10 ways to survive the daily chaos of motherhood

Being a wife and mother is a never-ending job. I’m up early and in bed late. I keep the world spinning, food magically appears from nowhere and I make sure the sun rises and sets daily. I keep the catastrophe at bay and the boogieman and I have cultivated a nice friendship over the years. (metaphorically speaking)

I am at the center of everything in my home and everyone is a priority, except me. As much as I love my kids and my husband, I found that I really lost myself taking care of everyone else. The doctors call this post-partum depression. I think that is the wrong term because what i’m talking about happens to every woman at some point and usually it’s due to being overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities without any depression at all.

Putting everyone and everything before ourselves is our way of coping with the stress and strain of Motherhood. It’s a natural sacrifice that we make that we really shouldn’t. The less we take care of ourselves, the less effective we are at taking care of our children and household. I am guilty of this on so many levels. I have even caught my self neglecting myself for weeks at a time. I am guilty of this. I have dealt with depression and it has drastically gotten better over time. The times that I neglect myself the most are not caused by depression but by a super busy schedule, a sick child and mountains of laundry worse than the Himalayas. I was not sad or emotional when I was neglecting myself. I was trying to get the chaos in order.

Once I caught myself doing this, I got on a mission to improve my world so that this would not happen again. I started getting together a system that helped me to deal with my family, my responsibilities and tasks, as well as myself.

1.) Get a planner 
I know that you have heard this a million times but this is so true. You will have so much on your mind things will get lost in the shuffle. Write them down. Either in an app on your phone, or a paper and pen. I keep a notebook and a planner. I have to write. It gives me the greatest calm and peace to write down not only my tasks for the day but also how I’m feeling. Seeing it on paper can help me to sort out what is just my mind running wild and what is actually happening. Believe me, I have been through the altered reality too many times. Writing things down will clear your mind and get you grounded fast. I have a Happy Planner by Create 365. I decorate and plan in my planner weekly which is a creative outlet for me as well as functional.

Classic Happy Planner: Everyday Essentials

http://www.michaels.com/create-365-the-medium-happy-planner-delicate-garden/10531393.html

2.) Get a plan together 
Once you have your planner in hand, use it. Concentrate on writing down your tasks and to do’s. Prioritize from the most important to the things that can be done later. You will realize, once you make your list, that things are not as overwhelming as they seem. You will gain so much clarity.  I usually do a top 5. After that I do an optional 3. Any more than that and I won’t have room for things that come up all of a sudden. Flexibility is key. Leave room in your schedule for unforeseen events. Give yourself extra time to complete tasks.

3.) Execute
Put your big girl panties on and get to it. You have to focus on what you have in front of you. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true. You have to tackle what you see first. Then move on to the next. Hit your top priority items on your task list. Challenge yourself to get done at least the first 5 without stopping or getting distracted. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you can get done.

4.) Stop multitasking
You shouldn’t multi-task just like you should’t text and drive. It will end badly. If you are cleaning, then clean. If you’re doing laundry then do laundry. You will get tasked completed so much faster if you focus on one thing at a time. You will also have more attention to detail. This means you won’t forget or leave much out.

5.) Schedule everything
Now, let’s get carried away with this one. Some people take this statement literally. When I say schedule everything, I mean make sure to use your time wisely. If you have a block of time in between tasks, this is the perfect time to schedule some down time for yourself. I even schedule showers and baths. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have asked myself if I had taken a shower that day. It may sound ridiculous to some but, it’s absolutely true. Schedule your personal care time too. I even write down my morning and night routines for my skincare. This comes in handy when you get mommy brain and can’t remember anything.

Now, by this time you should at least have a pretty good handle on things. Planning and scheduling should have at least cleared the smoke and let you see things much clearer now. Now that you have a little clarity as far as tasks go the next three will make your life even easier.

6.) Prep ahead of time
My kids clothes and my clothes are laid out ahead of time. Their clothes are organized so that I can grab what I need when I need it. My clothes are organized in the same way. I train my kids to use the same system that I have put in place and explain to them why. They get it. They are also young so their brains are just soaking it all up. This habit took me a while to cultivate and master but my “future self” thanks me all the time. Trust me it’s worth the extra effort.

7.) Get everyone involved
Don’t leave your kids out of the clean up. Get them to help clean up their messes and do laundry whenever possible. Remember, you are raising adults and you want them to be confident and independent. Giving them responsibility and chores little by little instills character. This also gives you a chance to see what they can do and what they can’t. It’s a great learning experience for you and them. You can even make it fun by turning it into a game. Engaging their critical thinking and motor skills which is great for their development. It also lightens the load on you.

8.) Develop a routine
Having a routine is critical. This can make the day go a little smoother but most of all, orderly. An established routine creates order and expectancy. Kids like this because it gives them a sense of security. They know what happens next and what is expected. There is no room left for question. This will also make life easier for you because after the routine is learned, the only thing you have to do is oversee.

9.) Be Consistent
As a mother, tiredness and lack of sleep were my greatest complaint. Establishing the routines talked about earlier has given me a chance to train not only my kids but myself.  I compare it to the metaphor that says “The fish rots from the head.” this is very true. You are the lead person in your household. The group of people you are responsible for respond to you and your leadership. They feed off of your energy. Make sure it is always positive. Being consistent is a positive reinforcement. Even though we don’t feel like it we should for the greater good of our home and family. A little struggle pays off in the end.

10.) Take time to relax and reset
Like I mentioned earlier. I even schedule this time in my planner. I will at least have a day or a few hours to myself to unwind, relax, and reset. You absolutely need to have this time. Whether it be a few minutes or a few hours. Take time to take care of yourself so that you can take care of the ones you love.

Productivity

 As humans we are naturally wired to tackle the easy stuff first and then the hard stuff. This behavior usually leaves us looking as if we are not productive. We leave unfinished business at the end of the day and say “Well I’ll finish it tomorrow.” which puts us behind on tomorrow’s tasks because we are still working on “yesterday” which should have been finished so we could focus on “today”.

This is why organization and decluttering are so important to me. I don’t like being surrounded by stuff. I would rather be surrounded by “things”. I know by now you are saying that this girl has lost her mind but I promise there is a difference.

Stuffnoun– miscellaneous, Unspecified objects. These are the things that surround us for no reason and often times have no use. We justify keeping “stuff” with reasons such as sentimental value. Which really means ” I don’t want to or I can’t seem to part with this object even though I know that it is useless

Thingsnoun-any movable possession. The example given in the dictionary is articles of clothes but I’m going a little deeper. Let’s use Knowledge as and example.

Knowledgenoun– the psychological result of perception and learning and reasoning.

To me, knowledge is a true possession. No one can take away what you know. You earn knowledge. Either through school or experience. Knowledge is priceless, required, acquired, ever changing and dangerous all at the same time. Knowledge is power and too much of it can lead to madness.

I’m far from madness but, I have just begun to realize my power. Knowing what I know now I can achieve so much more. I can do so much more. I can react and handle things a whole lot better. And every day my knowledge grows. I cultivate it like a rare flower. Watering it daily by making myself learn something new and reading. Yes, reading. You would be astounded by how much information is easily accessible on a multitude of subjects. Anything you want to know about anything is at your fingertips thanks to technology.

With that being said, my organization and planning is all digital. Between my phone my tablet and my computer. I have backups of everything and I’m constantly updating.

Until I started planning and making lists I could not believe the amount of tasks I could get done in a day. It is amazing. I keep myself focused and I am always busy. I keep myself busy and focused on something daily because I am a firm believer in an old saying. “An Idle mind is the devil’s workshop”
I find this to be so true. When you are not focused on something. Demons have a way of creeping into your head and torching your ideas, dreams, goals and visions. And not the type of demons that come from hell and you need a priest to get rid of. I’m talking about the demons that are sometimes overlooked because they seem harmless and are not identified as they truly are. “demons”

  1. Laziness– not wanting to do anything
  2. Procrastination– Oh I’ll do it later, the lie we tell ourselves and things never get done
  3. Writer’s block– The non use of a creative mind (no inspiration)
  4. Sleepiness– not from lack there of but oh I just need a nap that ends up stealing 5 hours of your day,
  5. Excuses– the justification of one or all of the above
All of these things lead to unproductivity. The only way to combat these is planning and sticking to your plan. You even have to plan your leisure time or it too can turn into a demon of unproductivity.
Planning is how I fight this. I suffered with the demon of depression for so many years. But that is a subject for another time. My point is, my depression was accompanied by the demons above and more and because of my long period of doing nothing, focusing on nothing and eating my way around the world. Because of the knowledge I have acquired through the last ten years I know now what was holding me back. 
I have taken back my life by taking back my productivity. I am focused and ready and it all started with a plan and a planner. I’ve stuck with it and it’s really helped to put a lot of things into perspective. There are a few questions I want you to ask yourself as I close.
  1. What am I doing?
  2. Is this productive?
  3. What will I accomplish?
Take the time to ask yourself these questions. Develop a plan and get started towards your goals. You only live once. Make the most of the time you have and do something great.