Photo Credit: Ariel Skelley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
As busy moms, we're constantly inundated with messages like, "Take time for yourself," but in reality, finding 30 minutes during the day to meditate or take a bubble bath is a lot easier said than done. Unfortunately, no matter how much scrambling and organizing you do, even into the wee hours of the night, as soon as that first ray of sunlight peeks through your window shade and you lift your sleepy head off your pillow, you instinctively shift into mom-on-auto-pilot mode. As you begin your day's quest to accomplish the insurmountable, there are literally not enough hours to come up for air, let alone meditate!
So what's a busy, slightly stressed and overwhelmed mom to do? If you're Lisa Earle McLeod, working mom of two and the author of Forget Perfect, you make a conscious decision to be more discerning about the projects you decide to take on and those you choose to refuse. And, ultimately, you realize that the secret to staying sane and happy is being able to say "no" and focusing on the things you're fabulous at and the people you love. Who cares if your kids don't have clean underwear?!
Here are some strategies to help you embrace the chaos in your life:
The myth of perfect balance has us teetering on a tightrope of sanity as we frantically juggle the plates of our compartmentalized lives. Instead of worrying about the moments you're missing, be fully present for the moments you're in. Composing your grocery list while phoning your mother or planning a PowerPoint presentation while you're having sex doesn't make you more productive. It just keeps you detached from your real life.
Think Love, Not Laundry:
Instead of mindlessly grinding through tasks hoping you'll get some love or appreciation, make a decision to bring love into everything you do. Whether it's family, work or dog grooming, love is the cornerstone of happiness. You may still have to clean away the dust bunnies, but when you decide that your life is about expressing and feeling love, leftover pizza boxes don't seem so gross.
Ooze Talent. We're at our best as human beings when our daily lives are in congruence with who we are inside and when we're connected with others. Get clear on your own fabulous skills and talents, switch off Dancing with the Stars and do the tango of life with the people around you.
Pursue Passion. If you can't get excited about doing it, then don't do it! Whether it's the PTA or a full-time job, if you keep doing it long after you want to, it will only be a matter of time before the people you're doing it for are as unhappy with you as you are with them. Only do things you can get passionate about.
Unfold, Don't Mold. Your children aren't science projects you're going to be graded on. Your job isn't to make them into something they're not; it's to help them discover who they already are inside. Parenting isn't about turning a blob into a piece of art; it's about unfolding a masterpiece.