I have the best intentions at the start of the week. I am going to work out 30 minutes a day, I am going to meal prep and eat only fruits, veggies, and lean meats, I am going to play with my kids as soon as I get home from work and then do my homework for 2 hours after they are in bed, I am going to not spend more than I budgeted for any category…. Then Tuesday comes and I am exhausted from exercising and only eating fruits, veggies, and lean meats, I end up feeding the kids pizza which wasn’t in the budget, yelling at them to get to bed so I can do my homework except I crash with my clothes still on and my computer on my lap. Sound a little familiar?
One Small Step For Me
The best plan is the one you can stick with, build upon, and adjust. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP WHEN YOU STUMBLE A LITTLE BIT. Instead of trying it all at one time try one thing.
- Drink more cup of water today than yesterday
- Eat some berries with breakfast
- Have a salad for lunch or a snack between lunch and dinner (my favorite time because then I don’t eat so much dinner)
- Go for a walk before or after work with the kids
- Get the dishes done today
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator today
- Go to bed on time tonight
Accomplish your small betterment and do it again tomorrow. When that becomes a habit, choose another goal for yourself. In a month you will be able to look back and see how much you have changed for the better, all without even really trying. When you overdo it, you Don’t do it. Keep it Simple.
Being Tired is a Lifestyle, Not an Excuse
Sorry mommies, being tired can not be an excuse. You will be tired for the rest of your life. When the kids get old enough to sleep through the night and not come in to wake you up at 6 am, you will still stay up some nights worried about how they are doing, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with. “Mommy tired” is a whole category of tired by itself. It’s time to stop using it as an excuse. We are all there, sure some days are worse but overall this is how it is. I don’t say this to overwhelm you, I say this to motivate you.
Ignoring everything because you are tired will not make you better. Instead of sitting on the couch to watch 2 hours of TV Try This:
- Do some squats, lunges, jumping jacks, etc while you watch
- Commit to only 1 hour of TV, Read a book for the other hour
- On commercials get something picked up or
- Grab your nail polish and count it as your ME time
Keep Meal Plans Simple Yet Hopeful
Don’t go overboard and think you are going to cook something cool and new every night of the week. Having 3-4 meals that you can make in about 15 minutes that you all love and will always have the ingredients for can make a difference in the whole evening routine. Our favorites are grilled cheese, homemade mac and cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce. I will always have those ingredients in the pantry because when I am tired I have no excuse to not make dinner when it is so simple.
The older kids know how to make these dinners and some of their own as well. If they are done with their homework they can cook dinner. If they are not done yet, they can still help most of the time. Begin teaching your children early how to do things in the kitchen. They will learn quickly and start doing things on their own until they are old enough to cook their own variations of their favorite dinners. My 13 year old loves to bake. I will sometimes come home and she has made a full cake on her own! She likes to cook and usually tries a simple new recipe once a week or so.
Only plan 1-3 “fancy” meals per week. It takes a lot of energy and time to cook a new meal. Shopping for different ingredients, reading the instructions over and over, etc. It’s great to try new things! If your fancy meal you planned actually comes to fruition then great! But it’s nice to have the backup ideas for when your dreams don’t come true that evening.
Something good for everyone to know is to find your own stride. Some people have a lot of energy in the morning, some have a lot of energy at night. This is my natural schedule:
Early Morning-Scattered Focus and High Energy. I can blow through the whole house and it will be spotless but trying to focus my mind on anything is difficult. I use the early morning to get my dishes put away, do any leftover dishes from yesterday, get a load of laundry in, get myself and the kids ready for the day, and do one other cleaning project. In my life, if it doesn’t get done in the morning, I am not likely to get it done.
Late Morning to Early Afternoon-High Focus and Medium Energy. I am able to complete things at this time of day that requires more focus. I work during this time and I am very productive. I do not have any distractions because I mindfully and purposefully put them away. The kids are generally good during this time, it’s easy for them to go outside or work on their own projects.
Mid Afternoon-Low Energy and Low Focus. Unless I have a continued project I am working on, I reserve this time for the mindless work I have. If I got less than 5 hours of sleep I may even sleep for 10-20 minutes to get my mind back for the evening.
Early Evening-Low Energy and High Focus. This is the time that if I haven’t completed something for work, I will be able to sit down and get it done. I get dinner started and make sure the kids are good on their homework. I get another cleaning project done (small 5-15 minutes only) and we usually go outside for a little sunshine and a pick-me-up.
Late Evening-Medium Energy and Medium Focus. This is my homework time. I am able to focus enough to learn but not enough to get creative with anything (which is why I don’t work). I can follow directions but to do anything on my own would not be completed.
Knowing and understanding my energy pattern helps me be productive. I don’t put things off that I know I will not have the energy for later. Start writing down what you are feeling throughout the day and you will see a pattern in your energy and focus as well. You will be able to prioritize projects and allow for the rest you may need to take throughout the day.
Keep It Simple
The bottom line is if you keep it simple, you are more likely to follow through. Know and understand yourself and your kids so when you plan something, it will get done. It will feel easier when you make small movements toward what you really want, which is balance in your life, right?
One huge project will leave you tired and resentful, instead set a small goal, crush it and move to the next small goal. By this time tomorrow, you will be a little better off than you were today.
Small Goals = Massive Accomplishments
Make Good, Simple Meals
When You Stumble, Try Again
Peace and Balance,