Thursday, February 28, 2013

Super Mom Syndrome

As a mom I often struggle with "Nap Time Just isn't Long Enough Syndrome." My sister has an almost one year old walking around the house and she asked me for some advice on how to get things done around the house and get working from home stuff done and "me time" etc. I had a few words to the wise but I felt it was best to extend this question to some friends because there really isn't one solution to this problem. Everyone has there own method you just have to find one that works for you and your family and then when your kids change you'll of course need to change again. I remember this age just being the hardest because those kiddos are so busy and that means so are you. So I've put together a list of the top solutions from my friends and I...I'm thankful to my friends for the help... Here are the top ways to get some work and relaxation in while keeping kids top priority...

#1. This tip really just gives you perspective ... do you suffer from Super Mom Syndrome?  Or in other words "I CAN DO IT ALL AND HAVE IT ALL" I know I DO.  This thinking and overachieving attitude, only leaves me feeling frustrated and unsatisfied by the end of the day.  There is no way to achieve the same amount that you did before you had children unless you can live without sleep...I KNOW I CAN'T. TRUE or FALSE I can work, spend a wonderful long fulfilling amount of time with my kids, and cook and clean and have a magazine cover of a home all the time and I'm involved in church and community activities and events and I volunteer in anyway possible and still have quality family time and husband time. If you said FALSE that is the correct answer.  It really just isn't possible to have IT ALL 100% of the time.  I remember trying really trying hard to make this happen when I first started out as a mom and I failed at it and therefore everyday I felt I was a failure and I could not feel good about all of the great things that I did accomplish in a day.  The great crafts I did with my kids or the the nice meals I had prepared or half of the laundry I had completed, because all I could see was the dirty bathroom, or the bag of fruit snacks they ate, or the other half of the laundry that wasn't done, or the project that I didn't start or finish, the scrapbook page that isn't finished....the list goes on and on.  So when kids come you've got to change the way you look at your life.  You've probably already decided that your kids and family are number one on the list of priorities.  And even if you have you sometimes need a reminder to keep on track... Here are some things to think instead when you think you can HAVE IT ALL!!!
  • "Kids don't get in the way of me doing other things, other things get in the way of me spending time with my Kids." - ME
  • "It's not all or nothing...It's Do Something." - ME
  • "Our main goal is to be together as a family.  So why are we continually looking for ways to get a break from them?" - Frana
  • "These beautiful little spirits who came from us really are a part of us so as they develop and grow, so do we." - Frana
  • "Until my kids are 2, I personally consider myself at their mercy when
    it comes to time management." - Rene
  • "...'Me Time' is important and essential as a mom. The bad news is, as soon as we start having kids the me time we are used to will never be the same..." - Emily
  • "The Time that we have with our Kids is Short DON'T WASTE IT." - ME
In other words if you think being a SUPER MOM is doing it all then you better change what you think being a SUPER MOM is, it's adjusting your schedule and priorities so that your family is number one! Check out my other post on Expectations.  Something else that helps me get back on track is looking at old pictures it reminds me how fast time goes and how special my children are and it renews my efforts to serve my kids now and not "later" or "in a minute."

#2.  Now with that being said, I find it pretty hard to believe that you are going to be happy or good at taking care of others when you yourself aren't taken care of.  Remember to keep this in perspective, you now have kids, so for you to expect a lengthy amount of time pampering and relaxing is just not going to happen or even working, for you overachievers.  So what do you choose to do with your time and how do you get the best care of yourself in the small amount of time that you do have for yourself?  The TIMES OF DAY that my friends and I all agreed were the best times to do this were all pretty unanimous...
      1 - Mornings, before they get up.  This time is best if you are a morning person and you will feel good the rest of the day getting "me time" in before you even get started.
     2 - Nap Time
     3 - When they go to sleep at night  This time is best for "me time" if you are not a morning person and you will feel refreshed and ready for sleep you can be ready for the next day and you can look forward to it when working hard the whole day.

Thank goodness kids have to sleep more then us.

Other solutions when you have to get something done with a deadline...You must admit defeat and in list the help of others.  It is not a weakness to give in to your pride and call a babysitter or for goodness sakes ask your husband to change a diaper, read a book, cook dinner, or even yes I'm going to say it...DO THE DISHES!  Believe me your kids will be happier having someone else take over for a moment instead of you being a distracted or uninterested mom.  PS Let your baby cry when someone else is in charge, if you go over and save the day every time your baby cries then there is going to be no one who can help you because that baby knows that momma will come running.  If you have to have a sitter at home if you work from home or if dad helps while you do the budget etc.  then just remember that they are in charge so pretend like you aren't.  You might be surprised what a good job they do without you....occasionally of course, you wouldn't want to be replaced. ;)  Also get a sitter for a date night with your hubby a couple times a month and have Dad have a turn with the kids while you go on a girls night out a couple times a month.

#3. How to Spend your time Most Wisely!?!  Quick, you don't have much time, cram as much crap as you can in that hour nap or try to do three different things at once to multi-task efficiently and make sure to check your emails and face book updates....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO none of these options are very good.  Rushing through things and not enjoying life or taking the time to stop and smell the daisies, as they say, is not enjoyable I have to remind myself of that often.  Multitasking is NOT a Good Idea as a MOM or as a person with high anxiety or anyone really.  We have learned throughout school and the work world that multitasking is a good quality to have but I am here to break this trend and put it to rest.  You are a MOM not a machine or some character from a comic book.  Take one thing at a time.  Have you tried to get some sewing done and your child is trying to talk to you at the same time.  Well, did you really listen that well or sew that good?  Have you tried to make grilled cheese and help someone with homework at the same time?  My grilled cheese comes out burnt every time.  My point is make a choice!!!  Do one thing and then do the next or save the next for another day another time.  Put your all into one thing your kids will notice how much you are paying attention to them and so will your other duties.  You will be able to do them much more efficiently and proficiently and with better quality.  Not to mention with more joy and ease.  Bye bye anxiety and hello choices.  Also, don't forget that awful feeling you get after you waste minutes or even hours on social networking and other computer time wasting junk.  Just don't do it, you'll feel better when you do something else.  Here are some good choices...

  • Have a Schedule, a routine!  Kids do better with one and to be frank so do you!!!  See my post on Routine.
  • Pick one or two things that really need to get done for the day, or things that really get under your skin if they aren't done!! Keep your plan, schedule, and to do list but pick the two that really need to be done. Do those things right away in the morning.  You will already feel successful about your day and you will get those things out of the way so you can take things as they come for the rest of the day. Some days it will be laundry other days it will be dishes some days you will feel it important to plan something fun with the kids, make it something that is top on your mind or nagging at you.
  • Don't forget to take a nap!  Research shows that a nap helps people in many ways (Google it! :) not to mention if you aren't sleeping at night with kids you will need a nap.  My friend Emily said, "For me personally naps are essential. If you are super exhausted you won't be productive with any of your chores around the house so I think it is important to get a 30-minute boost me up nap so that you can be productive when the baby naps again. A lot of people view napping as a waste of time, but I think I am much happier and more productive with a little nap."  And I agree.  Also try to remember that she said little nap not a whole day of napping and pitting yourself.  I'm only saying that because I tried it and it doesn't help.  Also I'm grouchy when I'm not well rested and everyone around me feels it too.  So, do it for your kids, do it for your husband, do it for your friends, and don't feel guilty that it helps you too.
  • Baths, reading, writing in a journal, spiritual and uplifting meditation or reading, and even a little fun are important but once again you'll have to remember you may only have an hour so do it in the morning before the kids get up or when they go to bed.  Do make sure the kids go to bed early.  About 7 or 8, kids need to get enough rest.  Which is good for you because it helps give you that break and also time with your hunny or time to call a friend.
  • Use a Timer to help you manage your time. Mine has become my friend. If I only want to work on something for an hour then I set the timer and work on it. It is actually a good motivator too when I really just don't feel like doing something, like chores, I will say to myself, "Only 20 min." (20 min. doesn't seem like that long) and that gets me started and I usually can finish dishes or dusting in 20 min. Another thing, we all use the computer now for work, research, shopping, and blogs are nice too :) but enough is enough so limit yourself and set a timer to do it.  Also, I always get a feeling when it's time for me to log off, I don't always listen so the timer kind of reminds me of actually how much time I've spent doing something and snaps me back into reality.  Don't however let time or a timer be a crutch, if you say you're going to do something for an hour and the baby wakes up early and needs you, stop and switch gears.
When the Kids are awake...
  • Do chores and cooking, include them, let them "help" (Kids love to help you could even make them their own cleaning bucket with water or something.) Let them sit with you by the sink when you do dishes and splash around and even make a mess.  My Mother-in-law would always set the kids up on the sink and let my kids "do the dishes" with her and they loved it.  Taking pots and pans and other goodies out of the kitchen cupboards is also a fun past time for little ones.
  • Socialize!  Have a play date, join a playgroup, or start one once or twice a week sometimes being home with the kids can get lonely and isolating make sure you have some friends and the kids will get some too.
  •, bank, post office etc. etc.  Don't forget the suckers at the bank!!!
  • Include them in as much as you can and with whatever your doing.  Yes it will take ten times longer but they want to be apart of what you're doing and they are learning too.  Be patient with them and realize how much you are giving your children by including them.
  • I also had a box of things that they could do one their own, if they got bored with "helping" I'd give them their box and they could have something fun to do until I could give them my full attention.  My friend Emily suggests Baby Einstein video's that are really good for keeping their attention for awhile.  Another friend or mine, Rene, has a list of activities that the kids can do on their own or with minimal help and pulls that out when the kids need something to do or they are bored.  I like her thoughts on time with the kids she said, "Every baby brings an adjustment, and sometimes we forget that we need to just breathe and accept the fact that we have to share our time with them until they are off to school. If they've given you 10 minutes, give them 10 minutes."
  • I like to spend some extra one on one time with the kids especially before quiet time or bedtime reading to the kids or talking with them.  This helps them relax and it also helps them get the time they need before having to have some alone time.  We often times call this our "2 Minutes." It usually lasts longer but I know that I can give each of my children at least two minutes of one on one undivided attention which every child needs and sometimes we just get so busy the time we are having with them is distracted or shared.

I'm obsessive and if starting a project without finishing it drives someone nuts that's me.  That is why I would dread the cries that meant nap time was over because "I hadn't finished yet" and I wanted to pout and scream and sometimes I did.  Well, now I can learn the skill of stopping and putting it away and starting again later or just deciding that's all I could do today without sacrificing my top priority, my family.  For instance, I have to stop right now as I am writing about this and visit with my husband.

I have the whole rest of my life to fulfill my dreams, my kids need me now, which is really one of my dreams is to love, inspire, and lift them.  Soon they won't need me like they do now.  If I think that I'm working for a bigger better house or fancier and bigger and better things for my kids, I think that I am mistaken.  They will appreciate more things that I sacrificed for them and the time that I spent with them then the fancy things that I gave them.

What do you do to spend time wisely by blending you, work, spouse, kids, friends, and more together?

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