I was having one of those terrible days that all moms do from time to time. It wasn’t just the whiny kids, messy home, and uncooked dinner. I was having one of those “What am I doing??? Am I really living life to its fullest? It always feels like its about everyone else. Is this me embracing my potential in life right now?” moments when you feel lost and out of control.
Later that day, I read this post from Creative Organizing entitled, “Time Management Tips for Mom: How to feel better about a day full of thankless tasks.” In it, she lists the following techniques:
- Ask for help
- Remind them of all that you do
- Remember the big picture
- Carve out time for you
- Give yourself permission to have fun, even when there’s work to be done
Her list is good, but I feel like it’s kind of obvious and missing some critical components. For me, I would say one of the biggest things to do to feel better is to try something new on a weekly basis. A new recipe, a new kids’ craft, a new outing. Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration for me in finding new kids’ activities and recipes. Trying something new forces you to think, versus operating on auto-pilot. The newness staves off the feelings of tedium that accompany a day, a week, a month of “thankless tasks.”
Another biggie for me is to interact with kindred spirits. Playdates (or phone calls) with other stay-at-home moms helps me because I don’t feel alone in the monotony; so many other moms out there are dealing with precisely the same situation. Loneliness will drag you down, make you depressed and resentful, and overall less productive in accomplishing your tasks. One way to put yourself out there is to join a group. For example, I’m in a running club for moms, a book club, MOPS, and support groups for nutritarians and vegan parents. It’s helpful to find women in similar situations with like interests.
I also make it a point to get out of the house. At least once a day, I take the kids and go somewhere. Sometimes it’s no more exciting than the local superstore or even a walk around the neighborhood, but the point is, your home should not feel like your prison. Your home should be a place of comfort, both physically and emotionally. When you start getting weighed down by the laundry baskets, dirty dishes, and toys, you have to get away and regain perspective.
Finally, just let some tasks go undone. I’m not advocating you let your dishes grow mold or turn your underwear inside out, but sometimes it’s okay to leave the vacuuming another day or two. Spend that time with your kids instead. They’ll remember time with you more than they’ll remember the crumbs on the floor.