I am a mom to an almost 2 year old child who is too smart for his own good. He is my greatest blessing, but he also exhausts me. I’m married to an engineer who, at times, has an unpredictable work schedule due to emergencies. By day, you’ll find me in the classroom teaching middle school English and by night/weekend, you’ll find me spending time with said 2 year old, as well as working on a personal blog and a small business my husband and I started together. To say that I am spread thin is an understatement.
I think, as moms, we are all guilty of giving it all to everyone or trying to do it all until we are completely dried up, miserable, cranky, and downright exhausted. I struggle with this on a cellular level and have spent the last several months really trying to be conscious about creating some boundaries for myself because I was getting worn out. These are 5 simple changes I’ve made that have truly made all the difference for me. This is not to say I have it all figured out, but I have learned to manage myself a little better with these tips.
1. Wake up early.
I realize this is probably the most dreaded answer anyone ever hears, but sis, it is the truest thing of life. If I don’t get up before the rest of my family, I feel like I get zero time alone. I am a person who NEEDS to be by myself to think, unwind, and unplug. When I fail to get up early, I usually end up feeling terrible and I’m cranky. I have legitimately had to succumb to the fact that oversleeping makes me a nightmare on wheels. However, those early AM wakeup calls have allowed me to get in some me time or some productivity that has to be done no matter what like laundry or lunch boxes. I currently wake up at 4:30 AM on weekdays and have been doing so for several months. I understand that 4:30 AM is an offensive hour, but right now, it’s my only option! I’ve managed to make it work and actually commit to it which is quite honestly impressive. I didn’t realize how badly I needed this and every time I fall off the wagon, I know exactly how to make myself snap back into feeling good.
2. Move your body.
I try to work out 4 times a week in a class setting and on the weekends, I’m active with my husband and son outdoors. Moving around for at least 30 minutes a day makes me feel at peace. I am a fan of an early morning workout, which is why I frequent the 5:00 AM workout class. However, I know this isn’t the best idea for everyone. It’s the only time I can go, so right now it’s working to me. Unfortunately, there are many days where I curse myself for this routine, but the benefits in my mental health and clarity make it totally worth it. Find something you like to do and grant yourself the luxury of 30 minutes to an hour a few days a week to get it done. You’ll thank yourself, I swear!
3. Set boundaries with work.
I feel like working from home has blurred a lot of lines between personal and professional time, which is my only complaint. I don’t have the option to work from home, but I do feel like there are unrealistic expectations at times in terms of what things I should be accomplishing outside my standard work hours. I’ve learned that in order for me to be personally well, I can’t take my work home. I have other projects I work on in my free time that I’m not willing to sacrifice for my day job’s tasks. Having hard boundaries with my job has really helped me unplug when I’m at home and give myself more fully to my family.
4. Social media isn’t everything.
I’m a person who shares quite a bit on social media, but I’ve also learned that my relationship with it can lean toward being unhealthy. I’ve decided to change the way I engage with and interact on social platforms because they have started to take up too much of my life. This is something I struggle with tremendously and I imagine other people do too. I also had to learn the hard way that sometimes the unfollow button can be your best friend. I don’t let myself follow people who make me feel bad or insecure. If I’m going to spend my time scrolling social media, I might as well make sure I’m looking at people/sources that motivate, inspire, and teach me something positive rather than just make me want to add stuff to my amazon cart or make me feel lesser than physically. A social media self-check has been one of my greatest blessings lately, and it’s something I plan on continuing to do on a regular basis.
5. Find out who your friends are.
Friendships as we get older tend to become complicated. Sometimes we hang on to friendships for the sake of time and others because of genuine love and adoration. I have learned which friends bring out the best in me and who are people I can count on when I need something. I’ve also learned which friends make me a person and encourage me to be a better friend. Although my friend circle has gotten smaller in some ways since becoming a mom, I do know that it’s filled with people who truly love me and support me, which is all I could ever ask for. Don’t let people bring you down! It’s totally not worth the stress/anxiety it brings into your life. I’ve had to learn that the hard way.
I hope these tips are helpful to some other mamas out there who need to fill their cups a little! Don’t forget to prioritize yourself too so you can be your best for those you love the most.