Usually after school one of my two older girls entertain my littlest baby (who just turned ten months old) while I cook dinner. I know, I’m totally spoiled by their eagerness to help. They are amazing.
She’s in that “I’m into everything stage!” She is busy busy busy, so I’m always grateful for a second pair of hands so we don’t have to eat takeout every single night.
Anyways, the other day, my daughters were both busy after school with piano lessons and school projects, so I asked my son to help watch her.
After ten minutes, he walked into the room and exclaimed, “WOW, Mom! I don’t know how you do it! You must be so tired! And you are doing it for the fourth time! HOW!?” He was amazed.
I laughed and thoroughly enjoyed his words that were filled with validation. His future wife will be lucky to have him! Mothering is hard, and it is tiring! I’m glad he recognized it!
So how do I do it? Sometimes I don’t really know. Despite the belief that a mom can survive on Starbucks alone, it’s a myth. A mom needs more than espresso to make it through these long, and sometimes tiring, early days of mothering.
I love love love my children, but I have learned that in order to take care of my littles well, I need to also take care of me. I know, I know – it’s so cliche. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed and done, it’s usually because I haven’t taken any time for myself.
So lately, I’ve been trying to intentionally take care of me. Because sometimes, survival is the goal. This month I’ve gotten my hair done, my nails done and went away with girlfriends (with my baby on my hip) for a weekend. I feel lighter. Refreshed and more capable.
But let’s face it. It’s not always possible for me to to do these big things. I have four kids and life is crazy, not to mention pedicures can become an expensive, albeit pretty, form of therapy.
I’ve found that my own key to survival is actually in the day to day.
I survive when I actually drop the to do list and take the time to enjoy my kids; by reading them books, playing a board game, lingering at bedtime, chasing them down the hallway, cooking together and laughing together. I survive by enjoying those parts of motherhood!
I survive when I go to bed at a decent time and make sleep a priority in my life.
I survive when I spend time with friends and get to hear about what is going on in their lives.
I survive when I ditch the chores during nap time so I can shower and do my hair.
I survive when I focus on my marriage and make time for my husband.
As hard as it is when my days are so busy, I try to prioritize at least twenty minutes a day to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, by myself, without any distractions (including my phone). It is so important for me to be in quiet to recharge. I see such a difference in my attitude and outlook when I make that little time-out happen. I also notice the difference when I don’t. I venture to say my family can tell too!
So like my son, I want to know: How do you busy mamas do it? What are your keys to survival?