For my first three Mother’s Days, all I wanted was to get a full eight hours of sleep. Heck, I’d have gone for a 2-hour nap. During those early years, I ate standing up, never participated in the things I loved, and looked like I aged 10 years even though it was only three! I finally realized things needed to change.
As a first-time mom, I wanted to do everything “perfect.” I ran myself ragged and felt short fused. Once I did a “schedule cleanup,” I realized I had much more time my family and for me. Here are five steps to help you restructure your life, achieve balance, and regain happiness:
Journal the time you spend each hour of the day. Recording each minute may sound silly, but you are likely to find holes in the day that could be spent doing something more productive. Set a timer if you must when you scroll on Facebook or mindlessly watch TV.
Give tasks an order of importance. It is common to make To-Do lists but less common to organize things in order of importance. Unorganized lists leave us ahead of schedule on some things, but cramming for a last minute run for snack day at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday. Organizing your list in order of priority allows you to gauge what is important and knock out things promptly. Make one list for home and one list for work.
Organize chores in a manageable fashion. I like to do one load of laundry each morning. I put one load in immediately when I wake. Or set the timer for 6 a.m. and have it running when you wake. By the time my son is eating breakfast, I’ve switched the load to the dryer, and it is done before our day begins. Gone are the hours each weekend feeling swamped with dirty clothes. We are a big sports and gym household and, trust me, our house smells much better, too!
I also always run the dishwasher at night and unload the dishes while I drink my morning coffee. Breaking the chores into small manageable chunks keep me feeling on top of things and much less stressed. With the housework managed, I can shift my focus to our business and our first-grader’s homework.
Look through your day and scrap some wasted tasks, i.e. the 2 hours on social media watching videos of your friend’s cat. What do you enjoy doing that you have let fall by the wayside since you’ve become a mom? For me, it was reading and a few extra workouts. Put those in your week as nonnegotiable. Prioritizing your joy will make you a happier person and a better mom. Make time for exercise. You want to set examples using actions, not just words. Plus, exercise is an excellent stress reducer on top of the countless other health benefits.
Reap the rewards of your schedule cleanup! Remember the saying, “When mom’s happy, the whole house is happy.” You set the tone for your family, and they will feed off your energy (or lack thereof). Fill your tank first, and you’ll be able to fill everyone else’s! Happy Mother’s Day!
By Karey Northington, RN, Mom, and Team Max Athlete