TIPS 1-5

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Tip 5: Live life as a guilt-free momma

Is it just me or does it seem like everywhere we look there are posts designed to make us feel bad?

“The 10 parenting habits that are harming your children.” “How to Complete Every Pinterest Project while Keeping the House Spotless and Making a Fantastic Dinner while Being a Present Parent.” “Are You Setting the Best Example?” ARGH! Enough already! Here’s one for you: “Don’t Beat Yourself Up!” I have felt the pressure and the anxiety—throw the perfect party, have the kids enrolled in sports, show you care by being on the PTO. How DARE you drop your child off to school in PAJAMAS?!?! A few sayings have helped me combat the Momma Guilts:

 

You only have an obligation to keep yourself and your children happy, most of the time

Your kid is not going to be happy all the time, and usually when they’re not it’s because they have a good mom. Keep in mind—the rough times foster the greatest parenting opportunities. It is hard to see your child upset, but let go of the guilt and remember to trust your motherly instincts. You know what’s best. And a note on happiness: it’s really hard for your kids to be happy if you’re not. Take time to work on yourself. Don’t forget about yourself. After all, you are your kids’ most important person. Stop worrying about keeping up with the neighbors and the PTO President; her parenting style isn’t better than yours. You both do what’s best for your family.

 

Be happy with what you accomplished, and don’t feel guilty for the things that have to wait

I have to remind 6 constantly that there are only so many hours in the day and that sometimes things have to be rescheduled. Instead of worrying about disappointing her, I use it as an opportunity to show her that things pop up in the “real world” and you just gotta roll with the punches. Be proud of yourself and your children for that day’s accomplishments and show them that we don’t need to stress over the desire for perfection.

 

They won’t remember the expensive toys. They’ll remember the time shared

Think back to your childhood. What were your favorite memories? Do you remember the most expensive gift you ever receieved? Was it all it was cracked up to be? Or do you think about tickles and laughter and smiles and playing? Kids don’t need everything you can afford to give them. Often living with less encourages character. Don’t feel bad about what you can’t afford. Spend that energy playing with your kids or going on a walk. Create a free family tradition like Movie or Game Night. And nights when you’re exhausted and can’t read that fourth book? Well, that’s okay too.

 

What are your mantras that help keep the Momma Guilt at bay? Let me know below! <3, M

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Tip 4: Procrastination kills

Okay, maybe a dramatic title to catch your attention, but procrastination really does throw you off your game and makes your life dramatically harder…

Don’t set yourself up for failure

You know you need to get the task done anyway, so why set yourself up for failure? By the way, this is what I tell myself daily. It has taken me a long time to combat procrastination and task-avoidance. I have found through my trials and tribulations that there are a variety of different reasons why people procrastinate.

 

Reason #1: You don’t enjoy the work

It’s harder to tackle a lengthy paper or reorganize your closet when you’d rather be doing something else. However, those are the crucial times when your reasoning needs to remind your instincts that you’ll thank yourself in the long run for having an organized closet and for not being up all night completing a paper the day before it’s due. If it NEEDS to be done, it needs to be done. No point in dragging it out and stressing over it.

 

Reason #2: You can’t make a decision

I often put off choices and struggle with coming to a decision. I have learned that I do this when neither option is the right one. If I can’t come to a decision, I need to create an alternative. If I can’t decide if I should visit friends over the weekend or spend it on the couch, it’s because I know I really should spend that time studying and playing with 6.

 

Reason #3: The task is overwhelming

It stresses us out and overpowers our senses when projects are daunting. It’s hard to see the finish line when it’s so far out. Often this anxiety makes us just throw our hands up from the get-go and give up. The key to combating this anxiety is to break the huge project up into small manageable tasks. If you can’t complete the project in a day’s time, you need to do it in parts. Maybe just sort the laundry into piles the first day. Takes twenty minutes while you’re watching your favorite TV show. Then wash a few loads the next day. That will give you the motivation to put it all away the third day: because you’re so close to the finish line. Remember—it always seems hard until it’s DONE.

image depicting the vicious circle of procrastination

The Vicious Circle of Procrastination
Art by Paige Martin

How do you combat procrastination? Let me know below! <3, M

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Tip 3: Get your zzzzz’s

Sleep. Oh glorious sleep. Something that can improve all areas of our life, but something we also put last on the priority list. You’ve heard it for years–how it’s imperative to get your eight hours. I am no better, and often skip counting my sheep. That’s why I’m hoping we can help each other on this… I will share some things that have worked for me on this post and I will try your suggestions if you leave a comment!

 

Set a deadline

It’s easy to neglect sleep when your to-do list is never ending. Being a student, working a 9-5, spending time with your family, managing housework and homework–there’s never enough hours in the day. That’s why I suggest scheduling sleep just like any other deadline. My biggest reoccurring theme you will see throughout my posts is it takes around 30 days for a new habit to form. If you can make it 30 days, it will become second nature. Schedule the hours you have in the evening with your bedtime being the deadline. If you know you only have 30 minutes allotted to finish the dishes and switch the laundry, it will make your evening run smoother. Try your hardest for 30 days to stick to your schedule and get the daily stuff done when it needs to be done and get to bed on time.

 

Set a bedtime

Personally, I find that my attitude suffers the worst when I’m sleep deprived. It becomes a slippery slope. If you wake up tired, are irritable and cranky, then your whole day is an uphill battle. So to hold yourself accountable for your bedtime, remind yourself that it will produce a more productive day tomorrow. Remind yourself that your family will appreciate your better spirits. Remind yourself that it will ease your tension and stress. Remind yourself that it’s important.

 

Set a routine

Besides deadlines, I also find that I benefit from a bedtime routine just like my daughter does! It tells our bodies that it’s almost time to get sleepy. Whether it’s a warm bath, reading a chapter of your assigned reading, or just having a cup of tea, do just one thing at the same time each evening that will trigger your mind that it’s time for bed. This will also allow you to not fight your own deadline. I challenge you to do it for 30 days.

What sleep schedule works for you? Let me know below!  <3, M

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Tip 2: You need to eat

Food is a necessary evil. Ya it’s delicious (unless you’re dieting) but it takes prep and time, just like everything else. From home to work to class to gymnastics, I got one word for ya: SNACKS. I always keep my desk stocked with healthy filling snacks like almonds, dried fruit, popcorn, and a jar of peanut butter. I stash fresh fruit and veggies in the work fridge and bring them to class with me. Avoid the drive-thru! It is not your friend. And above all, don’t starve yourself!

 

Only go shopping once a week

Trust me, I know how hard it is to conceptualize, shop, and prep for dinner 5 nights a week, snacks for class, breakfasts on-the-go, etc. My advice? Pick a day. Pick one day a week to do all your shopping and organize your weekly meals. For me, it’s Monday night. Not as crowded as Sunday. I make a list and have 6 highlight what we get as we go through the store. This keeps her entertained. Also helps her with her reading! (; When we get home, I cut up all the fruits and veggies and put them in Tupperware and/or plastic baggies so that throughout the week I can just grab them and go.

 

Try some freezer-friendly crockpot recipes

I love meals that allow me to put the raw ingredients in a freezer bag, pop it in the freezer, and throw it in the crockpot in the morning. When you get home after your busy day, dinner’s ready! Here’s a few of my favorites from Kojodesigns: http://kojo-designs.com/2013/02/more-freezer-crockpot-recipes-2/

 

Mason jars are your friend

I love mason jars. I make oatmeal and fruit mixes in small mason jars for easy grab-and-go breakfasts. They’re convenient, cheap, easy, and nutritious! Check them out here from The Yummy Life: http://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Oatmeal

I also layer salad ingredients in the large mason jars for easy lunches. It’s my favorite way to stay healthy on the go. You put the dressing and veggies in the jar first and lettuce on top. Then, when you’re ready to eat just shake the jar and pour into a bowl! Mason jar salads have really helped me avoid the fast food line. Here are my favorite recipes thanks to Philadelphia Magazine: http://www.phillymag.com/be-well-philly/2014/02/12/instagramable-lunch-ever-14-healthy-mason-jar-salad-recipes/

It is possible to have a busy life and eat healthy!

 

container of healthy snacks

travel snacks!

 

How do you plan your meals? Let me know below! <3, M

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Tip 1: Organization

To the untrained eye, I would not seem organized. But I know that my “clutter” is actually organized chaos. I am by no means the authority on organization, but to be a juggler of many hats, you gotta prep. 6 is in kindergarten and gymnastics. Momma has class three nights a week and a full-time job. And you’d be amazed how just a lil night-before prep will save your sanity.

 

Night before prep

lunches packed? Check. Clothes laid out? Sometimes. Both backpacks ready to go? Check. Lay out the clothes and leotards and books and shoes the night before, and save yourself from searching for the “pretty pink leotard that has the frills and sparkles!!!” when the bus leaves in 10 minutes.

 

Another note on organization: LISTS

ohhhhhh how I love me some lists!!!! Just embrace the fact now that you won’t remember. Nope, you won’t remember that PTO money is due Friday and the class party Thursday and the work lunch pitch-in and oh crap, that exam is tomorrow!! Lists are your friend. I love the reminder iPhone app that lets me keep multiple lists and search for keywords. It also lets you set reminder alarms. When you’re a working student momma, this is a must!

 

pic of iPhone reminder lists

iPhone reminder lists

 

How do you stay organized? Let me know below! <3, M