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Girl’s Night Out Painting Pottery Circa 2010.
Yesterday I had myself a little, mini meltdown. After I got the kids ready for and off to school, I went straight into a meeting and then back to my home office to buckle down for work. With four assignments to tackle (all due today) I found myself distracted by almost anything that caught my eye (the pile of dishes in the sink, the laundry pile growing by the washing machine, tweeter chirp on my computer, and the clock ticking away.) I only have until 2:00 p.m. each day until I pick up my youngest from preschool to finish whatever needs to be done .. and it’s never enough time.
Sure enough, it was time to pick up Annie and I was no where near finished. I thought I could get away with writing while she played “quietly” but the result was even more frustrating then the fact that I was behind in my work. It’s like they have a sensor and know that you desperately need to concentrate – so the demands amp up. Suffice it to say, it was not my proudest parenting afternoon and I felt like I failed at both my role as mommy and writer (and we won’t even talk about my role as housekeeper!).
Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, the money or the energy to take care of yourself when your consumed with taking care of your family, your home and your job. I’ve found that making time for “me” often takes some creative thinking (and a little help from my friends) but it can be done. And more importantly, it SHOULD be done. As I’m getting older I’m learning that taking care of myself is crucial if I’m going to be able to take care of anything else. And not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty important component to keeping the Patrick family a float!!
One of the things I did recently was start a “Life List”. When I turned 40 in January I realized that it was important to put my dreams to paper and take steps to achieve what was possible. Creating the list was exciting in itself – because I allowed myself to think big without concern about money, time or even ability. Now when I hear about something cool someone did instead of thinking “wish I could do that, too” I just add it to my life list and think … “maybe I will!”
As great as a Life List is, it doesn’t really help keep you sane during the day to day chaos of life. Here’s a rather random list of some things that I’ve found help me take care of myself … emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Make Use of Downtime
I spend almost every afternoon and evening taking kids to and from places. Soccer, baseball and swim team practice, gymnastics, car pool line…I spend a lot of time “waiting”. Sometimes sitting around is just what I need and I take a book, magazine or journal to spend the time relaxing. Other times, I need a little grown-up interaction and spend the time talking to other moms. And yet other times, when I’m feeling particularly stressed and there’s room to do it (like at the soccer or baseball fields) I walk. It’s one of the ways I can get in some exercise (which I don’t do often!) and it almost always makes me feel better.
Have Something to Look Forward To
I’ve found that if I have something coming up in the future that I’m excited about I get through some of the tough and mundane tasks. A big vacation certainly works, but sometimes we don’t have the money for that. So I try to schedule things here and there way ahead of time so I can take advantage of the anticipation of good things to come. Girl’s Night Out, a mani/pedi appointment, a class at a scrapbooking store … they all give me motivation to “hang in there!”
Indulge in Little Treats
I’m a shopper and it’s been difficult to stay on a budget as we are paying attention to our big financial picture. While I’m doing a good job overall, sometimes I just need a little treat to keep me going. Sometimes it’s a candle or a new book, other times it’s a new shirt. Online saving programs like Zuilly, Groupon or LivingSocial help save me money. And if all else fails, a while back I subscribed to People Magazine (a guilty pleasure!) and no matter what – I know that on Friday afternoon comes along – so will my celebrity trash talk! It’s a nice escape from reality!
Ask For Help
I’m lucky to be able to work from home and have a somewhat flexible schedule so I can attend a bible study on Friday mornings. When I’m able to go – it’s so great to feed myself spiritually and be around fabulous moms who support me. I also have friends outside of this group who I know I can count on when things go south. We often babysit for each other, help each other with tasks or errands and provide hugs and a listening ear whenever we need to vent.
I realize today that yesterday I should have called one of my friends to help with Annie so I could get my projects done and avoid a mommy-meltdown. Sometimes I just need a kick in the pants to remember that I can’t do it all alone. And more often than not – I don’t have to.
So what’s your coping strategy, special treat or advice on taking care of yourself?
Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.