The first picture was me; the second picture was me. The third picture is an unplanned me after the energies of the earth aligned and forced me to break.
It’s been a whirlwind of events these last few months. Though I’m not complaining as it has worked out for good, it has been draining. To start it off my husband accepted a job in another state and was starting almost immediately. I was left behind to keep everything together with our children, finish up the school year and now prep our house to sell. Ironically, I had just finished a stint at a studio I was working to pursue other opportunities which afforded me a bit more available time. Yet, I found myself in a tailspin of chores.
It didn’t stop. Our realtor suggested we get the house on the market sooner than later, within two weeks to be exact. I accepted the challenge! WHY, did I accept the challenge? Find a painter, clean baseboards, move furniture, replace broken things, throw stuff out. All while helping with schoolwork, keeping my three-year-old occupied, finding a point in the day to eat. Some days I forgot to eat. I know I lost at least 10 pounds with going up and down the stairs shifting boxes from here to there. It paid off because we had an offer on the house within 6 hours and a deal made within 12. Slow down? Oh no, now we had to move.
The children and I moved into our temporary housing, my grandmother’s old house, while my husband was in the new city looking for something more permanent. Well you know I couldn’t be out of the loop, so several trips back and forth on the weekends to learn our new city. I told myself that it wasn’t bad because it was only a two hour drive each way. Totally doable right? Meanwhile, I had a couple of out-of-town trips previously scheduled which any mother knows involves much more that just packing a bag. Lay out clothes for the kids, plan what they will eat, and activities while I’m gone. Might as well since I’d only get several phone calls asking “What do you want them to wear? What are they going to eat? Did you have something planned for them to do?” Sure, you may be saying my husband could have figured it out, as I sit here pouring conditioner in my daughter’s hair because it’s so tangled after a night watched by said husband.
Fast forward! We made it to our new city. It’s obvious to me that we all cannot stay in my husband’s digs for long. One word, efficiency. The housing search continues. My husband doesn’t want another mortgage for a while, and I compromise with an apartment with a pool. These children can’t run me ragged without an energy outlet. We find a place on Tuesday and move in the next Friday. Unpacking, finding furniture, setting up bedrooms, cooking, taking the kids to swimming lessons, oh and job searching ensued for me!
I realize that I am exhausted, but I must keep going. I’m at least telling myself that I must take time for myself because if I’m not well I can’t possibly take care of anyone else. I let my routines fall by the waist side. My once growing fingernails look atrocious from cleaning so much. My skin is desperate for a body scrub and massage. I need a good facial too. I can’t do it right now because this weekend I have a training to attend. At the time it sounded fine. Leave the house at 5:30 am, drive two and 1/2 hours to the training after packing the car full of stuff to take to the new apartment, then drive four hours after the training to my new home. I made plans to meet a friend for dinner after the training since she lived nearby and so I’d get home about 10 pm. No biggie. I’ve been getting up early and staying up late for the last 3 months.
The universe had a different say so. One hour left on my drive to the training and a tire blew out. AAA to the rescue to put on my tire donut, and off I go to find a tire center on a Sunday. Luckily, I was one exit away from one and I was able to get a new tire. I had to forego the training at this point, so I text my friend to see if brunch was an option instead. I finished the rest of my drive and explored downtown Greenville, SC for brunch and great conversation and laughs! It was so necessary.
I’ve been longing for adult conversation. My children are great, but it’s not much I can add to the conversation about walking like a camel and dancing with elephants. These are actual songs they’ve found and sing all day long. My husband doesn’t talk much beyond his job and zones out when I talk to him about anything else. I’ve given up. I’ve become overburdened.
I read an article that read “Overburdened and stressed-out women are not hard to find, according to articles and blogs nationwide. Look in the mirror, or talk to your best friend or neighbor, and you will discover another household taskmaster who is juggling work, volunteering, raising kids, and managing every detail that falls between morning and night. Experts have a name for it: Mental overload, the process in which women who multitask as the CEO of the household try to balance ridiculously busy lives. Underlying the managing of digital calendars, chauffeuring kids to piano lessons and meeting work deadlines is the emotional labor women undergo to manage the feelings and emotions of everyone circling within their orbit—and all of this adds up to serious emotional and physical tolls. This health scenario affects all women of all ages and lifestyles, experts say. But there are many things women can do to alleviate stress and find balance, including exercise, meditation and advocating for their own health.”
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I’m giving back to me. I’m waking up early to do my personal workouts before my children can interrupt or distract me. I’m taking naps during the day when I just feel so exhausted, I can’t go on. I’m setting up a space to get back into daily meditation. I got back into coloring my hair. Right now, it’s blue which shifts to a purplish color in the sun. My facials are commencing this weekend. Now that I’m in a new town it’ll be fun to find a new nail salon, restaurants, and places to hang out. One of the biggest shifts for me is running personal errands after my husband gets home from work. If I can have the children for 10 hours, he can surely handle them for an hour or so after work.
Below is a list of other things we overburdened women can do to get back and give back to ourselves. I’m embracing some of these as well. Which will you choose?
10 Ways to Ease Your Burden If you’re going to be the family CEO, then act like a CEO by delegating and putting systems into place that will ease your burden. Here are a few ideas to start now.
1. Streamline Meals. Declare standard meals for certain nights of the weeks, such as Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday or Spaghetti Wednesday, and then delegate those meals to other capable members of the family.
2. Embrace the Carpool. Find another over-stretched mom at your child’s practice (trust us, she won’t be hard to find) and chat with her about the idea of starting a carpool so you each have certain nights or weeks where this task is completely removed from your schedule.
3. Get Kids Involved. Delineate clear tasks with a points system (for example: take out the garbage = 1 point, clean the toilets = 3 points, etc.) on written notecards. As each child completes a task, they place the card in a basket. Each card in the basket (or reaching a certain points mark) goes toward a reward.
4. Take Advantage of Convenience. You may just be in the life stage where it makes sense to pay a little more for the pre-cut veggies or to take advantage of a cleaning service or dinner prep service. What is a take that takes up too much of your precious time? There’s probably a convenience item or serve that can make your life easier.
5. Do Errands in One Swoop. Make a list of 10 or so errands you must do and knock them out in a single block of time. Pay all bills digitally at the same time. Pick up all cards and gifts for the next month or two in one trip. Make a single or twice monthly trip to the bank, pharmacy or post office. Try to schedule all doctor or dentist appointments at a convenient time on the same day.
6. Make Extra Meals. Cook meals in big batches and freeze leftovers for the days when there’s no time or energy to get dinner on the table. Soups, casseroles, pasta dishes and cooked meat all freeze and thaw well.
7. Get Out of Your Head. Make a list of everything that needs to get done in one place (a physical paper list or on your smartphone) in the order of priority. Just writing out the list can relieve stress that you’ll forget something and will give you a clear plan of what to tackle next.
8. Unplug at Night. Every evenings, enforce a no-electronics rule for you and anyone in your home where all devices must be closed down at a certain hour. This gives your minds time to unwind and greatly increases your odds of sleeping well.
9. Treat Yourself. Each week, choose something that you’re doing only for yourself, whether it’s a yoga or fitness class, massage, self-improvement class, lunch or coffee with friends, or a trip to the quietest corner of your local library.
10. Say No. You can’t do everything, and only you can make the decision about where, when and how to share your talents, time and energy. Say no the next request or project that doesn’t fit in or bring you joy, and do so unapologetically.
“Portions of this post was provided by New Hope Network. I am a member of the New Hope Influencer Co-op, a network of health and wellness bloggers committed to spreading more health to more people.” Excerpt taking from the article "Task Masteress" Article Credit: Julie Marshall Art Credit: New Hope Network