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Mom Brain: How to Deal

De-clutter your 'Mom Brain' by adding this one thought

Have you thought about yourself today?

As moms, wives, employees, whatever, we often forget about ourselves. Buuut, you are YOU first, then a mom, wife, daughter, employee, lunch packer, house cleaner, etc. etc. It’s so easy to get caught up in others’ needs and to just push yours aside. I don’t know about you, but this just makes me an impatient, scatterbrained, emotional mess – and that’s not good for anyone.

Does it seem like each day is just a string of thoughts about others, whether it be your kids, your boss, your coworkers, your spouse?

Things like: What do you want for breakfast? Where are your shoes? Didn’t daycare say we needed to bring more wipes or something? [mental note: check status of Amazon Subscribe and Save wipes delivery] What do you want for lunch? Where’s your lunchbox? Why can I only find one of your shoes? Who’s doing daycare pickup today? What do you want for dinner? How was everyone’s day? What’s wrong? Are you tired, hungry, what hurts? Why won’t you just eat what I made for dinner? What needs most urgent attention – dirty dishes, dirty laundry, dirty floor, dirty bathroom, dirty child?

Or, for example, on days when I’m home with the kids, during naptime I may not be thinking about others but my thinking is something like this: Let me just do the dishes then I’ll eat lunch and relax, hmm the kitchen floor needs to be cleaned-it only takes 10 mins [get mop from laundry room], oh I need to put laundry in the dryer, gotta fold the load that’s in the dryer first, etc. etc… Then when I finally sit down,the kids are awake (and I realize I’ve never done the dishes)!

Soooo, how do you declutter your brain and actually get things done rather than run around doing 5 things at once and never finishing anything? (I can’t be the only one who does this!) It seems counterintuitive, but you do it by adding one more thought to your brain…YOU! By taking the time you need for yourself, you will have more time (and energy, and patience) to take care of that never ending to-do list in your head. Not to mention that list will get more organized and easier to tackle. I thought this was hooey for a long time, but with practice I’m definitely noticing the benefits.

Here are some little things that I do to put me first:

I get the sleep I need!
I’m jealous (and skeptical…) of those people that only need 5-6 hours of sleep; I need more like 8-9. Which is tough/near impossible with two young kids and, um, a life. I’m not ashamed to say I’m usually in bed by 9pm (yes, Fridays and Saturdays too). I read, nurse the baby, then lights out no later than 10pm! I’ve found that it’s almost never worth it to stay up late (Things like enjoying the company of good friends or family are usually worth it to me).

I let the baby cry for a minute so I can pee/chug a glass of water/finish my lunch/etc.
He will be OK. Sometimes he’s even fallen asleep by the time I get to him…bonus!

I ask for help and accept it when it is offered.
This is something that I’ve struggled with a lot (and still do). Once I became pregnant with my daughter, I committed to asking for and accepting help. Now, if anyone asks me if I need anything, I make sure to really think about it before I say no.
I’ve certainly gotten better at asking for help, but I’ll admit I still need to work on not feeling guilty about it. For example, just last week I asked my husband to pick up some groceries on his way home from work and I felt so guilty about it, like I wasn’t doing “my duties” as a wife/mom. Did he give me a hard time about it? No. But I still felt like I needed to make excuse after excuse in my head about why I’d rather he get the groceries. But really, it was mostly just because it was a beautiful day and I wanted to spend time at the park with our kids instead. Why feel guilty about that?!

I make ME time.
I started this when I was working and pregnant with my son. I would get home about 30-45 minutes before my husband got home with our daughter. I would use the first 5-20 minutes to nap, read a book or magazine, or just sit. Then I’d unload the dishwasher and start getting things ready for dinner. This got me in the right state of mind for the whining tornado of a toddler that comes through our house every evening.

Now I’m home with two kids a couple days a week, and this can sometimes test every last bit of patience I have. Lately, as soon as I get a chance when they are both sleeping, I make myself a cup of coffee or tea, (and sometimes get a sugar-free treat!), then sit outside in the sun for at least 5 minutes. I just sit. I don’t scroll through my phone, I don’t read a book. I sit with myself and enjoy the scenery and the sounds and focus on my breathing. It makes all the difference in the world. The insane mess inside can wait. It makes me remember that I love life. [Um, just don’t remind me that winter is coming and sitting outside for 5-10 minutes will not be as enjoyable…]

My Challenge to you:
Pay attention to your thoughts for a week. How many of them are focused on others? Then start to notice where you can fit in some time for yourself. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes (or more?!) is great. Is it first thing in the morning? Can you get home from work before everyone else? Can you shut your office door or go for a walk right after lunch? Whatever, whenever it is, make it a habit. Let me know what you’ve done to add YOU to your brain in the comments!

Originally published at mlbfamilywellness.com

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