Ever since summer ended, it seems that all the moms I know, myself definitely included, feel like we are living in a total whirlwind of non-stop action and activity, even though the kids are mostly back in school. There's just so much to do, all the time, from preparing meals and snacks, to keeping all the kid's activities and schedules and play-dates straight, and getting them there and back on time; the laundry that's pilling up faster than ever because of all these activities, holidays to plan for, dozens of important appointments to remember, and on and on. Not that these things don't happen in summer, it's just that summer always feels more relaxed, somehow. (Maybe it's just me?)
Anyway, recently someone close to me, who is also a very busy mom and always taking on tons of responsibility, suffered a stroke, and though she is luckily doing fine, this was a somewhat welcome reminder to me about the importance of slowing down. The bottom line is that a mother's work is never done. Never, ever, ever done. So trying to do it all is not healthy, and not always productive either. Personally, I notice myself getting frustrated easier, being grumpy or impatient or just unhappy when I try and try to get everything done, because in the end, I will fail.
I think there are many ways to slow down but here are a few sure-fire ideas that will MAKE you take a breather, feel happier, calmer and enjoy life a bit more, I hope, instantly:
1) Make a date with a friend, like another mom who is always way too busy and taking on way too much. If you can, make it regular. Like twice a month. Just do it, and stick to it. Even if you do nothing more than meet for coffee or get your nails done, and just hang out for 1 hour.
2) Pick something you love doing, which is fun and relaxing to you, that you never make time for anymore and resolve to make time for it now. Fit it into your schedule this week, and next week, and once a week forever. It can be as simple as watching your favorite TV show, or taking a class, going for a hike, or visiting a museum. The important thing is to make sure that you are taking time to appreciate and enjoy your life, too. Work and parenthood are important, and rewarding, and sometimes amazing, but these do not a happy woman make. Allow yourself to do the things that you love doing, now and then, just for you and without your kids, because it's an important part of slowing down, like smelling roses.
3) Try to cut out or streamline one thing that annoys you, that you do regularly. Maybe try doing all your laundry on 2 specific days of the week, for instance, instead of washing some of it 5 or 6 days a week. Or suggest that your family take their shoes off in the front hall, and put a bin there for them, so that your floors will only get dirty half as fast, or even less, and you won't have to clean as often. Or, even better, try saving a few extra bucks by cutting down on treats or soda, or things that you don't need and are not even good for you, and by saving that money enjoy treat yourself to a housecleaner once a month, or something like that.
4) Resolve to take life one day at a time. The past is gone, it's not returning. The future is entirely and completely unpredictable. Remember that today is all you really have, for sure, to enjoy, so live it well, and live it in a way that is both rewarding but also pleasing, to you. You'll be a happier person and a better mom for doing so, no matter how guilty or wrong it might feel to go enjoy a matinee by yourself once in a while, or take a yoga class when your sink is full of dishes, the dog needs a bath and the laundry hamper's full. Remember always that life is short, and precious, and that you deserve to enjoy it fully, while you can.
What are your favorite ways to slow down and take time to enjoy your life?
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