I’ve been both a working mum and a stay at home mum and they each have their difficulties. I’m fortunate that I have a choice and I’m happy with the choices I’ve made. That’s not to say that I love every minute.
Right now I am a stay at home mum. One of my motivations to leave work was to stop the rushing and have time to enjoy life, rather than just survive. One of my biggest challenges now is that I have all the time in the world, but often not much control over how I spend it.
The rhythm of my day is driven (if not dictated) by my little one. He is my constant companion and, at times, a fairly demanding one. This is what it is and that is how it’s going to be. I accept that, but I also acknowledge that it can be draining.
What I’ve learnt as a parent is that, even control freaks like me have to let go a bit. Everyone tells you that, but it really is true. Even with your best efforts you can’t make every day a good day. From my experience trying to will just leave you exhausted and probably some combination of demoralised, frustrated and grumpy – if not just plain angry.
However you can set yourself up for better days – the best possible day come what may. I’ve found two things that really help me set myself up for better days. I feel that I can recommend these things as:
- I am not naturally inclined to do either of them, but have consciously adopted them with effort.
- I’ve gone through phases with and without them and with is definitely better.
- They don’t cost anything and you can do them however you want.
Both are simple, but not always easy! So what are they?
- Get up before your kids
Even if it is only five minutes earlier (although I find a bit longer than that better), get up before your kids. I am a big fan of sleep and I’ve never been an early riser. However, a bit of quiet time to myself in the mornings to do whatever I want is invaluable. It lets me wake up slowly and peacefully, without a little one under my feet. I may be at the mercy of my child’s nap times and meal times and other needs and wants, but when I start the day with control of the time that I wake and get up it is always a better day.
Some kind of intentional movement just to get the body moving, heart pumping and lungs working, it doesn’t have to be much. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – just find somewhere to fit something into your day. I always thought I didn’t like exercise, but actually, once I started exercising regularly, I found I really do – mostly for the way it makes me feel after I have done it. The trick is finding something that you enjoy and is not a chore. My favourite is workout videos on YouTube – there is such a variety it’s almost impossible not to find something you like. Plus no-one can see me!
I offer these tips in the spirit of helpfulness, as things that work for me. The last thing I want to do is add to your list of “shoulds”. If you are struggling with long days and lack of control over your time, hopefully this will provide some inspiration to help you find the things that work for you in setting yourself up for better days.
Do you sometimes struggle with long days with the kids? What helps you set yourself up for a good day?