Being a mom means being busy. As if moms aren’t busy enough, we also have other roles we play such as, wife, employee, student, etc. Some days the many responsibilities can become overwhelming, adding stress and anxiety to the mixture of busyness. Managing these responsibilities can be just as stressful as the number of responsibilities themselves.
My most important roles…
I am a wife and mommy first. (These really deserve their own categories.) My family is my biggest priority. Taking care of a home is a huge job. Our children are 5 and 3. Wesley starts kindergarten in August, and both boys are currently in preschool. Their little lives are booming with needs for school, activities, and places to be. Gathering what they need means errands and time to make sure everything is ready and perfect for them. It is extremely important to me that I don’t miss this time with them. Sure, I might not be able to be at every school function, but when I can, I make sure I am there, even if other responsibilities need to be rearranged in order to work it out. Also, my relationship with my husband is at the tip top of my list. Although it tends to get pushed aside with all of the busyness we have going on, it is important that we keep our relationship strong and make time for each other, even if it’s only a few minutes a day.
Second, I am an employee. I work Monday-Friday, about 28 hours per week. My job is a priority for me, because my family counts on me bringing in an income of some sort. Also, my husband owns a small business, Atlas Moving. He performs local and long distance moves. His company has grown immensely over the past several years. He has grown from having a job or two a month, to almost having a full schedule each week. I create and send all quotes for his business. I also field his e-mails for him. In most cases, these responsibilities are essential to the operation of his business.
Third, I am a student. I am enrolled in a Master’s program. I graduate in December with a Master’s in Human Resource Management. My role as a student is a priority. My success in the program is vital as it gives way to more opportunities for me and my family in the future. Keeping up with my school work takes time. Writing essays and papers, taking quizzes, completing discussions, researching, using APA format….it all takes time. Sometimes I feel like that time is time I don’t have. While I’m doing school work and hearing my children play in the background, I wish I was playing with them. Still, I push through. Because it matters.
We all have so many details that make up our life. So, how do we keep it from being too much? It would be easy to shed some of my responsibilities. I could quit school. I could stop making the time consuming Valentine’s for the boys to take to school. I could stop going Pinterest crazy for their birthday parties. But, I don’t want to. I would be giving up so much more. So, how do we manage it all?
Here are some ways I’ve learned to manage the 101 responsibilities in my life:
- Ask for help. I used to believe I had to do everything myself. If there were dirty dishes, laundry, errands to run, school work to do, etc., I thought I had to do it all. My husband is a blessing to me. He will get down and dirty with housework with the best of them. It’s not out of the ordinary for me to come home to completely clean house, with no dishes in the sink, and good smelling candles lit. He’s crazy busy too. He doesn’t always have time. If I need something done, and I feel overwhelmed, I ask my husband to help. When he can, he does. Also, I ask my children to help. They are young, but assigning them a small task, such as, cleaning their room, cleaning the playroom, picking up dirty clothes, or gathering cups to put into the sink makes them feel “big” and gives them a sense of responsibility for our home.
- Make time for yourself. Making time for yourself seems downright impossible, at least I know it does for me most days. Taking 30 minutes to do something that you want to do, not that you need to do, makes a difference. It might not happen every day, but finding ways to fit in that time for yourself is important. For months I have been complaining about never having time to workout. This week I decided I was done complaining. I set my alarm for 4:30AM (30 minutes earlier than usual), and I completed an at home work out. It’s only been 4 days, and by 8:30PM I’m pooped, but I feel good about myself. I feel good that I’m doing it, and that is the result I wanted.
- Plan your meals. Planning two or three meals during the week means one grocery store trip! There are weeks when I don’t plan any meals. When that happens, I find that we are either scrounging for something decent to eat or making multiple trips to the grocery store. Eliminate both of those problems by deciding what meals you want to eat ahead of time and buying everything you need for those meals in one trip!
- Enjoy your family. It’s easy to get caught up in everything we have to do. I’m guilty of it. I’m guilty of thinking, planning, or working on other things at home when I don’t absolutely have to be. When you’re home and have the time, enjoy your family. Talk to your husband/wife. Find out what’s going on with them. Tell them what’s going on with you. Cuddle on the sofa and watch a movie with your family. If you don’t have two hours to spare, sit down and read a book together. For just a few minutes forget about everything else that seems important and find ways to make time for your family and enjoy them. Look at your growing children and infuse their precious little faces in your brain. Tomorrow they won’t be so little.
- Learn to say no. Oh boy, this is a tough one for me. Some of the responsibilities I put on my plate are a result of not being able to say “no.” Even when I know I don’t have time or I have several other things going on, I will say “yes” to something that I didn’t have to say “yes” to. I don’t like to disappoint people. In all likelihood, I probably wouldn’t disappoint them if I said “no,” but I feel like I will. I don’t like that feeling, so I say yes. If you have a full schedule and someone asks you to do something that isn’t necessary… say “no.” Don’t overbook yourself and add anxiety to your day when you don’t have to. I’m working on this.
- Take a moment. My life is the busiest it has ever been at this point. Right when I think it’s slowing down, it gets busier. Summer will be no exception. There are days I get frustrated easily. Some days I take that frustration out on my husband or children, and they don’t deserve it. So, when I notice that I’m getting irritated or feel like I’m running around like a crazy person and no one is helping me, I take a moment. I take a moment to think, “is it really that bad?” 99% of the time the answer is no. Sure, it’s a lot, but I’m the one stressing myself out. I use this moment to prioritize what needs to be done and in what order. Then I do it. Just like everything else, it all gets done eventually.
“It always seems impossible until it is done.”- Nelson Mandela
Being a mom isn’t always crafts and cupcakes. As easy as it is to talk about how hard it can get, I have to add that I wouldn’t trade one minute of it for anything in this world. Talking about it is how we learn to be better. We learn about ourselves and learn from each other.
I would like to learn from you as well. If you have any other tips on how to manage busy mom life let me hear them!