Photo by Kaylyn McLachlan of McLachlan Studios from her Day in the Life Shoot!
As many of you know, my husband is out of town and will have been for about 4.5 months by the time he returns. Ive' had a lot of questions about how I "do it all" with 3 kids aged 5 and under. I run this business on my own, I am on a board, and I only depend on family help maybe once every few weeks. I am by no means a supermom as I know there are tons of moms who single parent every single day. To those moms- hats off to you. You are truly supermoms!
The short answer to a lot of questions that I get is this: I don't do it all. I can't. There are things I have had to scale back on and compromise on. And I do have a wonderful nanny who has become part of our family.
But... I've come up with a list of things that helps me. I thought I'd share them with you too!
1. Cheat. I buy pre-sliced cheese and cook a lot of frozen dinners. By frozen, I mean the ones that come out of a box!
2. Don't say no to help! Take all the help you can get and give yourself permission to rest!
3. Make a physical reminder of something that motivates you to keep going. My kids motivate me. And most of all, when I feel frustrated, exhausted and desperate from all the mothering and parenting I do- what motivates me is that I want my kids to know that they are unconditionally loved and that they can feel vulnerable with me. My reminder is my FOREVER mama necklace. It serves as a reminder for me to be patient with my children because I am their forever mama, and they need me. I fiddle with my necklace when I feel overwhelmed and it helps me stay focused on what I value so dearly.
4. Give yourself a treat on a regular basis so you have something to look forward to. Starbucks Frappacino. Every other Friday. :)
5. Surround yourself with positivity and create boundaries so people that do not respect you, cannot hurt you. Cynical, right?! But it's true. Positivity energizes me. I am SO thankful for all my wonderful mama friends for this. Now, for the boundaries part... I won't go into it, but the short form of it is this: My children depend on me, and they require every ounce of my emotional and mental energy. I would rather spend my emotional energy on them, than on people that do not reciprocate or respect my emotions. Surround yourself with friends and family who can walk this crazy journey of motherhood with you. And protect yourself from those who do not respect you, or those that you feel like you have to prove yourself to.
6. The days are long, but the years are short. Lastly, I know that this period of complete neediness and dependancy that my children have for me is very short. Though it is intense, these short years of babyhood and childhood are so beautiful. When my 3 children cling to me as I cook dinner, I remind myself that one day, I'll be lucky to be able to give them a kiss in front of their friends! This short phase comes and goes in a very short amount of time. And though they are my babies forever, they will grow up and out of my arms eventually.
So there you have it. These are 6 little things that help me when I feel like I am at my wit's end. Every mama is different, and each of you may have a different list. I'd love to hear what your tips are!