Managing other people is already a highly time-consuming but rewarding career. When you throw a two-year-old and a five-year-old into the mix though, things can get a little chaotic every now and then. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, you’re a working mom yourself!
As we’re all aware, being a mom isn’t like being an entrepreneur, though. You can set aside and schedule part-time hours if needed, whereas being a parent is a full-time, round the clock job that never stops.
My dreams weren’t much different from the typical 20-something-year-old woman. I knew what I wanted in my education, my career, and my personal life. So, I set my targets and hit each one right on schedule. After kids, I’m still able to do all of those things, it just takes better planning and a little more caffeine.
First Off, Accept What Life is vs. What it “Should” Be
As both a Life Coach and a Learning Skills Strategist specializing in time management, it’s easy to imagine a rigid stocked with sticky notes that dictate every hour, down to the very last minute. I can assure you that I too am a human being who frequently has to jump through the unexpected hoops that life throws at us.
There are days when I take on extra early appointments and make late business calls, so I’m not hitting the gym as often as I’d like. I don’t meal prep every single day, and there are times when I wish I could do more to spoil myself. Since you’re a driven person just like I am, there are going to be plenty of times when it seems as though all the hard work you’re putting in just isn’t measuring up to the vision you had in mind.
This isn’t something that you can run from or change, so learn to roll with the punches and accept things for what they are instead of resenting your life for what it isn’t. You don’t necessarily need to lower your standards or expectations, but you should also be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned.
Self-Compassion — How to Love Yourself More
Speaking of being kind to ourselves, I’ve had my fair share of meltdowns; we’re talking full on sobbing after missing a deadline or dealing with an ill child. I felt as though I wasn’t doing enough to keep things together, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t catch a break at that moment. When it seems like everything is out of your control, it’s easy to question what it is that’s wrong with you.
Don’t look at other moms and assume their lives are picture-perfect, they endure the same “what am I doing with my life” meltdowns just as you and I do. They might hide it better, but we’re all ripping our hair out every now and then behind closed doors. I know you want to be exceptional, and every action you take into being a mother is in the best interest of your family.
However, sometimes, you need to slow it down and remember that your efforts are exceptional! You wake up every single day on a mission to be the best parent, and the best individual you can be. Recite your mantra, get a manicure, or partake in that childfree activity that you’ve been wanting to do for so long. Take a little time as often as you can to reward yourself, and don’t feel guilty about it! Your needs don’t just disappear because you have kids now, you absolutely must take care of yourself too if you wish to be happy, and be the best mom you can be.
There have been times when I have had to take a few deep breaths and walk away from trying situations for a few minutes. Trust me, your little ones will be fine for a second or two while you regain some balance in your mind.
Balance Takes Practice
If you think that you are going to maintain balance and a peaceful state of being 24/7, I’m sorry to say that it just is not going to happen. Reducing stress in your day to day life is something that you only have so much power over. It requires you to make continuous changes, and redirect responsibilities and inconveniences as they come. For a while, I spent a lot of time going through the motions and feeling helpless against all the commotion that life was throwing at me.
Instead of practicing breathing, meditation, or going for a bike ride when possible, I would break down and then continue to try and overexert myself like most overworked and overwhelmed moms do. Sure, if you want to get better at a specific skill it’s easy to start pushing yourself to the brink, but is it the best way to get better? No. This is not the approach to take as a mom though; you can’t push yourself past the limits and get the best results.
When I made the decision to commit to implementing these self-love rituals into my daily life… everything changed! I finally experienced the balance I had always wanted.
If you have managed to find the balance you’re looking for, congratulations! You’ll need to work just as hard to keep it going as you did to get there. Should you happen to wake up one day realizing that you are exhausted again and haven’t had an outlet for a while or that you haven’t quite been taking care of yourself the way you should, take a moment to reevaluate.
What were you doing before that worked? At what point did things start to get hectic again? How can you stop this from happening in the future? In some instances, you may not be able to prevent a meltdown from happening, or imbalance from taking over, but knowing you have a way to cope with it will sincerely change your outlook, and hopefully give you a better perspective on the big picture.
Don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity when things get tough, just pick up and keep going like the thriving mom you are! You got this!