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If you are a mom, no matter what your situation is, whether you work at an office, from home, or focus 100% on your family, you are probably chronically tired and the concept of productivity feels more like a survival kind of accomplishment. “I got through the day!” is probably one of your last thoughts before you pass out in your bed, very late at night after a very long day.
Because motherhood is the hardest job on earth, and the only one that doesn’t offer any sort of time off, next morning, the hectic cycle starts all over again, and it is most likely fueled by a constant rush to get things done as fast as possible. Get the kids ready for school, drive them back and forth, improvise a meal, run to the grocery store last minute to get a basic item, take a call, prepare for a meeting, schedule an appointment with the pediatrician, clean the house, do homework with the kids, and so on.
At some point, the never-ending to-do list continues to overwhelm you. Tiredness and frustration take control and it is hard to enjoy the day. The constant presence of stress leaves you feeling unproductive and unhappy, as in spite of your best effort, you feel you are not the best mom you can be and that you are not making the most out of your time. You are always reacting instead of being proactive.
Motherhood has in store much more than surviving the day. Happiness is a decision and productivity is a result.
Here is how to set yourself up for success and live your best day now, feeling happy and being productive:
Reset your mind
Hit the pause button, breathe, and visualize your new day as a blank page in a notebook. Every day is an opportunity to write a new story. Leave behind any negative thoughts and feelings and replace them with positive, kind, constructive thoughts that help you set the tone for the new day. My main source of positive thoughts and truths is the Bible. In that book, I have found inspiring words that bring peace to my soul, and guidance and strength for the new day. Do you have a source of inspiration to feed your mind and soul with inspiring thoughts?
Once your mind is in the right place, you have already written the first few lines in your blank page. You are ready for a brand new day! Now, think of three things you are grateful for and write them down. The power of writing goes beyond thoughts as you can always go back to your notes and remind yourself of reasons to feel blessed in the midst of a challenging circumstance or an unexpected obstacle. Big or small, these things you are grateful for will give you reasons to smile and will keep you focused on what you have instead of focusing on what you wish you had. Waking up to a new day and seeing my kids smile are at the top of my list.
Most moms are overachievers by nature. That usually means we think we can do it all, so we set unrealistic goals and when we don’t achieve them, we feel frustrated. Besides outlining your daily routine with to-do items on schedule, include only one big thing instead of everything you wish you could do in one day. If you have a doctor’s appointment, don’t commit to deliver on a big project at work, or to take the kids to their extracurricular activity. Simplify your day and be efficient with your time by committing to one big responsibility per day besides the day-to-day routine tasks you need to complete.
Plan your day in advance
Think of tomorrow and anticipate what you will need to make sure you are not running last minute because the uniforms are not clean, lunch boxes are not ready, you don’t have anything to wear, etc. Pre-plan your family’s meals and if you can cook the day before, do it! Leave everything as ready as possible the night before. I have found that even small things like leaving the coffeemaker ready, save me valuable time the next morning and help me enjoy my morning routine with the kids.
If mom is not ok, nobody in the family is ok. Moms have the power to set the tone for everyone’s day, every day. Your kids are watching, and as they grow up, your actions become louder than your words. If you set time aside to reset your mind, be grateful, fuel your body with wholesome foods and include some physical activity (even if just a few minutes) on a daily basis, you will be in great shape to be the happy mom and wife your family needs to see in you. With this in mind, try not to crash in bed every night. Build a nice, simple, healthy bedtime routine that allows you to relax, reset your mind and prepare for a restful night.
Do something kind for someone else and involve your kids
There is definitely more joy in giving than receiving. It makes us happy because we learn to take the focus off of ourselves and place it in someone or something else. If you carve out a few minutes of your day to do something kind for someone else, and involve your children, you will be not only seeding for your own happiness, but teaching your family a wonderful principle that will generate a positive impact in their lives. It could be something as simple as a phone call to a relative, sharing a meal with the guardian of your building or condominium, dropping off some clothes or toys for donation, or even complementing someone in a special way.