I’ve always heard people say “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” This phrase creeps into my mind on weeks like this week…weeks of pure panic and stress. I’m a young mother of two who works full time and loves to be involved…so of course my life is INSANE. I knew this month would be a rough ride and it hasn’t disappointed.
My week thus far has gone something like this:
5:00 a.m. – Workout
6:00 – 8:00 a.m. – Shower, hair, makeup, dress the kids, morning chores, drop daughter to the sitter, drop son to school and get to work praying not only that I’m not late, but also that I’m early enough to get a decent parking space.
8:00 a.m.- 5:20 p.m. – WORK.
5:20 – 9:00 p.m. – Dinner, Homework, Piano Homework, Bath time, Bed time stories, Laundry, Dishes….Husband
5:45 – 6:45 p.m. – Daughter to gymnastics
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Son to batting practice
6:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Tiger Cub Den Meeting
6:00 – 8:00 – Church duties for Lenten Season
5:45 – 6:15 p.m. – Son’s piano lessons
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Scout Committee Meeting
For better or worse, this is a typical week in the Hafele House. We live full throttle and most days I love it. But this week has been a mess. Last weekend was even crazier than usual, jam-packed with activities and I didn’t get to prep for the upcoming week. My prep time is vital to surviving this modern day lifestyle. Prep is essential to “having it all”. So by Thursday morning when I discovered my husband was down to his last pair of underpants, my kids had no matching socks, we were out of fresh bath towels, there were dirty dishes by the sink and loads of laundry sitting in baskets staring at me…I knew that all of this chaos was a direct result of not prepping properly for my week to come. Someday I will learn that above all other important things, I must make time to prepare myself.
I thought it would be fun to share a few of my pointers with my readers. These are the little things that save me from weeks like the one I just had.
Here goes…these are my rules for biting off more than I can chew:
- How are you spending your time? Are your activities ones that center around your interests and those of your family/children/friends? If you find yourself devoting a lot of time and energy toward something that just isn’t something you love, don’t feel guilty for moving on. The fact is that we’re all busy and our time is limited, so my advice is to be selective with where you spend it. Today I do not volunteer for any organization unless it is related directly to my family and/or my children. It’s a win/win when I get to volunteer and spend extra time with my little loves!
- Plan ahead. This is one of the biggest factors for determining the kind of week I’m going to have. I can expect to not come directly home any night of the week. I can expect to be spending my lunch hour running my preschooler back and forth to school or planning for our next scout den meeting or Sunday school class. So on Sunday, I take the time to plan and prep as much as possible for the upcoming week, starting with my meals for the work week. I have a meal plan which my husband is aware of and can step in and help out with depending on who makes it home first. I prepare as much food as possible ahead of time to make week nights just a little easier. I also prepare and package all of my lunches for the week. In addition to being handy, this keeps me healthy and eating right even when I’m stressed for time.
- Plan ahead – Part Deux. I set out my workout clothes the evening before in my bathroom. It’s harder to skip a workout when you know your clothes will be taunting you after you’ve slept in and decided to be lazy. I also hang my outfit for the next workday in the bathroom so it’s ready to hop into directly after my post-workout shower. And I’m less likely to crawl into my frumpy, old, go-to outfit when I plan ahead. I mean who really feels like wearing a pencil skirt at 6:00 in the morning. Not me! But at 10 p.m. it always feels like a good idea for the next day.
- Buy a planner (a paper planner) and use it. Yes, an old fashioned, pen and paper, prehistoric, like the kind your grandma uses, type of planner and write everything down in it. I wouldn’t know if I was coming or going (seriously) without mine.
- Ask for help. Yes, when I need help, I ask for it. If that means asking my mom to watch the kids for an extra 20 minutes or asking the husband to pick up an extra chore or household duty, I ask for what I need. I’ve found I have to be direct about what I need. Shocker…but no one can read my mind. It took me a while to figure that one out.
- Sit out when you need to. Tonight was that night for me. I had to cancel out of my Thursday night Scout Committee Meeting…I hate to not make it to a meeting, but when my household has exploded around me, I always try to remember to put first thing first. And my family and my home always come first. Always.
- Lastly, CHEW. Yes, I said CHEW. Chew like hell. I say bite off more that you can chew, have your drink nearby just in case you need help washing it down, have a good friend on hand that knows the heimlich maneuver (you know, just in case), AND CHEW, CHEW, CHEW. A full, busy life is a happy life for me. Sometimes it is overwhelming but it is also rewarding. So I choose to chew.
So these simple things are what help me survive being a working, volunteering, crazy mom. What are your secret weapons of survival? Share them with the women in your life…goodness knows, we all need the help. You never know what will work for you, so be flexible. I will be back on the ball this weekend, prepping and planning and hopefully having a smoother week next week. But all’s well that ends well, and I survived!