Today is Friday, and I have been wearing my apron ever since 8am.
It’s one of those days.
The 3 youngest are all recovering from a cold; the 23 month old has the brunt of it today. Fortunately it’s a 24 hour bug, but unfortunately they have all lost their voices. This is, indeed, very unfortunate for them, but it is unbearably cute at the same time.
My 10 year old’s birthday party is tonight, and the house is in the process of sanctification, you could say.
Instead of just ordering pizzas for everyone tonight, I opted to cook a turkey instead. My logic was that it was a healthier option for food, there would be enough turkey to cover our big family along with the other large families we invited, and it was more fun for me (I love putzing in the kitchen). However, this meant some quick thawing maneuvers for a few hours…which enlisted the 10 year old to do enough dishes so I had at least one empty sink so I could submerge it in warm water. It is finally in the oven, though, so we’re in a good place and it should be done on time!
Plus finishing homeschool with the older kids, picking things up around the house, making an effort to think about mopping…especially since I dropped the gallon of milk on the floor this morning.
It’s only 2:30, and I realized I haven’t eaten anything, and I haven’t had anything to drink besides black coffee….
and I’m getting cranky.
The thing is, if I saw my 3 year old go all morning on a busy work schedule without eating breakfast or taking a break, I would know exactly why she was starting to get cranky.
But somehow if us moms do the same thing, we think that the best thing to do is soldier on. No whining, just keep working!
We have some deep rooted Cinderella complex that just won’t let up some days: “IF I do all my chores, and IF I get all my work done, and IF I feel like I have earned my worth through 5 billion self-made projects, then I can take a break!”
On a side note, I also have the opinion that telling a mom to “take it easy!” will illicit a punch to the nose, or at least a very sarcastic raise of the eyebrows. I truly enjoy what I do, even if I do over-do it some days, and suggesting that I stop doing what
I love…just makes me angry.
And you won’t like me when I’m angry.
(well, not really, I’m kind of a pacifist)
So, from one busy mom to another, here are 5 things to do on hectic, busy days so not only will you resist burnout, you can maintain your happiness as well:
1. You need to drink water. Dehydration, even in small amounts, will put you on the boat down Cranky Creek. The Mayo Clinic warns that symptoms of dehydration can include headaches, constipation, dizziness and fatigue. All of these things are going to be working against you if you are trying to get things done. Get a bottle and carry it around with you.
2. You need to eat something. I am not the type of woman that likes to skip meals. I like to cook, and I love to eat…and eating celery isn’t eating. You need to balance your meals with protein, with carbs and with fiber. A turkey and provolone sandwich with cucumbers and marinated tomatoes is a great option, or a spinach/banana/yogurt smoothie if you like them. But don’t over-carb, or you’ll fall asleep! Might be talking from experience here….
3. Make a list, make an agenda, make a plan. If you don’t plan out your day, you won’t accomplish what you want in the time you have…that’s just how it works. I am very big with agendas, primarily because we have so many people doing so many things, and we only have so many hours in the day. Make a list of what you want to accomplish, plug those things into your agenda, and have a plan for the day.
4. You need to do something for someone else. I know this sounds kind of weird, since that is kind of what you do, as a mother, in general. But the point of serving is to put the needs of someone else before the needs of yourself, and this will give you personal fulfillment and emotional connection with them that is essential to a well-balanced life.
So take your list and break it down: you need to make dinner, clean the kitchen, put the laundry away and finish schooling. What can you do with a few of those so that the focus isn’t on you, but on someone in particular? Can you include one of the kids to help you decide what to make for dinner, and then be an assistant in the kitchen? Can you finish the kitchen quickly so you can spend some time reading with the kids? What about your husband? Can you find a movie for the kids to watch after dinner so you can spend some quality time with him? Relationships are the fabric of life, and it is just as important to keep them healthy.
5. Finally! Do something for you! I am not the martyr type, at all, so if I am cranky at the end of the day (or the middle of the day!) I know I have something off balance. I have a box of chocolate covered marzipan bars hidden in the very back of the bottom drawer of my desk.
Those are mine!
I try to have a cup of tea in the afternoon for a little break, and force myself to not work while I am enjoying tea and marzipan. I also plan on not working after dinner….ever. My husband stops working at 6, and I stop working as soon as dinner is on the table. After dinner I plan on splitting a craft beer with my husband and enjoying the evening with him. As mothers, we tend to be the ones making the schedules for the household, and if you don’t schedule something for yourself…you might find yourself up a Cranky Creek.