Anyone who knows me will know that I have always liked to squeeze a lot of things into my life. I'm always doing, making, reading, writing, photographing, baking, planning, working...and when I'm not pregnant or recovering from giving birth I'm usually squeezing in yoga, aerobics, swimming and running. Go, go, go! Having four children hasn't stopped me being busy but apart from all the mess and screaming, the thing that I really struggle with being a mother of little children is that I want to DO ALL THE THINGS and I can't. Yep that's how it sounds in my head. I sound like one of my children having a meltdown. Sometimes I even have the meltdown. My head is so busy planning stuff to do that being stuck on the sofa breastfeeding can sometimes send me crazy! But I love breastfeeding, having a newborn and adore my little ones being little ones, and yet I still want to do all the things!
This post is a message from me to me. It's some advice to myself to slow down, chill out and make the most of achieving something small each day. Anything above that is a huge bonus but let's learn to be happy with something small. Let's not try to get a huge amount done each and every day. Let's learn to celebrate the small achievements and end each day with a smile.
I have written before about the importance of having a little bit of time for myself each day and this is very much connected. But it also includes other stuff that needs doing like business stuff, housework, food shopping, cooking, home admin, homework, reading the school book, phoning family etc. And then all the lovely things I want to do with the children like painting, cooking, reading, playing and so on.
All the things whizz around in my head and that's when I have my meltdowns. There's just too much to do. I get overwhelmed, upset and can get irritated with the children. Days with little children are often to short, especially when they involve school runs, followed by nursery runs. Before you know it's bath time, story time, bed time and another day is done.
So, I have started to make lists in a different way. Lists of all the things that need doing and that I'd like to do are pretty big. They are the lists that make me get really stressed. These lists are necessary but I think I'm going to just try and review them once a week. And once a week put little tasks down for each day that I know I am really likely to be able to do. So, instead of putting "write thank you cards" on my to-do list for the day, I will put "write one thank you card and post on the way to school." It may take a month to write all the cards but at least I will be writing them, rather than getting all in a panic about a huge pile of unwritten cards.
Each day I am going to try and do one thing for the home, one thing for others (a birthday card, a thank you card, an email, a phone call etc.) and one thing for me. These things can be tiny or a bit bigger depending on how much time I have. But if I can manage all three things then I will promise myself that I will relax about everything else that needs doing. I will be happy that I have achieved my three things and take time to enjoy all the other things that my day involves.
I know I will manage to practice this much better in the week than I will at the weekend. The weekend is when I'm even more keen to do everything, partly because Stef is at home and so there is more likelihood of getting things done but also because I want us to do lots of lovely things as a family. And sometimes I aim too high! Little children love simple things just as much as big things. So perhaps next weekend I will try and plan a couple of small, achievable, fun things to do as a family and then go with the flow the rest of the time.
I also need to remind myself that baby Rudi is just nine weeks old. Having a little baby can be so hard some days. You literally feel like all you have done is feed the baby. But you know what, how amazing is that? Watching your baby grow each day because they are drinking your milk is an incredible feeling. Time passes so, so fast that it's important to treasure these days. They don't come back. Who really cares if you haven't got time to do all the things you want/need to do? It will get done one day, and if it doesn't it probably wasn't that important anyway! Take the time to slow down and enjoy having a sleeping baby on your lap, all warm, safe and cosy.
A happy mother makes a happy family, so if I can practice being happy with small achievements then we will all be happier. And you know, if I just spend a bit of time each day looking around at my little ones I will realise what big achievements I am making each day. I am looking after four children, helping them to grow, to learn, be happy, be safe and be very loved. If I haven't done the washing, I have still loved my children. What do I want them to remember from their childhood; that mummy was always busy doing stuff and really stressed, or that mummy was always happy and lots of fun?
Right, mini lecture to myself over. I'm off to lie on the sofa feeding Rudi for the next few hours. It's time for one of those long, snuggly, evening feeds that feel like they will never end. But they are the magic ones, the ones that slow you down to tune into your little one and fill you with so much love. They are also the ones that mean you need to eat lots of delicious food that your husband will have to cook because you are tied to the sofa! It's not all bad.
I wrote this post today as part of a growing group of bloggers who are supporting each other to write a post once a week on a Sunday and share it on a Sunday evening/Monday morning. I love the idea of sharing and supporting. If you blog you might like to join in. Add some ideas to Help Me Write, ask your audience to vote for what they'd like to read and then join us next Sunday for some blogging!