by molly rouse
With this glance, my afternoon plans solidified. I would be able to catch up on emails, work, and house chores! We are at the point in toddlerhood when naps are a sometimes gift. They are the break I really need in the late afternoon to get stuff done after spending most of the day focused on child, or trying to get child to leave me alone for ONE minute so I can get some stuff done.
I remember when this was new, when my son was a baby and he was choosing our adventures. If baby goes to sleep, then A, B, and C; if baby doesn’t go to sleep, then D, E, and F. Planning and re-planning the day as baby eats, sleeps, cries, etc can be exhausting!
So, I was speeding down the highway to pick up my son, (who, thankfully likes downtime when he gets home from school, and welcomes his sister’s sleep) and I had a moment of recognition/empathy with moms who are new to this “your adventure is chosen for you” lifestyle. Your adventure is chosen by a small person who is unaware of the needs and desires of those around him/her.
This life with children is a dance. Sometimes it is fast and whirling, sometimes it is slow and sweet, but always there is unpredictability.
This is a huge shift upon having your first child. Before baby, we get used to planning our days out and following the plan – and now it’s a bit harder. Even if we can get it together to make a plan, it inevitably gets derailed, which can lead to frustration and resentment of the oblivious dictator ruling our lives.
Recently, a friend of mine shared that she is started to make “ta-da” lists instead of to-do lists. This is her way of acknowledging what IS getting done. What a great tool for all moms, new and veteran alike. We are keeping ourselves and offspring clean, fed, comfortable, and rested. That is quite a ta-da list right there!
Make “ta-da” lists instead of to-do lists! This is a great way of acknowledging what IS getting done.
I tend toward feeling overwhelmed, and often feel like I am walking on the edge. There is so much to juggle and prioritize! Now that I have a toddler, she goes to preschool and I have time to be productive, but a new baby is a different story. Here is some hard–won advice for new mamas:
- Put your phone somewhere you can’t look at it often. This helps you stay focused on the present moment.
- Do something each day to take care of yourself: a cup of tea, nourishing meal, nap, shower, exercise, clipping your nails alone, conversation with a friend, reading a page or 2 of a good book, etc. It doesn’t have to take long, but it needs to be a gift to yourself.
- Keep a ‘ta-da’ list of what you have accomplished each day. Brushing your teeth is to be applauded!
- Keep a ‘to-do’ list of things to chip away at when you have time. Otherwise you are trying to hold it all in your head, and then getting stressed because you might forget something.
- Choose one thing from the ‘to-do’ list to focus on each day. When you have a surprising free moment, you’ll know exactly what to tackle.
This life with children is a dance. Sometimes it is fast and whirling, sometimes it is slow and sweet, but always there is unpredictability. That is what keeps life interesting, really, right? “Variety is the spice of life.” Sometimes we mamas would rather be productive (as judged by the outside world) than have a spicy life…but we’re not the ones choosing the adventure!