Being a mom often feels like every minute of every day is filled with chores, errands, and shuttling kids to all their different activities. In addition to that, many of us have jobs that take up huge chunks of time. It’s easy to lose your sense of self with all the responsibilities that are piled on your plate. When this happens, it’s all too easy to slide into burnout or a serious case of the grumpies.
It’s time to take some of yourself back. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a chance to do something you love, it might be hard to even remember what those things are. That’s okay. Your interests will shift with time, your age, and your personal experience. What you used to love when you were a teenager might be annoying now. A thing you thought was really dumb that your parents did, now sounds nice to try.
Make a list of all the things you love to do – or even better – have always wanted to try. Make the list as long as possible, aim for twenty. Put crazy stuff on there. You might find it hard at first to give yourself permission to write down the things you really want, do it anyway. It’s just paper, you aren’t committing, just dreaming. Let your imagination go!
You’ll find that some items are fairly easy and inexpensive. Choose one, and make a plan to fit it into your schedule. When possible, make it a family activity.
Be bold in trying the things that you think would be interesting, take an art class, try karate, explore a musical instrument, watch a tutorial on something you’re interested in. Take the first step. You’ll never find the thing you love, the thing that defines you, unless you experiment with lots of different ideas.
I have a tendency to jump into situations with both feet without a lot of thought about balance or long-term plans. When I first became a mom, I believed that to be a good mom meant to sacrifice every moment ensuring the kids were happy and my home healthy. Whether we like it or not, our culture tends to scream this message at young moms without providing any support for them to do so.
It wasn’t long before I became a literal zombie – a mombie, as it were… I wasn’t taking care of myself, wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t getting enough exercise, and certainly wasn’t doing anything I personally liked. On the other hand, I have the entire script of Cars memorized, so there’s that.
I didn’t figure out that there has to be a balance between caring for myself and caring for the kiddos for several years. If I were to travel back in time and talk to myself, the first thing I’d share is the importance of balance. I’m far from perfect now, if anything I might have swung the opposite direction in hyper-focusing on my business and not enough on the house and myself.
Ugh, balance can be so hard – but it’s totally worth it.