Well folks, I messed up. Let me start off by saying this: I HATE breaking promises. And, in my first/previous post, I told you I’d be back the next day with more juicy mama-focused time management tips for you and me. And well … that was 39 days ago. Wah wah. Royal fail.
As much as I didn’t want him to, Father Time got the best of me. The past month has been packed with multiple birthday celebrations, family gatherings, doctor visits, play dates and lots and lots of work both in the office and at home. And then I got a summer cold, and I’ve been walking around in a fog ever since.
I just couldn’t keep up and my big hopes and dreams for this fledgling little blog got pushed to the back burner. I’m sorry, peeps.
I know there are many reasons to keep my perspective and not complain, but I’ll tell ya, it’s been an exhausting summer. Due to “circumstances beyond my control,” (and that’s all I’m sayin’ about it) I have had almost ZERO alone time for the past couple months. That was the whole impetus for starting this blog. This will happen to all of us from time to time and sometimes, and when it’s out of your control, you just gotta power through.
So, what did I do to keep myself sane? I’ll admit, it was a challenge and I stumbled along the way, but I did find a few quick tweaks and tricks to keep me energized and help maintain my perspective. Perhaps, you’ll find a trick or two in here for you.
The only time I am not caring for my children is during work hours, and when they are around I want to be present for them and give them the love and attention they deserve. This means sneaking in moments of “Me-Time” when they are either asleep or happily engaged in a task of their own. These moments are fleeting and short, so “Me-Time” these days comes mostly in 5 to 20 minute spurts.
Here’s what has helped me through lately:
- Praying/meditating while my morning coffee is brewing – I recently got a Virgin Mary of Guadalupe candle for a mere $1 on a whim. When I brought it home, I set it on the kitchen windowsill next to my espresso maker. While I previously used to whimper to myself and mutter curses under my breath while waiting for my coffee to brew at 5:15 each morning, I have since started making better use of that time after offhandedly placing that candle nearby. Starting a “real” meditation practice has always seemed intimidating to me. And I fill my head with excuses: “I don’t have enough time, the right space, the right meditation pillow,” and on and on. But this, seems do-able to me. Now, after I turn on the espresso maker to start brewing, I light up Mary and set my intentions for the day, thanking the powers that be for all my blessings and asking them to help get me through another day. And before I know it, I’m rewarded with a hot cup of nectar of the Gods. Total time spent: 5 minutes.
- Baths & Showers – Make the most of them, ladies. Hello aromatherapy oils and Epsom salts! A couple years ago before I had kids, a girlfriend called me on her cell. As we were chatting away, I noticed a strange echo and she divulged that she was hiding in the bathroom, since it’s the only place her kids won’t interrupt her. I found it sort of funny at the time, and now I see the genius. Ah yes, sacred space. It’s amazing what a difference 10 minutes in the tub can make to wash away the stressors of the day. Plus, you go to bed with softer, sweeter smelling skin to boot. My personal favorite: Epsom Salts (lots of ’em) and Aura Glow Rose Oil. (Little tip: this one is best attempted after wee ones are asleep.) Total time spent: 20 minutes, max.
- Running on my Lunch Hour – Again, having zero time during non-working hours where I am child free, squeezing in exercise is a big challenge. I have found that my lunch hour is really the only practical time for me to do so. Lucky for me, I’m blessed with access to a corporate gym with a shower, and miles of spectacular hike and bike trails just minutes from my office. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is one of my local favorites. I try to get out and run the trails (weather permitting) three days a week. And when I do, I get the added bonus of becoming WAY more productive during the second half of my day. Total time spent: 45 minutes.
- Gratitude Lists – Years ago, during a particularly bleak time in my life, a dear mentor of mine told me to start counting my blessings the moment I open my eyes in the morning. I can still hear her voice saying, “No matter how small, take notice. Count your fingers and your toes, wrap your arms around yourself and be grateful that you can run, walk, sing and dance.” So now, I try as often as I can to write my gratitude list and “take notice,” as she so wisely advised. There are always the basics – food on your table, a roof over your head, a healthy, happy family – but your list can be as simple or as granular as you like. It’s all about taking stock and realizing how good you’ve got it. This is not hard to do when you consider the profound suffering taking place in other parts of the world today. I promise, you will be amazed by how energized you will feel by utilizing this simple, free and extremely valuable practice. Total time spent: 5 minutes max.
- Headphones and iTunes – When your energy is flagging and ingesting another cup of coffee would just be downright dangerous, pop in those earbuds. I have my go-to list of songs that will energize me, prop me up and give me the oomph I need to get through another day. Some are lighthearted (Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” without fail, every time.) and some have become my battle cry, like this song by Dessa, which reminds me that I am a woman WARRIOR and oh yeah, I got this. Total time spent: 3 minutes and 11 seconds.
There you have it. Roughly one hour of glorious Me Time every day if you want it.
Oh yeah, I got this. And so do you.
WE got this. We just forget sometimes.