I have three beautiful children. They are 5 years old, 3 years old and 9 months old. I am a tired mom. I am a rubber band pulled to the brink and then justa little more. I wouldn’t have it any other way (most days), I just don’t want to feel like it.
I’m also not one for big resolutions. Sure, I have goals and ambitions (both business and personal) and I love a new year, new week, or new day as much as the next woman. Yet, this year something felt different. A change needed to be made, and soon. This was the year of me. The year I put self-care at the forefront of my attention. The year I finally subscribed to the idea that the better I am to myself and for myself, the better I will serve those in my life whom I love deeply. In all honesty, it’s a difficult choice to make. Yet the question remains, “does it have to be a choice?” I’m here to tell you that yes, it has to be a choice but not the one you may be thinking. You don’t have to make a choice between your family and your mental health or between your kids and your job, or your kids and your sanity. It’s all in how you look at it.
These tips and changes may not work for the season of life that you are living currently but they have definitely helped me through these chapters that I’m dubbing “The Circus Years.”
FIND Your “me” Time
Personally, my “me” time is my mornings. Once the baby got to the point that he was mostly sleeping through the night I was able to arrange my sleeping schedule to benefit me. In our house, that looks like an alarm at 5:30 am, but if we’re being completely honest, it probably includes a snooze or two with a final wake up between 5:45 and 5:50 am. Not too shabby! Then it’s downstairs to turn on the coffee maker and start my morning routine. I begin my quiet morning listing three things for which I am grateful. I then read and reflect on the day’s selection in my Daily Stoic book and check my Erin Condren planner. After that it’s three pages of writing. I write anything that comes into my brain. It’s a daily brain dump that gets all the stuff rattling around in there onto a page for future reflection and safe-keeping. As we moms know, at any time there could be 67 tabs open in our brains and 3 of them are playing music. It’s hard to keep it all straight (and quiet) so this helps me to focus and remain calm.
FOCUS on Your Health I know many of us have baby weight to “redistribute”. No matter if our baby is 8 months or 18 years old, our bodies aren’t the same. After our youngest (and last) baby was born I knew I wanted to get to whatever my new healthy normal was going to be. I’ll tell you what it’s not; eating chicken nugget pieces off of the kids plates as I clean up or grabbing a handful of pretzels whenever I forget to eat lunch. I got really serious about my eating and making it a priority. That meant cutting out non-natural sugars, limiting the carbs (bye bye white bread and pasta) and focusing on hitting my macros. Oh, and no wine. It’s been an interesting and sometimes difficult transition. I started in February of this year and by March 30th I had lost twenty-five pounds. That’s the weight of an average 2-year-old. No exercise, just paying attention to what goes into my mouth and making sure it counts! Not every week was an absolute win, but I took the approach that this endeavor is a life change. A marathon, not a sprint, if you will. With that mindset I am able to give myself a little grace when I do slip up because, I know I will.
ASK for Help This one has been the most difficult for me. I often find myself thinking that if I can’t do it all then I must not be working hard enough. What flawed thinking that turned out to be. Self-care doesn’t have to be done all by yourself. You have friends, you may have a partner who can assist and some of us are even lucky enough to have family close by. This year I started asking for help. A couple of hours here so I could go to a meeting, a naptime babysitting session so I could grab a massage or even a cup of warm coffee, a trade off with my hubs so that I could meet a deadline or just to read a magazine. It’s all about integrating the stuff you want to do that revitalizes your soul with the stuff you have to do to keep the family kickin’.
This IS my year, but it doesn’t have to be limited to one year. I have integrated these changes into my lifestyle to better my sanity and my productivity in the hopes that they’ll be long-term changes. I’m sure there are many ways I could improve in other facets of my life (don’t ask about our front hall closet, it eats shoes) but for this year, I’ll focus on me.
Written By Meg Kerns