In many parts of the world today is Mother's Day so I thought I would write a post about just how amazing mums are.
I am constantly amazed at how much other mums achieve while I seem to be just about treading water, and that's on the days my daughter is well and I've had enough sleep to function. Some of the best "mummy bloggers" (excuse the term) blog daily and have multiple children. Just how do they manage that without neglecting their children or having the house trashed while they type up their posts?
The truth is that us mums are all amazing. I'm not really sure what I did before my daughter arrived but now as a full time working mother of a "spirited" child I feel like I spend all my time working, caring for my daughter or sleeping. I generally have an hour in the evening after dinner and, if I'm lucky, nap time at weekends for "me" time. In these 11 hours a week I have a choice of blogging, doing charity work, online shopping or cleaning/ tidying. Should I really be surprised that my house is pretty much in the same condition as when I moved in 2 years ago and that my blog is sadly neglected?
It's all about choices.
I tend to choose having a nap or going to sleep early over blogging.
I usually choose playing with my daughter over cleaning (although now she is older I can sometimes get her to help).
I definitely choose filling a spare 5 minutes with twitter rather than something productive.
I have chosen working full time over spending more time with my daughter.
Other people make different choices, but we all do our best to balance out our needs with those of our family. Although it often doesn't feel like it there is a big difference between what I achieve now and what I achieved each day before I was a mother. Now at the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and thinking back over everything I have done that day I have achieved a lot.
As a quick example this was my Saturday morning:
6am M woke up, I went in to the nursery and we cuddled and nursed for about 45 mins.
We got up, went downstairs and had breakfast.
While M was still eating and afterwards as she played in the kitchen with me I emptied the dishwasher, refilled it and did a load of washing up.
We then took dry clothes off the airer, got I dressed and went to the Post Office and Homebase (no shower yet, oops)
Homebase was surprisingly entertaining for M so we were there for a while.
When we got home we were in the car for about half an hour as M decided she wanted to pretend to drive instead of going into the house.
We played in the house for a while with M's dad and then my mum arrived for a visit.
My mum played in the garden with M while I painted some of the shed.
Lunchtime for M.
More granny playtime for M while I reattached the felt to the shed roof that blew off in a gale this week.
Midday aand naptime for M. Phew
Each day there will be a combination of things that I have to do, things that I do to keep me sane (twitter definitely falls into that category) and many things I have chosen to do. By ensuring the right balance of activities I feel happier, calmer and more productive.
I have adapted Stephen Covey's 4 Quadrants for the life of a mum (Covey 1989, The 7 habits of Highly Effective People)
Everything in Quadrant 1 takes priority, but with some planning becomes less stressful (eg planning meals). People tend to spend most of their time in this quadrant, but by spending more time in other areas it helps prevent burn out.
It is recommended that spending more time in Quadrant 2 can make us more productive. By having a list it means I can plan and prioritise. Ticking things off the list reminds me I have achieved something. As an extra benefit my to do list is in a very nice notebook (a black moleskine, *love*).
Time in Quadrant 3 should be avoided. By reviewing which tasks normally fall into this quadrant you can identify what needs to be done, stop it if it's not needed or move it to quadrant 2 through planning.
In Quadrant 4 are the sort of activities that don't need to be done, but they can be used to have a break from everything else and recharge.
By expecting less from myself, planning more and reflecting I have realised that I am one of the amazing mums and I bet you are too.