Manic: A lot of moms that I know and me, more so this year than years past, because my kids are busier than they have ever been despite my best efforts to slow things down this school year. Didn’t happen!
Managed: Taking the time to actually sit down with my manic family to discuss some healthy ways to manage our schedules, our stress and our health. This way I can hopefully minimize, as much as I can, that unpleasant and suffocating feeling called being overwhelmed! And consider this….
I recently had a good friend (whose kids are all grown up now) tell me not to let busyness rob me of my family time. That made me think!
Last week, when we had a family chat about this, I had to almost force the family to sit for a minute because even at night after dinner, we aren’t done. Homework, washing that needed uniform piece, scrubbing out the lunch box and other items fill up the night hours right up until bedtime these days.
This year I broke my big rule that used to be that each child only participate in one activity during the busy school year. At 16 and 12, each have been offered tremendous opportunities that would be quite disappointing to force them to decline. In addition to that, they both make good grades and are in honors classes and they are both well behaved kids who make good choices…well most of the time, that is! So hubs and I decided to let them both proceed with multiple activities.
Our 7th grade girl does student council, yearbook editor, broadcast club where she anchors her middle school’s daily morning show once a week, voice lessons, gymnastic lessons, weekly rehearsals for a big play that they do in May with our local children’s theater, she just got a part in the big Addams Family production at the community theater and she is starting Confirmation at our church and she babysits.
Our son, who is a Junior in high school, plays Varsity golf, Varsity hockey and is in three college level classes even though he is a high school junior.
Overwhelmed?! Yep, you got it! My husband and I both have busy careers and although mine is freelance so I can be home more, I’m still just as busy as when I worked a full time job!
So to put the word “managed” back into my manic managed mom title, here are some tips that I’m trying to really follow myself…
1. Follow your pets example and get your sleep. It is so tempting to stay up late to work on the different volunteer committees I serve on, my freelance work, RSVPs to events that we are invited to attend, extracurricular emails that must be written, bill paying, etc. When all are in bed and moms can be productive, it is tempting to stay up and get stuff done, but you rob yourself of much needed sleep. I get a lot more done, with a lot less mistakes, when I’m well rested. Give yourself a regular bedtime and try to stick to it. Follow the example your pets set and get your rest.
2. Stay organized with a good calendar system and record an event on the calendar the second it is booked. This avoids overlapping and gives you the chance to say no if your calendar glance shows an already packed day.
3. Exercise. Even if it is only for 30 minutes twice a week. You will feel so much better and your body will thank you. At this point, I’m only able to get about 3 weekly sessions in (which has been frustrating), but I work smart and one of those workouts is done while my daughter is in her gymnastics class since it is close to my gym at Method 19 Fitness. Since I started this, I sleep better, my skin is better and my body is getting more muscular, which is a good thing since I’m pushing 50.
4. Communicate with your family and let them know just how much all has taken on each week. We meet on Sunday evenings to look ahead at the week and to see how we can help each other and how to stay as healthy as we can. When we do this, I have noticed that we are all nicer to each other and more understanding since we discussed just how much pressure each family member will be under a particular week with things like auditions, exams, tryouts, hubs having to travel and more.
5. Grab gal pal time, too For the moms, make time to unwind with your gal pals. Combine volunteer work with recreation. If you are serving on a parent volunteer committee, set up meetings at a wine bar to add a little joy to your work. Find time to celebrate and encourage each other with a nice evening or afternoon out with your beloved girl friends.
6. Eat well to keep your body and healthy and fueled as you proceed through this busy season that is also filled with cold and flu germs.
7. Let the guilt go. When you have to say no, don’t beat yourself up about it. I’ve had several friends tell me this lately and their kids are grown up. They can look back and really remember what was important when it came to time with their children versus the many requests and demands that moms receive as the school year takes off. So as I make my decisions about where I choose to donate my time, I balance my answer with my quality time with my kids, my current schedule and also time with my hubs.
8. Be kind to yourself. Make time to read a book, schedule a manicure or a massage. Whatever you need to refuel your reserves, do it. Motherhood is full of mounting demands 24/7. From committee meetings to homework help to piled up laundry to recipe hunting for healthy and tasty meals to vet appointments for the beloved family pet to an oil change for the much used family car to your own dentist appointment and their braces tightening hour, the demands are high and exhausting so take the time to recharge your own soul with whatever you do that makes you smile and feel relaxed.
9. Be grateful. A grateful heart is good for your soul and that is good for the entire family.
What de-stress remedies do you follow when you are in manic mode to feel more managed and in control? Share here in the comments section and remember to take your vitamins and take care of yourself, too. Cheers to you busy Mamas out there!
Thank you for this. You just made stressful seem manageable. For some reason, hearing that others are busier, is somehow somewhat of a relief! I just hope we have energy after the kids are all grown up!
Thanks Kim….the main reason I work out now is to have that energy to keep up with my kids. I sure hope I can sustain this energy level to do some enjoyable activities, as you say, when the kids are grown up. With my oldest about to turn 17, this is coming quick for me!
I can totally relate. Our recent college graduate and his brother who is still in school drove home for the weekend from Cali and we had them running from one thing to another. All fun events but it wasn’t until Sunday when we had no agenda that we lounged in front of a huge late breakfast talking politics and movies. Then an impromptu volleyball game had us all dripping in sweat….so we all jumped in the pool, including three dogs. The boys got a late start back to the coast but im sure they would agree that those Sunday hours were what it was all about. And it wouldn’t have happens without unscheduled time.
My tip: make sure you schedule unscheduled time every week! Fabulous things will happen!
Love your comments, Marlene! Good for your family that you had that impromptu family time. And your tip about having unscheduled time scheduled is awesome! Thank you 🙂