I was initiated into “Club Motherhood” August 22, 2016 at 10:15 AM. This club is not exclusive or glamorous, it is a club that will rip you open and give you perspective...at least that is what it has done for me. To say motherhood has been a rollercoaster ride would be an understatement to say the least. This journey has forced me to prioritize what is important and become more efficient and effective with my time. This has been extremely difficult for me because I tend to be a “people pleaser,” have a difficult time saying no, and have perfectionism tendencies.
One of the first ways I said “no” was to take away what wasn’t serving me. This included nice but unnecessary business pleasantries such as weekly newsletters… I just couldn’t keep up with the weekly commitment and failing to hit the mark would leave me feeling guilty and deflated. So, I decided to temporarily ditch the mass newsletters and stick to personalized e-mails when necessary. The next way I streamlined my time as a business owner was to block off certain days for family/personal commitments only and pack in the days when I had childcare. My regular clients are absolutely AMAZING and understood the need for me to streamline. They were able to secure the day and time of their choice and I was able to maximize my time as a business owner and a mother. (Strangely enough, working with this “blocked time” system actually gave me MORE available time for my clients. More time has allowed me to see more clients! Win – win!)
Business was only one of the categories of life I needed to streamline in order to make it all work. I also had to streamline the way I prepared food and cleaned. Before becoming a mother, I was blissfully unaware of how much freedom I had. I could take ALL day to do meal prep or clean. Now, with a little one it is much more difficult to have such a large chunk of time to get things done. I have had to do things in increments. Instead of using all 3-4 hours on Sunday to meal prep like I did pre baby, I have to do a little each day. And what I mean by this is doubling or even tripling the portions I would normally cook so my little family has enough to eat for left overs or freeze. For example, my family absolutely LOVES Oh She Glow’s recipe for Dal (find it here). So, we DOUBLE the recipe to have enough for lunches. Another thing we do much more than we did before was to keep LOTS of fruit around that is easy to grab and go. We are eating more bananas and oranges than ever because it already has its own “packaging” protecting it from the elements (or the crumbs in the bottom of a diaper bag) and you don’t need to wash it. (More to come on food prep in another post).
I have applied the same concept of doing things more frequently in smaller increments to cleaning. For example, no longer can I do laundry for an entire Sunday (while meal prepping). I have to do 1-2 loads each and every day. It just won’t work otherwise! As most of you know, my little family lives in a 1 bedroom apartment in NYC…so laundry has always been an ordeal. One of my amazing mama friends here in the city introduced me to a portable washing machine and it has absolutely changed my life. (I couldn’t find my exact model on AMAZON – this one is pretty darn close). I can do laundry when the baby naps and throw it in the dryers next door after Brandon gets home from work. Tackling one or two loads a day is SO much more manageable than being faced with MOUNTAINS of laundry at the end of the week. Breaking these seemingly large, but necessary tasks down into increments has been LIFE changing! It’s the little things in life folks…clean clothes = life changed!
Another thing I had to shift my perspective on was relinquishing my false sense of control. This meant I had to be much more flexible in my mindset. As a recovering perfectionist this can be really hard. (In fact, motherhood in and of itself has been SUPER triggering for my perfectionism tendencies…more to come on that later). Meditation teacher John Kabat Zinn said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you CAN learn to surf.” My sweet baby girl, Marly June, has been my greatest teacher on learning this from the moment she decided she wanted to join us Earth side. (Ever heard of labor contractions feeling like massive waves? Yep, that is EXACTLY what they felt like). This is just a season of my life – a beautiful, messy, FULL season.
My message to you my friends is this, no matter what season of life you are in embrace it. Know that it is JUST a season. Thinking about how short these seasons are in the grand scheme of life will help you appreciate the grit and cherish sweet moments – at least that is what it has done for me.