This time of year, can be bittersweet and accompanied by a wide range of emotions with our kids going back to school. Quickly, our time is filled with transportation logistics, help with homework, lunches, and sports. Unfortunately, as the days get shorter and lax schedules become a thing of the past, we moms often lose our self-care activities as we navigate our children’s schedules.
I’m a single mom of two boys, so this is a challenge I know very well. I also a reinvention coach who helps high performing women address their traumas through my consultancy Flawed Masterpiece®. If you find yourself bogged down with managing other people’s busy lives, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to look inward and get back to things that bring you joy and restoration. Here are five ways to break out of a routine schedule of work, family, and dinner, and prioritize your self-care throughout the school year:
1. Keep track of your commitments
In my house, we have a calendar to keep track of all of my family’s commitments. As we plan, that documented visual reminder turns unstructured ideas into family acknowledgement and boundaries. I found that color coding the calendar is also a very useful and eye-opening tool. For example, my personal reminders in the calendar are in purple, while my kids’ schedules are in yellow. If I start to see no purple in the calendar, it is a trigger to schedule in personal activities.
2. Develop a budget
Self-care plans can be affected by money/budgetary constraints. Our kids want to do three different sports and each costs money. Now we find that we can’t afford our own activities. What’s the solution? Make our kids focus on one or two sports, so that mom can also do an activity. For mom, it could be a dance class, a gardening class, going to get a massage, or going to the chiropractor. Older siblings can get a job or get fewer things, as mom is going to earmark things for herself. This means cutting costs, financial management, and time management. However, we are worthy of investment just as much as a child’s activities.
3. Make adjustments to schedule
A little creative problem solving can free up precious time in your schedule. During summer, I would take a yoga class at 5p.m. Now, after I drop off the kids at school in the morning, I do yoga or hit the pool. Additionally, Instead of meeting friends for cocktails in the evening, we go for lunch. With my kids being older now, I also encourage them to be active outside. After all, it’s important for them and for you to get out of the house at least once or twice a week.
4. Invest in help from others
If you have kids that are still at home, homeschooled, or in remote learning, investing in others for help is an important strategy. For example, when budgeting allows, hiring help and babysitters can free up much needed hours for self-care in your schedule. Also, once or twice a week ask your spouse or significant other to help. Don’t forget that older kids can be left alone. Give them your trust and allow them to share some responsibilities at home.
5. Discuss their resistance
This focus on self-care will start off as new and unfamiliar to your kids. They have become comfortable with your martyrdom. I’ve found that having honest conversations can improve these situations. Using a pie analogy, I explained how up until this point the pie had been evenly split between my two sons, 50/50. Now we need to reapportion things. After all, I’m a person, too! Now the pie will be split 50/25/25. Mom is 50 percent and the kids are each 25/25. This is a shocking concept at first to the kids, but they will understand!
Remember, it’s easy for families of any size to get too comfortable with the way things are and/or fall back into old patterns. These five ways for moms to prioritize self-care are part of an action plan to restore healthy boundaries and require you to be intentional and have resolve. It anchors you and you can come back to it. Everyone is important: mom, partner, and kids.
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