I just read an awesome (heart-wrenching and kind of amusing in a terrible way) blog post by An Honest Mom , and saw myself so plainly it was weird. She writes about The Dishes and The Toddler Needing Attention (both need to be capitalized here because they are an entity all into themselves, that evoke very strong emotions of dread) and her struggle to balance her life. She sounded like a woman on the verge of tears. Had I not said and felt the same things, very recently (like last night?). So of course, I offered her some very practical and amazing advice…most of which I fully intend on
following thinking about myself.
Balancing the needs of small children, household chores, work, spouses and your own personal needs is an acrobatic feat. One which relies on patience, determination, forethought, humour and compassion … all things you are generally lacking when you are a worn out parent. I get it, I really do. How do you stop them KIDDOS from wanting to spend every second near you…well, by spending more seconds near them of course! How do you get time alone…well, by leaving them alone…hence aggravating issue #1. And not cooking or eating to avoid making dishes just doesn’t sit well, because when I am stressed out I eat, and when I want the kids to stop whining, I feed them… Like many overwhelmed parents I surrounded myself with friends, projects, outings etc…at least I felt productive and connected, even if I truly wasn’t, right? WRONG…it all backfired and I completely lost my mind.
My suggestion – go back to basics, cut all of your extra ‘stuff’ – and work towards things that make you feel so good.
For instance – I miss reading books and drinking tea, covered in a blanket on the couch. Keeps my mind and imagination going, it is me-time, I get to think about ‘grown up’ words, and sometimes I trade the tea for coffee with Bailey’s. SOOO…no more watching crap TV before bed to ‘wind down’ (because it doesn’t wind you down…you either feel bad for the trashy women in the reality show, or you feel bad about yourself for getting so hooked on their fake lives). Pick a bed-time (I know, you don’t really get to pick your bed time, but once you see the possibility happening) 30 minutes before your eyes close and you start drooling. Get in your bed or couch and just READ. You didn’t lose any sleep to do this, you’ll feel better, and if it is herbal tea, you will sleep better. If it has booze in it…zzzzzz (just don’t drink tons or you will be up all night peeing).
Second suggestion – CHEAT. Only those super-hippy-crazy parents will judge you, and since you should have cut those fakers out of your life anyways you are safe.
- Only use one cup- per person – per day. Label them, make them pretty, whatever it takes.
- Did those pants and hoodie NEED to be washed? If no one spit up on them and they pass the smell test, then the answer is NO!
- And who folds kids’ laundry, really? Nope, NO ONE who is sane.
- Get bins – for everything. Kids toys, kids hats/mitts, socks, magazines, books…kids love the ‘tidy up by throwing everything in a bin’ game. (hint, if the bin fits easily under something so it hides away (like a bed, a couch or onto a shelf) mommy gets two points for being extra awesome.
Suggestion Three – buy in bulk and buy for convenience – and buy more bins/containers too. I love having healthy, easy food on hand for snacks and side dishes. This doesn’t have to be more expensive if you are a good shopper. I love having tupperware containers filled with pretzels, raisins, cereals, dried fruit just ready and waiting. And single serving yogurt (the super cheapo brand), fruit in a bowl on the side table, pre-cut veggies. I have even been known to buy a ‘salad in a bag’ (shhh, don’t tell anyone) lately. The way I see it, I throw out a ton of veggies b/c I buy too many and then don’t want to bother chopping them up to make salads etc, so the cost of the super delicious and healthy salads in a bag (which get all eaten, no waste, and are fresh – no picking out the brown yucky pieces) are totally worth it once a week.
All this equals: Less cooking, less shopping, more healthy food, happier parent, happy kids, less dishes, more time, less headache (did I say less dishes yet?)