If you are a work-at-home mom like me, then your days are jam packed with a full itinerary, and you have to schedule time to pee. Each day is an exercise in extreme flexibility and if you get anything done as expected it is counted as bonus.
As immersed as I am, I know that this very well may be the most exciting time of my life, and I don’t want to miss it. I’ve made it a point to schedule in little bits of time for myself that are JUST MINE. It’s important that we take time to enjoy it all, even in the midst of carpooling with blue tooth conference calls, blogging during nap-time and podcasting while folding laundry. It’s not easy- but it is crucial. To keep a healthy pace and stay in tip-top shape, we must keep organized and commit to giving ourselves “happy time”.
With an overcrowded schedule, you may need to multi-task your happy time just like everything else. Here is a quick list of ways to incorporate some rose smelling among your daily chores:
- Make a schedule. As organized as I try to be, I never feel organized enough. I can’t believe there is one mom in the world who feels her life is completely put in order every day, and if there is, I’d like to meet her and tell her I am sure that she is lying. However, you must never underestimate the power of making lists. If you can find 5 minutes at the beginning of each day, jot down the things you hope to accomplish, and make sure you add some time for yourself to decompress. I have found that just making the list is a moment that I can claim as mine. It helps me to feel more in control of my day and ready to take on whatever disasters may be awaiting my arrival. Plus, is there anything more satisfying than being able to cross off a completed task?
- Listen to Music. I recently made a CD called “Hey, I LOVE this song”. Which is a compilation of songs exactly like the title of the CD. These are songs that when are heard, I usually gasp and say, “Oh my god I love this one…” You know what I am talking about. It probably wouldn’t take you long to create your own list given 20 minutes. I play these songs at the gym, when I doing house chores, and in the car. My kids have learned to love these songs as well because when these special songs fill the air, they see their mommy at her happiest. Never feel too silly to dance with your kids or shake some booty while stirring the vegis. Happy music = a happy house. (for a list of my personal “LOVE this song” or “guilty pleasure” songs, visit here– and I make no apologies).
- Get some exercise. Believe me, I know that finding time to work out is as difficult as finding time to sleep on most weeks. In fact, when I was working in the corporate world, finding time to work out was literally impossible. I don’t mind saying I took real offense at people who said I needed to make it a priority- especially because I barely had time to eat, sleep, or spend time with my new baby boy. But if you are a stay-at-home parent, you have more control of your schedule than ever before- as packed as it may be. In the corporate world, I was PAID to sit on my tush all day- not exercise. But now that I am my own boss, I have realized that the gym is a wonderful place to get some “me time,” not to mention a long shower…and nothing beats the productivity that comes from that time. I get my best ideas on the treadmill!
- Laugh. Laugh with your kids, laugh with your spouse, laugh with other grownups you see at the grocery store, at your kids school and sports practices, and laugh with yourself. Life is full of hilarity, and if you are not laughing on a daily basis, it means you are moving too fast to notice it. Your kids will never be this age again. Instead of being one of those parents who are constantly murmuring, “I hate this age, I wish they’d grow out of this annoying phase soon, “ be the parent that relishes each moment, makes mistakes and cracks themselves up. You’ll be surprised at how much your kids will admire you and grow to be adults that are celebrating their lives at the envy of others.
- Create a grateful list. This always, always, always improves my spirits 200%. I highly recommend that you do this at least once a month. The list should be of things that you know you are privileged to have in your life. It may start out with obvious entries such as, “I am grateful that I have a roof over my head. I am grateful for the food in my fridge.” but eventually you’ll feel more genuine about your gratitude. You should make certain to also include things that you WANT to be grateful for as if they are already in place. “I am grateful that my 4 year old is well behaved and doesn’t pick on his younger brother. I am grateful that the baby is finally sleeping through the night.” Don’t underestimate the power of wishful thinking. It’s funny, this is the one task that people seems to balk at when I make the suggestion, but once they do it, they are always amazed at how worth their time it was.
Ally Loprete is a stay-at-home mother of 2 boys, a former television, theatre and film actress, singer, performer, storyteller, and teacher. An advocate of parents, Ally founded OurMilkMoney.com, an online business directory of self-employed parents and an organization dedicated to helping parents find financial opportunities and support. She is also the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home weekly radio show available on Toginet.com, and the playwright & performer for her one-woman show about the journey of dealing with unexpected drama in life, Chasing Ally.