My Messy Mom Life: 7.24.19
“Every minute of every day, I’m either feeling like I need to be getting more done, or I’m feeling like I need to be spending more time with my children.”— from the Instagram feed of @cmon.mama
This sums up the struggle I’ve had since becoming a mom and continuing my entrepreneurial journey. The lingering feeling that we should always be doing something else is such a distraction. We lose focus and momentum; our strokes of genius fizzle out. I was told recently, “Whatever you are doing, just do that.” It’s so simple, but so profound.
I’ve tried to adopt the philosophy. Lately, when I am playing with my kids, I turn my phone off or leave it in the other room. What is the point of hanging out with them if I am only worried about getting things done? Being in a frantic mindset leaves us all stressed and doesn’t allow for any special moments. I know this because I have tried unsuccessfully. And when I’m working, I don’t worry about my kids being bored. It’s their time to read, play in the basement, or yes, just take a break and watch Netflix. I let them know I’m always available if it’s an emergency, but that I am working and need quiet. They get better at this routine every day, and their imaginations are being forced to expand. I’ve also been studying how to use my working time more wisely. Here are a few tips:
» Plan your days. Yes, you need a good planner to check things off.
» Prioritize your plans. Not every task is going to get done. Choosing my top three that I have to finish kicks my butt and saves my life.
» Set deadlines. I work well with a deadline, and my brain spurs into action the closer I get to it. Set your deadline ahead of schedule if you have a tendency to procrastinate.
» Take mental space. The Harvard Business Review suggests we take 2 to 5 minutes of complete quiet to clear our head before diving into a task. Apparently, Bill Gates gives himself weeks of thinking time between projects, and we all know how that’s working for him! This helps with mental overload.
» Turn off your phone. Our brains are hardwired for adrenaline rushes and mini ‘wins.’ It feels deceptively productive to check our phones for a new email, text or social media like to make us feel like we are accomplishing something. Sitting down to do the hard tasks can feel impossible without the shots of dopamine we get from checking our phones every 5 minutes. A lot of professionals suggest turning notifications off and waiting to check emails until the end of the day to keep our minds focused.
» Do one thing at a time. As women, we try to do 30 things at once so we can ‘have it all,’ but we actually get less done. Complete a task, check it off your list and then start something else.
» Let people help. I always used to say I was fine when people offered to take my kids. Now, if someone offers, I almost yell yes in return. I try to make my kid-free hours my most productive.
» Have accountability. This is something I have struggled with. If it doesn’t have to get done, sometimes it doesn’t. Having a friend or mentor keep me accountable is super helpful.
In the end, a happy mom is better than a perfect mom, and for those of us who need to work to make money, or need to create to stay mentally alive, there are things we can do to ensure productivity and balance in our lives. With or without a job, loving your kids unconditionally already makes you a superhero in my book!
Katelyn Young is a local mom of two (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram at @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at thebejuledlife.com.