As the mother to 4 small children, I know how valuable time is. I had never thought about how difficult it could be to keep a house running, until I had birthed by first child. Let's face it, even after my first daughter was born, I was successful at keeping a semi-clean house. I found that swings, bouncers, and exersaucers were excellent "babysitters" while I folded laundry or scrubbed a toilet.
Then came child number 2, number 3, and then, much to our surprise, number 4. Suddenly my life was a whirlwind of delicate choices. I could shower, but who would watch the kids? I could spend time reading, but how would the laundry get done? I could cook a marvelous dinner, but who would read to the kids, or referee a little spat? I could work on my kids' scrapbooks, but who would scrub the toilets? With the birth of my children, my life had become a delicate dance between a varied number of decisions.
Not too long ago, I discovered a clever little way to focus my time and energy in small increments of time. Let's face it, there are times when everything we "need" to get done as parents can be overwhelming. There have been days when I look at everything that is calling for my attention, and wonder how on earth I can make it all fit.
For those of us that have a hard time focusing on something that needs to be done, let me encourage you with a little advice.
First, acknowledge that it is impossible to "do it all." That idea is a lie. No parent is able to do everything they ever dreamed, desired, wished, planned. It is not humanly possible.
Secondly, be honest with your significant other, family, and friends. Let others help you when you need it. Don't play the martyr role in the drama that is your life. I know from personal experience that when you tell your partner or those who surround you, the truth about how you are coping, more things are possible!
Thirdly, try a little thing I like to call the "5-Minute Miracle." Listen, friends. This works! Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed by what I have to do, I start the timer and let the magic begin. Let me explain...
Start in the kitchen. Set your kitchen timer (usually found on your microwave), for 5 minutes, and work on cleaning your counters, sorting papers, or loading the dishwasher until it beeps. Then, make yourself stop doing whatever you are working on, and set that timer again. Move to another room. I usually go to the Living Room. You only work until you hear the timer beep again. Repeat that process with every room in your house (or at least the main ones). In 20-30 minutes, you have made remarkable progress. And, if you still have more to do, start the "5-Minute Miracle" process over!
I can't tell you what a difference these three strategies have made in protecting my sanity. Try it today. I hope it helps you as much as it has me!