Mum putting herself first

Should Mums put themselves first a Lot, a Little, or somewhere in between?

 

Chance for a cuppaHow important is it for us Mums to maintain a self of our identity after having kids do you think?

How much should we be doing purely for ourselves every day or every week?

Lots, a Little, or somewhere in between?

I had a ‘discussion’ with a mate about it (thank goodness she is a good mate and doesn’t mind it when things get a bit heated).  We very much disagreed on the answer.

She was all for Mums really keeping a sense of them self as a separate identity and doing things for themselves.  She really disliked the idea that I encourage Mums to look after themselves because it’s good for the children and the family.  My argument that once they got used to it, they would then do it for themselves wasn’t good enough she reckoned, because they weren’t doing it explicitly.

I said that that in reality it depends on the age of the kids, because as our hormones settle and the kids get older, we naturally start to separate more and ‘remember’ who we were.

I reckon that you can tell the Mums at the school gate who no longer have babies/toddlers/pre-schoolers, because they noticeably look after themselves more.

Plus, I worry that a Mum desperate to keep hold of ‘who she was’ can develop problems with connecting with her children, because it’s frankly not possible.

 

We aren’t the same after children.  

We aren’t totally different either.

 

You know how I love to encourage Mums to ‘sparkle‘!  But I’m realistic.  I just think it’s important that they don’t forget to keep ‘sparkling’ and do a little bit, but the amount of sparkling kind of depends on the age of our kids, our finances and our circumstances i.e. how much support we have to give us time to look after ourselves.

There’s a huge time factor to it; little ones take more time, big ones take as much input, but less time I reckon?
Mum putting herself firstI have created a totally unscientific chart to highlight the difference (notice the quality of drawing – I haven’t skimped a thing on it, apart from money and skill!).

 

So when we’ve just had a baby its a massive achievement to have a shower every day in the first few months.

Then it’s about going out for a walk and maybe meeting up with other Mums.

Some Mums will be back at work pretty quick, which can be a good bit of ‘time out’ and a chance to start to make ourselves look more presentable, but it’s a lot to fit in ‘me time’ too.

I’m not keen on worrying about weight loss for at least 9 months, or more likely 1-2yrs, but eventually we tend to have a look at what our bodies are doing.

Mind you, I’m finding having two kids much harder, so that is a factor too.

Reality is that ‘we can’t have it all’, in my opinion.

 

How much are you doing EACH WEEK to look after yourself?  Nothing?  30 mins? 1hr?  15 minutes a day?

Are you naturally a ‘yummy mummy‘ so you have it in your mindset to take care of yourself?

Are you making the most of the support you have for baby sitting or getting the chores done?

What do you reckon is the VERY LEAST that you could be doing for yourself every week?

MumsandMe

 

There’s a fab new linky on the Mums and Me site, which I bet you’ll love to read or blog about each week with ideas for having a bit of ‘Me time’.  Go and check it out, apart from the fact that they have great taste (they quote me!), I think it’s a lovely simple idea.

Can Mums have everything they want

Can Mums Have It All

Can Mums have everything they wantI haven’t blogged about this, despite Cherie-gate etc etc etc.  But this morning I’m grumpy, so I thought I’d let lose and have some fun with it.

Can Mums Have It All?

This is the big question loads of people spend hours, days and months talking about.  Why on earth are they talking about something so ridiculous and wasting so much time on it I don’t know, but I’m now going to add my twopennyworth.

NO Mums can’t have it all.

Because NO ONE can ‘HAVE IT ALL’

There is a price/cost for everything we deem ‘good’.

There is always a trade-off.

 

Anyone who encourages Mums to work full time without explaining the downsides so that they can prepare for them is irresponsible.

The same goes for anyone who doesn’t explain to stay at home or work from home Mums that it’s not going to be the perfect picture of heaven that you imagined.

 

None of the options are ‘better’ than the others.

If you work full-time, you won’t see your kids as much as you would if you were staying at home and the guilt is tough, along with juggling holidays and sickness and it can affect some parts of your relationship with them (e.g. sharing them with the nanny can be hard).

If you are a stay at home mum, you won’t have the same amount of money as you would have done working full time (unless child-care costs more than you would earn!), and it can be harder on your self-esteem and sense of independence.

If you decide to work from home on your own business, you will likely  pay for the freedom to do school pick ups by never getting a lunch break or go to the gym and look back on reliable wage packets with wistfulness.

You can’t work full-time, do all the housework and chores, and not end up knackered if you don’t get some help.

If you ask the grand-parents to help, they will likely expect a say in your life and become too involved; but it’s cheaper than paying for it.

Even being married to a footballer won’t give you it all; they will either have big ears, a funny voice, or be sh*gging everyone else.

Try being married to a high powered banker instead; bet they have a downside too, probably that they are over-controlling and you can’t tell friends what your husband does.

Be high powered yourself, but you’ll need to be really good at interviewing and managing cleaners and nannies; not as easy as it sounds.

Eat everything you want, and you’ll become huge and be really unhealthy.

Drink alcohol constantly and wreck your liver and likely get a very red nose.

You won’t earn as much money stacking shelves as being an accountant or doctor.

But, ironically, the better paid you are, the longer hours you will probably work.

Not even the kids can actually be perfect (even if you love them unconditionally); No one has perfectly behaved, beautiful, clever, athletic, artistic, musical kids who excel at everything.

We leave our home towns for the best jobs, but then have no family support.

So we turn to twitter for an online community and get addicted!

The big question is;

Which prices are you willing and happy to pay?

The good news is:

You CAN Have what is most important to you.

So decide what your top 3 priorities are so that:

1) You can make sure that you can at least get them

2) You can be contented with what you have.

 

I love the freedom of being able to work from home and need to work for my sanity.  But I’m constantly having to improve my time mgmt to deal with the demands from so many different directions, and I could have earn’t loads more if I’d stayed as a computer programmer, rather than going all tree hugging.  We’ve got a great house we can afford, but the price for the affordability is a postage stamp garden.  I have the lovely Nanny Bets helping me out with childcare, but she is 74, so she is often unreliable, so I’m now going to split it between her and a more expensive nursery.  Then I’ll have reliable childcare, but also the worry about paying for it.  I don’t have parents sticking their nose in my life and causing havoc, but I also don’t have someone to call on the best/worst days.  There are lots of compromises in my life, as in everyones.

And ignore all that rubbish about ‘Mums having it all’.  They don’t.

They either have worked out what is most important to them and focussed on that, whilst ignoring the rest.  Or they are struggling to ‘have it all’ and hiding all the emotional/mental fall out behind a mask of valium/wine.

oooh grump over; that feels better!

What is most important to you, what did you give up for it?  Are you happy with the balance right now, or is it not working for you?

p.s. reading these posts from the Bearded Iris (very funny) and Claire Macnaughton, both on In the powder room were some of the inspiration to get writing about this at last!

 

What Happens In A Week Off Reading, Facebook and Twitter?


With great trepidation I decided to take a week off ‘reading’.  The idea being that it can be a way of avoiding life sometimes.

Being a busy mum I don’t get much chance to read, so I thought about what I do read.  Mainly it was Facebook groups, my friend’s Facebook updates, twitter, and a couple of online newspaper pages.

So I decided to unplug for a week.  I’d reply to people, mainly because otherwise I’d come back to a confusing mess.  But apart from that I wasn’t going to spend time surfing online.

What would happen?  I worried I might miss something important in the news.  More importantly, what if I missed something in a friend’s life?  Oh no, how would the world survive without me?!!

Well, it appears it survived just fine; surprisingly!

Meanwhile I learnt some stuff:

It’s OK to let other people interact with you on Facebook and twitter, rather than make sure you are creating the interaction all the time.

It’s OK to take some time off when you’re busy and come back later.

By not surfing anything on my computer I was more up to date on my to do’s by the end of the week.

In fact I got a burst of energy and managed to give away a boot full of children’s clothes, find a nursery for Little Dimples, find a cleaner (yeeehaw!!!!), sort out my diary, buy and sell cars, make an exercise schedule for me and the big hairy northern one, and loads more things.

I get a lot of value from my online life, and I’m a big believer in making sure that I ‘give’ a lot too, but some aspects of it are less useful.

    • The newspapers are very depressing.
    • Some of the Facebook groups are not as useful as others.
    • Using discernment about which updates to ‘like’ or comment on, massively reduces the amount of reading I do.

 

Have you ever tried to unplug for a week?

If you are busy I would really recommend it as a way of going cold-turkey, reassessing your online usage, getting more done, taking some time out and rethinking your priorities.

Go on, fancy trying it?  Let me know what you think!

 

Top Tips For Reducing The Stress And Overwhelm

Survive a Mummy Breakdown

Here are my promised 6 Top Tips for beginning to turn your life around and reduce the stress and overwhelm in your life.

When Nick coffer (My Daddy Cooks) asked me to summarise my book of over 100 pages into 6 simple tips on his radio show it made my brain ache.  But this is what I came up with, because without these steps the others in my book wouldn’t have worked.

In last weeks post on surviving my mental health problems I explained how come I know so much about this and why I know that the MOST important thing is to take care of your basic physical and emotional health.

Other things have helped, but this is the first step.

Life is difficult, but before you try to change everyone else and your circumstances, you can make a massive difference by just looking after yourself.

There’s no ‘one’ immediate click of the fingers answer, but this will help to get you back ‘on the right track’ and reduce the stress and discomfort.  From there you can decide how far you want to change things.

So the steps are:

1) Pick your top 3 life priorities and focus on them, reminding yourself every morning what they are.

2) Use them to sort out your To Do list and save you time.

3) Connect them to looking after you health, nutrition and fitness so that you have more energy.

4) With that energy you can then declutter your house and make it flow or work better for you and the family.

5) And know what the priority for potentially limited funds are.

6) Thereby getting some sparkle and self-love back into your life.

I also know that it’s not always easy to do something, without someone helping you.  So I came up with an idea to help you COMMIT to a change of focus and SHARE IDEAS.

Are you up for it?!  Then come here and commit to getting involved.  It won’t be a big thing you have to do, but it will start to make a big difference.

 

Remember, don’t ever feel guilty about being stressed, overwhelmed or having some kind of mental health problem.
Don’t let your past affect your future.
There are tonnes of people out there who have also struggled, just check out these amazing lists of blogs from similar mums:
Once this idea is off the ground, I’ll do some more blogs on the next steps.  But first things first.
Got a question about it?  Ask me anywhere, Facebook or  twitter
Important To Do

How To Reduce Your To Do’s: Dump, Delegate, Do, Delay

Important To Do

There are thousands of time management courses I bet.  Probably a few hundred written for Mums.

This is as simple as it gets for you, with a couple of extra twists I’ve added in to spice it up and make it more effective.

It can be so difficult to work out what needs doing when there are potentially months worth of things that you ‘could’ be doing.  Just making the time to sit down and work out what the To Do list is takes time ironically!

You Don’t Have To Do Everything

and

Five Minutes Is Important

 

Just remember it’s not a race, you don’t ‘HAVE’ to do everything and 5 minutes can be a valuable slot of time.  So it is perfectly polite to say to someone that you can’t do something or that you don’t have ‘five minutes’ (which means at least 15mins) to help them out.

If you want to be sure that you finish the week without panic about what still needs doing and at least enough things for you to feel some satisfaction and contentment with how the week went, then you will need to make a list.  I doubt that there are more than a couple of tired Mums out there with the ability to hold it all in their heads.  The rest of us will otherwise fiddle around, fire fight, suddenly realise we did things in the wrong order and have last minute panics to get things done, which inevitably means shouting at the kids.

In my book I go into this in much more detail.  It’s the step that makes one of the biggest differences in my life, but also seems to be the one that I have to continue to keep my eye on and adjust as the kids grow and life changes.  So I thought I’d do a quick summary for you:

1) First you need to work out your 3 Life Priorities.

2) From here you can work out your Top To Do’s that are non-negotiable

3) The stuff that is lowest down the priority pile gets dumped

4) Then work out what can be delegated

5) Then work out what else you are going to attempt to do

6) And what you are going to delay

 

My Top 3 To Do’s are pretty simple and apart from (2) don’t take any time, but I remind myself each morning.  Sometimes I still forget, as I did when I wrote this post and realised that I hadn’t adjusted to the changes in my family’s life caused by the big hairy ones redundancy:

1) Cuddle the kids, do the evening book read every other night, make something creative each week (then I’m a happy mummy)

2) Write, write, write, but write in a way that will help my books become the must have ‘pick me up’ books for mums and that I enjoy

3) Drink water, eat healthily, walk the dog, play with the kids, watch my thoughts, count my blessings each night

 

The best bit is you can treat yourself to a cup of tea and at least one biscuit while you are doing it!

If you would like some help with working out your Life Priorities and your top priority to do’s then either pop over to my Facebook page and ask a question, or come and join in the fun on Pinterest in my board all about Life Priorities.

Feel free to commit to your top 3 to do’s and pop them in a comment below; I’d love to know, I’m sure everyone is very different.

To do list

Dump, Delegate, Do, Delay – my motto for today

Yesterday I pulled something in my back, it hurts and the last couple of days I’ve fancied a jolly good cry, which means it’s time to listen to a bit of my own advice.   So I’m sharing this, not so that you worry about me, but just so that you know that I too am not always so tough or sorted.

The problem at the moment is feeling a bit overwhelmed with how much needs doing and how many decisions there are to be made.  They could be looked on as ‘opportunities‘ as I did the other day, but today they look like big decisions, that still have a big pile of unknowns and a slow slog uphill to sort them out.  It’s THAT stage.  You know the one where everything is a bit funky and nothing is clear.  I know it will end.  But in the meantime I need to do something so that I don’t get too stressed by it all.

I need to lighten the load a bit, and that’s where ‘Dump, Delegate, Do‘ and my additional ‘Delay‘ come in.  It requires a cup of tea and open mind to do it, because often it feels like there is no leeway for reducing the load (biscuits definitely help with the process!).

When I look at my work To do list and inbox, there are things that are not of big importance for my three overall priorities, so they will sadly need to be dumped or delayed.

Today I have to do my accounts, there’s no getting around that one.  Maybe I need to delay or slow down the ‘Mums Stand Together‘ campaign, whilst I’m writing my ‘weightloss without diets and boring exercise for busy mums‘ and sorting the paperback version of my ‘How to enjoy being a Mum more and get back your sparkle‘ book.

I’ve delayed a lot of cleaning already from weekly to monthly, but things are building up because it’s not clear on when they will get done.  Plus, the big northern one and I are both ‘boss’ types, i.e. we both work well as team leaders, less so as team members.  So we often assume that because someone covered a house chore yesterday, that they will do it again today, and then there is a panic at the end of the day when it’s not been done.  My powers of delegation need some more work here I suspect!

There’s also the general family or kids oriented jobs which are a bit all over the place at times as there are things as mums that we often assume are obvious, but they aren’t.  It’s weirdly helpful having the Big hairy northern one not working, but also not helpful.  So I’ve made a list on a white board, so it’s clear what needs to be done, and hopefully that will help things move along more smoothly.

Writing this I can see that the mistake I’ve made is increasing how many hours I work, because of hubby being around, but not taking into account the additional housework with no cleaner (I don’t get the evenings to catch up because of Little Dimples).  So I’m not getting as much fun ‘play’ time with the kids and I’m getting that ‘not doing any job well’ feeling.  I wonder if it’s the same for everyone, but time management is the step in the 6 steps of my book that I repeatedly have to come back to.  The contentment, health, space, money mgmt and sparkle ones get affected by time massively, but they don’t seem to go off course half as much on their own.  With time, the goal posts seem to be always changing.  Makes sense really, because as the kids grow, so their needs change and everything shifts again.

What I did ‘Do’ yesterday was go for a massage to give my back a break, see a friend and drink some wine.  There will be no running for me for a while, so maybe some walks with the dog and kids will bring back that sense of playtime for me.  Right off I go to get a horrid to do off my back …. my accounts ….. I can already feel the yawn coming on!

An Alternative to New Years Resolutions: Your Top 3 Life Priorities


I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions, I think it’s a time for a detox, clear out and rest.

Goals can just add to the weight of things we don’t achieve as Mums.

What I use are ‘Life Priorities’

 

Life Priorities help you to organise your time, energy and money spends for the year ahead and only focus on what is important to you.

 

Imagine a year where you can finish it feeling satisfied that you covered all the most important bases (not everything, just the important stuff); it’s a good feeling!


To do it ..

  1. Get an hour to yourself (if possible, otherwise do it on the fly)
  2. Get a piece of paper and put on some music that relaxes or inspires you
  3. Think about everything that happened recently or in the last year that you can feel really grateful for  (this means the ideas come from the heart, not the logic of the mind or emotion of the gut).
  4. Now think about looking back at the end of your life
  5. What do you most want to be sure you have achieved?  What would you be gutted not to have?
  6. Pick 3.

I know three isn’t many, and that you will actually have lots of other priorities, and you are welcome to write down the others as well.  But what I do want you to just pick 3.  You’ll want to refine and polish them as time goes by, so don’t worry about making them perfect.

YOU CAN”T GET THIS WRONG!

Just Change It Later On If You Realise that other things are more important.

Mine are:

  1. That my kids feel loved from top to bottom by me and love me in return
  2. My books become ‘THE pick me up books for all Mums’
  3. That I stay strong in myself physically and emotionally

There are reasons behind all of these, and reasons why they take the top rankings, and they are in no way a judgement on the fact that I know already that yours will be different.

For example, for some parents the top priority is to provide every academic opportunity towards a secure future career for their children, or to ensure they make a great marriage, or to make sure they have amazing experiences, or to nurture them.  Some Mums might not have a potential career option, or not at the moment, or not feel it’s in the top 3.  Some might not have their health anywhere near the top 3 (I would really recommend that you consider how much it will help your kids if it is at least in your top 5 though).  Others might have providing financially, or spiritually as the top priority.  Maybe yours is maintaining your relationship (note to the hairy one: the reason our relationship is No4 is because me being strong has always been an important aspect to the success of our relationship).

Why bother?  Because we all get tired, overwhelmed, stressed, overloaded, exhausted, knackered, unfocussed and end up fire fighting and headless chicken running around at some point.

If every morning you remind yourself what your top 3 priorities are, you will be able to make sure that AT LEAST those are done, and then the rest.  Plus loads of things you’ll just not bother to do, saving you time, energy and money.

Plus you can manage your weekly To Do’s and make sure that you at least make time for these three.

What it means is that:

  • I make time to hug my kids, because otherwise I get unhappy.
  • I exercise 3 times a week, and eat pretty healthily.
  • When work opportunities come up and I’m busy, I pick the ones that help me to spread my books

In my book, I talk more about how to pick your top priorities and find out more about you as a person and what you love to do, or have or who you love to spend time with, so if you’d like to find out more, remember you can read a kindle book without a kindle.

Fancy finding your Top 3 Life Priorities?  Pop your top 3 priorities below when you’ve done it or come over to my Pinterest board and add them there..  If you blog about it you are very welcome to add a link in a comment to any blog posts you write about it, so that other Mums can get ideas for how it helps or what affect it has on you.

Here’s a summary for you as a picture, I can’t wait to hear what you pick!

Tips for Making a Monthly Plan to avoid overdoing it

So in my last 2 posts, we talked about embracing the exhaustion so that you can find out what caused it and then making a plan to deal with it.

Once your back on top, keep your eyes on the rest of my exhaustion tips, because there are still some fabulous ones to come to help you maintain your energy or get more.

But in the meantime, lets start making a plan of action for keeping your energy levels up and make a monthly plan.  I know, your busy! This doesn’t have to look smart, or require anything posh.  But think about how much energy and time you lose because you didn’t look ahead.  Think about the rubbish weekends you have because you didn’t have the energy to deal with the kids.  Remember how awful it is to spend your time shouting at the kids, because you didn’t have the energy to talk to them or plan to make sure that the day goes well; this is ironically why we get more and more exhausted, because it takes quite a lot of extra energy being exhausted in the end.  So I’m going to give you a quick (1hr) little exercise, to help you to make sure that from now on you look after yourself better….

Four Things To Think About

Sit down with another cuppa (and this time you can treat yourself to a biscuit or a cake) and thinking about four important things and WRITE it down (writing is magic!).

1) What boosts your energy and helps you to maintain it: this is stuff that you love doing. This stuff is really important, because it revitalises you, and gives you a boost.

2) Over a month, what is the barest minimum you can do to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and functioning at your best (you are allowed to add more of course!).  For example, a chat with a friend, eating well, getting some exercise, having a bath, getting 15 minutes alone.  (If you haven’t signed up for my email newsletter think about it, because you get a free Life Health Questionnaire at the moment, which might give you some tips).

3) Do you have other areas of life that need a priority list, because it gets you down, or makes you unhappy or dissatisfied if you don’t do it e.g. work? rest? play? relaxation? socialisation? sorting finances? reading? seeing grandparents? playdates for the kids?

4) What do you not like looking back on at the end of the month and find you didn’t do? E.g. I would feel dissatisfied with a month that had no time where I was alone with each child for a bit, and where I didn’t do anything creative with them.

Now Write Four summary lists

  1. 7 Things you need to do each week to look after yourself
  2. 7 Things the family needs each month for it to be a contented place
  3. 7 other things that need to be prioritised (my are my work priorities)
  4. What else is needed per month to be fitted in

Do a quick sanity check: is there physically enough time in a month/week to do all this without becoming a screaming fishwife and having miserable kids?  If not, dump stuff and look for simpler more basic things to put in the lists that you forgot e.g. cuddle time.

Now Get Perspective On The Month Ahead

Then get some way of looking at the month as a whole.  It can be a diary, filofax, chalk board, piece of paper with lines drawn on it.  It doesn’t matter!  (Mine is a print out from my computer’s calendar, because it looks good and I can do it A5 and put it in my filofax which had a weekly, rather than monthly diary).

Put in what you have already got planned (the big events).  Now look at the basic stuff that you need to fit in to keep yourself, your work and your family afloat.  Does it fit?  What can you get rid of?  If there is no space for anything else, DON’T ADD IT!  You are not doing yourself or your family any favours by running around like a blue arsed fly and trying to be super mum, who never says ‘No’!

Now once a month have a look at what is planned ahead and put in some ‘relax space’ if it’s getting too jam packed.  Some families like a day in their PJ’s, others a day of watching films, others a day of doing something simple like a picnic at the park.  Make sure there is space for this downtime.

I also have a list for each week where I tick off the things that I’ve put as my minimal list to do to take care of myself, because I have a bad habit of working too hard, or looking after others first.  So to make myself accountable I have to look at the list each week and make sure I followed it.

Here’s an example looking at my life:

1) What boosts my energy: Dancing, taking care of myself physically, playing and having fun, writing

2) To keep my energy going: I like to do zumba/exercise (45mins) 1xpw, walk dogs/get along time (1hr) 1xpw, Dance with the kids/have silly fun (10mins) several times pw, meditate/do personal development (2hr) 1xpw, eat well (hardly any chocolate), chat with friends on phone (15mins in car) 2xpw face to face twice a month, work 3 days pw, and at the moment I’m getting some coaching for myself (2hrs) 2 x per month.

3) For my work: I have set a 7 priorities so that I’m not attempting to rush around like a mad thing.  Currently I’m focussed on the basics of my blog, reaching more mums, helping more of them, covering my costs and building the foundation for a big launch that is coming later in the year.

4) At the end of the month: It doesn’t work for me if I don’t get time with the big northern hubby once a week, and with the kids sometime during the month, plus they need Daddy time and a bit of family time.  It doesn’t have to be long (can’t fit that in!), but just a time to connect and ‘be’ with them.  Plus it’s easy to forget to fit in the basics of sorting out the general family health, and financials.

So, each week I tick off my things from No2 and see how many I managed and how I feel.  When the plan doesn’t work I re-adjust – maybe I find out that I need more time alone, or less time alone.

Why bother?

Why bother with all this you might ask?  Well, I’m assuming that because you are reading this blog post, you find that sometimes/often you are low on energy.  You can achieve this in 5 minutes per week, with 30 minutes to plan ahead once per month.  So in the time it takes to drink a couple of cuppa’s you could make sure that you feel better, and have a fab month.  Kind of worth making time for?

Exhaustion Tips: Make a Plan

One of the worst things about being exhausted is that the overwhelm means that you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.  But there is something that can really help feel like you have it more under control, and that is to make a plan of action.  Yes, some of it might be out of your ability to change, and some might take a while, but there will be some quick energy gain options and you can make a longer term plan as well.

A plan might not always work, things do change after all.  I thought I had my life pretty much sorted; I have a lovely little irish granny who I found in my local Tescos, who helps me with the kids; I’d made a list of things to keep my energy going each week, and all was sunny.  But then a pile of things hit in a short time: molars in Little Dimples, Curly Headed Boy turning into a bit of a nightmare (more about that in another post), loss of childcare, husband away for 2 weeks, and no family nearby to pick up a few pieces.  So I’m re-adjusting, hence I realised how I normally deal with this sort of problem, and thought I would share …

Identify the Problem and Emotions under it all

First of all you have to work out what the problem is.  To do this read embrace the emotions that are rising up and get clear on what the problems are.  Some will come from circumstances, and some will come from deeply brewing beliefs about you and the world.

Work out what can you dump

Some of those things can be dumped forever or for a while.  Plus when you see the emotional upsets written down, there will be a few that you can easily dump on your own or with the help of a cuppa and a mate.

For example, I realised that my expectations of what I can achieve in the 5 weeks before the end of the school year, especially with my childcare gone for 10 days, was just impossible.  So my work To Do’s were stripped and tonnes were dumped or delayed for September.

What can you delegate

Sometimes we take responsibility for doing stuff and worrying about stuff that isn’t ours.  What can you give to someone else to do, research or deal with?  Even if it doesn’t get done 100% right, does it really matter?

For example; I was taking responsibility too much for the lives and choices of my family.  Curly Headed Boy is old enough to be a bit more self-sufficient when it comes to consequences, and the Big Northern Hairy can help out more with sorting out the current problems we’ve got with our son.

What problems need dealing with

List what is left, now lets look at what will give you the biggest energy return.

You will find that the tasks probably have a couple that will take 80% of your time, but only give you 20% of the energy.  Put those ones aside for a minute.  You do need to make the time to get them off your back, but lets go for the biggest win first.

I also recommend starting with physical fixes first, to give you the energy to tackle the rest!  So for me, going to bed early a few times and getting as much sleep as possible, plus a massage took priority.

Then add a to do date (Realistically achievable) to the remainder.

Next week I’m going to give you tips on keeping the exhaustion at bay once your plan is working!

To do list

What Will Cause The Most ‘Pain’ If Not Done By The End Of Today?

To do list
To do list

In ‘ye olden days’, i.e. 2 months ago before the arrival of ‘little dimples’, my second child, I used to ask myself what might seem a slightly dark question when sorting out my plan for work/life balance.

I would think about being elderly and sitting on my death bed, looking back over my life.  ‘What would I regret not doing?’.  Would I miss doing that piece of admin, writing that document, working with that client, or playing with my son.

In some cases, I really wanted to write, or the client session was going to be really interesting and couldn’t be at another time.  But in other cases, the sun would be out and it was definitely time to make a memory and go and have a picnic.

This would really help me to be clear on what I wanted to achieve, and how I wanted to do it.  I’m not the type to go pushing ahead with my business, and put the kids last.  It’s not wrong, it’s just not me, and most of all kids just want us to be ourselves.  I’m also not the type to not have another string to my bow; that is, I’d be a rubbish stay at home mum!

But now my life has changed, and is much more practical and much more short term.  My question is ‘What will cause me the most pain if I don’t get it done by the end of today?‘.  It helps me with the juggling act (which frankly I’m not doing well at), because ‘little pink’ could wake up at any moment and then demand attention for the rest of the day.

Today, I needed the washing dry, but I also needed to write, just quickly, so that I felt that feeling I love for a moment.  I’ve also made myself a long glass of squash and got some snacks ready, as I’m conscious that her milk demands are increasing.  Which also means sod any thought of a diet for another week!

If I get a chance I’ll phone the two mates who left me a voicemail or text.  Max is at nursery today, so I might even get a chance to interview a ‘Mother’s help’, but most of all I need a little peace and quiet after the easter holidays, when I made a couple of fatal mistakes; I’ll blog about them later in the week, but they are all about feeling unappreciated because you do a pile of stuff ‘for’ people and forgot to work out your compensation package ;o)

A great question, can be worth it’s weight in gold.  What questions help you?