I work with Mothers almost every day of the week, spending hours with new and seasoned Moms and theres a theme that spreads throughout the journey of Motherhood and that is, "How do you do everything that needs to get done in day?". This week in my Moms group we talked about our days and all the responsibilities that come with it. And how, during this busy season of life, can we make time for self care. Why is it that Moms feel so guilty taking time for themselves? and How do you make time for yourself when theres so much to be done? You know when you fly on an airplane and you hear the safety instructions before take off? "In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others." This gem is given to us every time we fly. A little gift, reminding us to take care of ourselves first. Yet, its hard for all of us, not just moms, to live that reality. . There is lots of juggling happening and feelings of being overwhelmed. Many Moms I work with are balancing life with a baby (or multiple), responsibilities of the home, some are going back to work. It's a lot, I call it the Mom Circus. I'm not saying I have the answers; your life, schedule and self care will look completely different than mine. What I do have are some suggestions to change your perspective, to open up your days, to create a feeling of empowerment, that maybe starts you on a path of discovering how to manage your day while making sure you carve out time for yourself.
First up is a quick change of perspective:
Every day, we each get 1,440 minutes, and every week, we each get 168 hours." -The Little Book of Lykke
Take a moment and think of all the things you still need to accomplish for today, "I have to walk the dog", "I have to do the laundry"...etc. It's probably a big list! You may even feel like a slave to your to-do list. But in the quote above there is a magic word we can use. A word that can help us shift our perspective. That word is, "get". Think of your same list but now use the word get. "I get to walk the dog", "I get to do the laundry". This is the power of positive thinking! Getting to do these tasks turns our time into a privilege that is interwoven with gratitude. Does it change your perspective? Can you give yourself the gift of getting?
Next is, creating a Daily Rhythm:
Everything in life has a rhythm. There are rhythms that have been with us since conception, since birth. The steady beat of our heart. The inhale and exhale of our breath. The arrival and completion of our monthly cycle. The restful pattern of sleep. There are also rhythms in nature. The rise and set of the sun. The changing of the seasons. The cycles of the moon. The seasons of Motherhood.
Our bodies crave rhythm. Children crave rhythm. Creating a rhythm for your day is a wonderful way to establish good habits that help us feel empowered as we move through our day, instead of being bound to it.
A rhythm is really just a starting point. It can be something you visit when life starts to feel too frenzied and rushed, or it can be something you flow through every single day. It shouldn't ever feel like a burden though, just a gentle friend, giving you a nudge of encouragement when you need it most. Once it becomes a habit it can support you on even the most challenging days.
Here are some steps towards creating a rhythm for yourself and family:
1. Segment your day into 3 sections: morning, afternoon, evening. Within each of those segments establish your must do's. Things like eat, shower, work, self care, etc. These are your non-negtionables.
2. Know your and your family's needs: This is probably the most important step.
3. Start to lay it out: What is your day going to look like? Find a starting and ending time. Give yourself large chunks of time to accomplish what you want to do. If things get too close together, it starts to feels strict. It shouldn't make you feel hurried or rushed but actually slow you down, allowing you to find freedom and movement throughout your day.
4. Check for balance: If you notice theres lots give, give, give or go, go, go you'll want to add in some time for rest and rejuvenation, however that looks for you. When it comes to newborns we talk about their need for eat, activity, sleep. You can basically think about this too, but for adults.
A) A time to nourish your body (eat)
B) A time to create and move (activity)
C) A time to slow down and rejuvenate (sleep)
5. Share it: It's important to involve other people in your household. Talk to your partner, involve older children. They may have valuable ideas to offer and are a part of the rhythm of your household.
For me, every day has a different rhythm and I do a fairly good job at letting a rhythm pulse through my days. It doesn't happen every day, some days my rhythm doesn't flow at all, and thats okay. I found it best to create a rhythm for each day because my teaching schedule changes and I find that creating something like this, allows me to reach achievable goals, find balance, manage my time and create healthy habits. Here is an example of my daily rhythm...
6:30am - Alarm. Coffee. Read. No screens. Dog Duty
I like to start my days quietly and slowly. I try not to use screens right away, instead I read or talk with my husband. Around 7:30, I take my dog out for a walk/exercise. During this time I usually listen to a podcast or call my parents/friends.
8:30am - Breakfast. Clean up. Get Ready
Once we get back I'll start making breakfast, after a quick clean up I'll get showered up and ready for my day.
9:45am- Teach Class
This morning I teach 3 classes back to back starting at 10:30am. I leave around 9:45 so I arrive 15 minutes before my classes begin.
1:45pm - Lunch. Commute to next class
Sometimes I'll bring a lunch with me or I grab something on my way to my next class.
2:30pm - Last Class
3:45pm - Errands
I can walk home from my last class so on my way back I stop and run any errands I need to do, usually it's picking up groceries.
4:45pm - Rest. Relax. Restore
Once I get back its time to rest. What this looks like varies..sometimes it's a short nap, sometimes it's watching a little tv, sometimes it's reading. I listen to my body and give it what it needs.
5:45pm- Dog Duty. Dishes or Dinner
My husband and I usually do one or the other. Someone takes the dog out while the other person starts preparing dinner. Usually the person who takes the dog out also does dishes after the meal.
7:45pm - Emails. Create.
This is when I try to do some e-mails, prepare for the next days classes. I think of it as my office hours for the day.
8:30pm - Husband and Wife time. Personal Care. TV time.
If my husband goes back to the office I tend to turn this into self care time. Meaning I'll do a face mask, paint my nails; something that makes me feel good. I also watch TV. If he is around then we usually do something together, play a card game, watch a movie, go play darts or go out for a night cap.
10pm - Bedtime Routine. Sleep
I try to avoid screen 30 minutes before bed. It doesn't always happen, its still very much a goal I am working towards. I would like to incorporate reading or meditation before bed.
I find when I follow a rhythm I am much happier, at ease and feel in charge. My hope is that you are able to create something like this for yourself, where you are running your day and not letting the day run you. When we don't have a plan, or a goal, things can be overwhelming. If you don't make time for yourself you'll never make it happen. I encourage you to try it out, make a rhythm, find your flow. A daily rhythm should invite an intentional balance of work, play and rest. These are anchors that connect and support us as individuals and as a family.
Photo Source: Stocksy
Ansley has been teaching Infant Movement classes since 2013, after studying Developmental Movement with Ellynne Skove. Since completing her training Ansley has taught all over the New York, New Jersey, Boston and now Florida. Ansley is certified in Level 1 Reiki and has completed her 200hr YT. She is passionate about empowering, nurturing and providing care to all families as they encounter the demands and joys of parenthood. Through her work she is able to soulfully fulfil her greatest ambition; to care for others.