To be a mum, work full-time, look after the house and all the administrative paperwork that goes with it, can be a real challenge!
I lived like that for a long time, my ex-colleagues also and most of my friends are living it as well.
When you don’t have an income that allows you to pay for help (housework, cooking, child care) and sometimes no family around as well that could look after the children every now and then, just for the weekend, so you could relax and move on on our to-do list (**ironic smile**), how do you do?
It starts with the fact that you have to be over-efficient at work, not just professional and very competent, no you often need to be a superwoman at the office and to do in 40 hours what would need almost twice the time (I’m exaggerating but you know what I mean 🙂 ).
Then the list of the housework tasks keep on getting longer: remembering the dentist appointment for the eldest, preparing the birthday party of the little one, planning the meals, the shopping, starting the washing-machine… etc, etc.
We want as well a house that runs smoothly (thanks Pinterest in passing, for making me feel guilty) which requires a lot of energy.
And in all of this, we would still want to have quality times with our children and why not, even some time for ourselves.
Unfortunately, I don’t have some miracle solution, I would love to but no, however I have some tips to help you lighten your mind and life.
- 1. LEARN TO DELEGATE
It is not up to you to do everything, and if you want to do everything because you like it your way, brush your perfectionism under the carpet et force yourself to let go on some stuff.
Draw upon your partner, it might have already been done, but it is important to share the housework when both parents are working.
If it’s not the case, sit down with him and decide together who does what tasks for a smooth running of the house.
Involve as well your kids, depending on their age: transform the tidying up into games and challenge, you will be surprised of the productive result you will get.
For the older ones, no choice, it is important that everyone take their part in the family life.
- 2. DON’T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING STRAIGHT AWAY
You are exhausted and don’t feel the energy to clean the house: rest, it can wait a few days. Sometimes you need to learn to stop a bit, recharge your batteries so you can take a fresh start after.
Try also to think again about your priorities and spread the tasks in time in order for it to be less constraining.
It is impossible to do everything straight away because there is always going to be something to do anyway, it is a never-ending circle, so let’s try not to plan too much every day.
- 3. PUT AWAY THAT GUILTY FEELING
It is pointless to fill your mind with reproach or blame yourself, the life of working mum is not easy everyday, we run, we have a lot to do and we are doing a pretty good job (Yes, you really should congratulate yourself sometimes).
So when something doesn’t go according to plan or doesn’t meet our expectations, it’s not dramatic and it doesn’t call into question your abilities at all.
Let’s also take a step back from Pinterest and Instagram with all those mothers, with perfect make-up and clothes, who always have a nice homemade pie baking and children who pose quietly and peacefully on the photo.
THIS IS NOT THE REALITY!!! There might be hours of works hidden behind those photos.
Let’s relax, our house in a mess with kids running everywhere is much closer to the reality of many women than the one displayed on those photos.
So be reassured, your are not alone so do not need to be so demanding with yourself.
- 4. FIND SOME “ME TIME”
Not easy you will tell me, and I completely understand, between the lack of time and the lack of energy, we often forget about ourselves.
But you will see that starting to engage into sport activities or to take care of yourself, which tends to look more like an extra obligation at the beginning, will be beneficial on the long run and you will develop a taste for it up to the point when it will have become a habit.
To make sure you will stick with it, write it down on your agenda: an appointment with yourself, a priority!
Use the opportunity to practice sport, walk, meditate, have a drink with a friend… Do whatever makes you feel good. And you take this time without feeling guilty, you deserve it:)
If you want to to be more sport orientated in order to regain energy, why not do it progressively by starting small in order to keep it on the long term.
One exemple: do 100 squats or 100 abs per day, it will galvanise you and there a big chance you will be willing to push the experience one notch above.
- 5. BREATHE, CONTEMPLATE & MAKE THE MOST OF THE PRESENT MOMENT
-Take breaks to breathe deeply in and out, a bit like a small session of meditation. You will be able to appreciate its benefits and to set off again even more.
-Give yourself time to contemplate, wander, do nothing, this will allow you to better move forward. To be constantly in the heat of action can prove to be really exhausting, we all need breaks.
-Live fully the present moment, even if you have thousands of things on your mind because it can wait.
So don’t let your to-do list from preventing you to spend some quality time with your family.
- 6. KEEP A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOUR
When you feel overwhelmed, falling behind with everything, it is often the last thing you will think off, however it can often defuse tense situations.
To laugh off a situation will allow you to not dramatise and to easily get out of it – and there is nothing like a good laugh or histerical laughter to boost your moral.
7. BE ORGANISED
Spread the housework over the week.
The idea is to divide the weekly housework into 15-20 min to avoid having everything to do on the weekend.
On Monday, we clean the bathroom, Tuesday it’s the laundry, Wednesday it’s tidying the rooms and so on. You will see that it will lighten your Saturday morning.
Set up routines to follow for your children.
They will get caught up in the game and this will save you from repeating 20 times “brush your teeth” in the morning.
I use the
form that combines drawings and texts, you can cut it out and organise it in the order you want.
I work on the basis that what is on the list is not in your mind anymore and it will allow you to have your mind less burdened.
As soon as I think of something to do, buy or to remember, I write it down in my diary or on
. I then know that it is written and that I won’t forget it so I don’t have to keep it in my head.
My diary is filled with post-its of all kinds and notes but it’s my way of “decluterring” my brain.
- 8. ALLOW YOURSELF TO LOSE IT
It is human and it seems obvious but it is not always easy to do. We tend to hide ourselves behind a strong appearance suggesting that everything is fine even when it isn’t the case.
It is better sometime lose it in order to get your hair straight and clarify certain things instead of an accumulation of frustrations which in the long run, will eat you away in the inside.
When it’s too much, you can also say “Stop!”, take the time to analyse the situation and see what can be changed/improved to make life easier for you.
- 9. REEVALUATE YOUR BUDGET
You tend to spend too much on certain things, try to see if you can cut some expenses less necessary in order to put that money in a service that could help and take a weight off your everyday life. For exemple a person who would come to help you with the cleaning once or twice a week, or to buy some ready-to-eat meals at a caterer.
You will see that it is by changing progressively some habits that you will get to a well-being so I invite you to try those tips and to introduce them little by little in your life.
You can also share your own tips in the comment section below ;).