Anyone else out there feel like they have too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it? And when you start feeling like that, do you buckle down and eliminate fun-stuff or less urgent tasks, and try to get all the important stuff done, right now?
I do. When I’m overwhelmed, I tend to want to cut out all the self-care practices that keep my brain-wheel well greased. Making time for friends, exercise, meditation, fun kid crafts, and keeping the home tidy are always out the window when I feel like I need to get ahead.
(ok, truth: the reason I don’t have a meditation practice to cut is because it’s always the first to go, even before it ever gets started).
It’s so funny, what exactly am I getting ahead of? What do I think will happen when my to-do list is crossed off?
(Cue God, descending from the clouds, with a glass of champagne, “You did it Caroline! You’re the best human! NOW you can have some fun!”)
I know better.
That time there was no electricity for two weeks
I’m reminded of a time, in 2015, when Hurricane Odile swept through our town. She was a Category 4 (5 being the highest), and she did so much destruction. We didn’t have electricity for two weeks! Can you imagine!?
No washing machine, no refrigerator, no light after dark. No internet!!! Yeah, it was bad.
The whole town mostly shut down. Since there was nothing to do, I had time to be at home, washing my family of six’s clothes by hand. When it was dark, we only had one option: go to bed.
I can’t tell you how freeing this was. Rather than being restrictive, it felt so peaceful. If there was still work to be done, but the sun was setting, we had to do the most we could and then get ready for bed while there was still light.
The natural rhythm of the day kept us from working too much. No internet and no phones meant we couldn’t escape our surroundings. There was no pressure to do more.
The pace of life slowed way down, but I felt better. There were no distractions. For entertainment, I just had to do what needed to be done (i.e. chores). Instead of having less fun because I was busy scrubbing clothes or couldn’t stay up and watch Netflix, I ended up with more time to relax.
What not to do When Kids take Time
The following video shows how hard it can be to get things done with kids. Watch it, it’s short.
Did you watch it? I’ll wait.
I know she’s probably trying to be cute with this video, and she’s probably a fantastic mom, but there’s a trick that on the surface seems like it will take more time, but in reality will take less.
She could slow down. Take her time. Go at her daughter’s pace. Connect with the kid, tell the baby what to do, “Here, put this in that drawer”. Kids love to help, but they’re slow and clumsy.
I know from experience, lest you think I’m talking down to you from On-high. You can work frantically trying to finish something before your kid messes it all up, or you can slow waaay down and let your kid help.
Here’s the thing, when you take that time, you’re making time.
How? you ask. That makes no sense, you say.
By going slow, mom is achieving multiple tasks at once:
- She’s relaxing, eliminating the need to pencil in wine and netflix at the end of the day.
- Shes spending quality time with baby, eliminating the need to play with baby later.
- She’s training baby so that one day (soonish!) she’ll be able to completely outsource this task to baby.
Take Time to Make time
A non-parenting example: Let’s say I want to walk or bike to work everyday, but I think I’m far too busy to take that time. But if were to do it, I’m multi-tasking: I’m exercising while I transport myself to work. Now I don’t have to schedule in exercise time later. Oh, and I can work for fewer years since I’ll be able to put my gas money straight into my retirement fund!
Or, let’s say I take my time after a shower to wipe down and clean-up the bathroom. Instead of rushing off to get to that Netflix, TV, or internet at the end of the day, I can choose to be present and take my time. The end result is more time, because I’m relaxed and the bathroom is clear: I won’t have to spend time cleaning up the bathroom later or decompressing after all that rushing around.
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