Being a mom is hard work and balance may feel out of reach. Learn how you can balance your to-do lists with the quality time your kids need from you.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Come play with me! Come dance with me! Come NOOOOOW!!” The shrill screeching of my two-year-old daughter grated on my already frazzled nerves. “Give mommy just five more minutes. I have something important that needs to get done but then we can do whatever you want” I barked out.
Almost instantly I felt the hot heat of shame and guilt hit me like a slap in the face. It is the guilt I am sure many a mom has felt promising the same thing over and over to an eager child who struggles to gain their attention in the middle of some important task. She didn’t deserve the brunt of my frustration.
I immediately walked away and locked myself in the bathroom struggling to breathe and fighting back the tears pooling in my eyes, a million thoughts rushing through my tired coffee-fueled brain.
The reality was simple: life is busy and almost overwhelming at times. The work will never be done and while I was focused on finding ways to get everything on my plate done, my daughter was growing up and if I wasn’t careful I would miss it.
There is an old saying “The days are long but the years are short.” I felt that reality. Many days I just longed for the day to be over, just barely having the strength to make it to bed time.
In the same breath, I would look at my daughter and wonder how just the other day she was helpless feeding at my breast and today she is exploring the world around her with wonder and changing in more ways than I can keep up with.
It passes in the blink of an eye and I never truly understood that until that moment locked in the bathroom. Now what was a mom to do about it? Something needed to change. So I resolved to do what I could to institute small changes to spend the quality time my daughter deserved to have from me.
MAKE A LIST IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE
As mentioned, the list will be never-ending. If you take some time at the start of your day to write out a physical list you will find yourself able to focus your attention on what matters. Ask yourself this question: What is the one (or two) things that if I did nothing else today would make me feel proud of my day? Once you figure that out start with those!
WAKE UP EARLY
This was the one thing that I struggled with more then anything. When you are already sleep deprived and overwhelmed the last thing you want to do is drag yourself out of a warm bed earlier then you have to. DO IT! Put on the pot of coffee, plan your day, get in your personal time (workout, read, do what feeds your soul) and get things done. Every mom knows that once the kids are awake the chances to quietly think and plan out your day, have personal time, get organized goes out the window. Getting your day started off on the right foot is imperative.
SET A SCHEDULE/TAKE BREAKS
Set a schedule for yourself. I don’t just mean a schedule of the things you want to get done in your day, I mean a schedule that also includes when you will spend quality time with your kids. This doesn’t mean that if your children ask for your attention that you demand they wait until an appointed time, it simply acts as a reminder for you to drop what you are doing to do even small things like reading a book with them, have a snack with them, go for a walk or do a craft with them. These little pockets of time feed your children’s need for love and attention and show them that no matter how busy you think they are important enough to make time for.
GET THEM INVOLVED
Children desire to feel needed and appreciated and take pride in a job well done. Harness this desire and get them involved in helping you check things off your list. It goes without saying that the tasks need to be age appropriate. In our home when we grocery shop we use this as an opportunity to teach her new things and to have her help us by selecting items. At home, she gets her own broom and special cleaner to clean up messes on the floor or clean windows. More often then not the crumbs are simply swept to new corners and the streaks on the windows just become larger. That really isn’t the point. The quality time together, the lessons taught and the pride she experiences are worth the effort.
There is only a short window of time in your children’s lives when they will seek out for attention. Then it will be you chasing them down begging for a minute of their time. Don’t be so lost in the responsibilities of your everyday living that you forget the greatest responsibility of all. You’ve got this mama, keep your eye on the end game and you’ll be alright.
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