and throwing a load of laundry in on the delay cycle. Then in the morning, you should have a load of laundry ready for the dryer as soon as you wake up, as well as a clean kitchen and a picked-up house. You can then use your mornings to create your to-do list for the rest of the day, pack lunches, and perform little tasks that will make your day easier.
5. Schedule Your Tasks for the Hours You Have Available
We all get the same number of hours in a day, but we all use them differently. While you may be working in an office from nine to five each day, another mom may be home all day with her little ones. While you may think that that mom has much more time to clean the house than you do, think again.
She must keep an eye on her children and possibly attend playdates, so she may only have the hours during naptime available for her to do list. I recommend that you take the time to sit down and determine which hours you have available each week for certain tasks. Then you can write down what you want to get done during those time slots and work from that list.
This should help prevent you from getting sucked into social media or stuck on the phone with a friend for an hour. This schedule may also help you say no to certain things, because you will already be booked for those times. Obviously, none of your weeks will look the same time-wise, but if you have a general guideline to follow, you will find that it is much easier to reach your goals and understand what you cannot do.
6. Ask for Help
There is no reason why you need to do everything on your own! Your family can help with some of the tasks on your list or you can hire someone to do them for you. Obviously, the first option will not cost you extra, so you may want to try that first.
I recommend having a cleaning party each day to see who in your family can get their assigned area sparkling clean in the least amount of time. Your two-year-old can pick up toys, while your four-year-old scrubs the bathroom sink, and your husband takes out the garbage and recycling.
At the same time, you can quickly put the dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the kitchen counters. If you make it a game, no one should complain as much. Plus, the reward could be a little television show or the chance to play a game before bed.
You cannot do it all, so please stop trying! Choose what is most important to you and then make it work so that you have the time to get those items completed. Swap car pool days with someone, pay bills while waiting for the bus, and throw dinner in the crockpot.
Anything that will help you make a dent in your day without making you feel like you never have time to cross every item off your list. And remember, take a few minutes for yourself, so you can pat yourself on the back for all your hard work!
Do you have any tips that I missed?