Hands Free Mama" by Rachel Stafford. I have to admit that it wasn't my favorite book of all times, but there were definitely some step-on-your-toes moments. I was also able to take away a few tips that will become a normal part of my routine as a mama living a more intentional life. I'd like to share one of them with you.
You know when "they" tell you that in order to get good sleep you need to start winding down your day (and body) 30 minutes to an hour before actually getting in bed? That means getting off electronics and putting the final touches on the to-do list for the next day. These small actions help you mentally unwind, allowing your body to become more relaxed, making it easier to fall asleep peacefully.
While reading this book I was prompted to think through my day at some of the most stressful times in my day, and for me it is the time between the kids getting home from school and the time dinner finally gets placed on the table. I have 4 kids to help with homework while browning the ground beef, snacks to juggle while cooking the rice, papers to sign while chopping the veggies, folders to empty while scraping the bottom of the pan that I just burned from the overly-browned ground beef (I really have an issue with multitasking stove-top activities and anything else;), and...Jude to manage. I tend to start commanding instead of asking, talking loudly instead of tenderly, and getting unrealistically impatient.
I decided that I wanted to try to eliminate some of those not-so-good mama moments by being a little more proactive prior to the kids rushing the backdoor demanding their favorite snack. So I gave myself a mental cut-off time to begin winding myself down and getting ready for the Colony and the needs they have for their mama.
For me, the time is 3:30pm.
This gives me a good 15-20 minutes to unwind mentally from the tasks I've been pouring into and shift to the next part of my day. Meaning, less distractions and more intentional focus on the kids.
I CANNOT be in the middle of a deep post, or balancing the dwindling bank account, or settling insurance claims on the phone and expect to be mentally capable of being the mom I need to be when the kids get home from school, so I need to plan accordingly.
I want to be finished with projects by 3:30 or at least getting to a stopping place.
I want to have as much dinner prep done by that time as well.
I try to have the house picked up enough so I'm not tripping over toys before 4 more Colony kids walk through the door, adding to the chaos.
At 3:30 I want to be winding down and mentally preparing for the second half of the day.
This isn't always feasible but it is the goal that I work toward every day. And I don't always make it a priority and it is on those days that I pay for it in meltdowns by everyone involved, including me!
This time not only helps ME but it gives the kids an easier afternoon because their mom is typically more mentally and emotionally present. Plus it allows Jude and I some snuggle time on the hammock as we wait for the kids to walk through the field:).
Do you have a time(s) in the day where you can almost count on the blood pressure rising or the panic setting in from being overwhelmed or completely stressed out? Maybe you can set up some boundaries for yourself to help eliminate the distraction to be able to focus on what is important at that specific time.