It’s just another evening in your week
Your house looks like a tornado just passed through, your kids are (finally) asleep, you pretend that the kitchen doesn’t need cleaning, there is a laundry to hang and another to start. You haven’t done half the things you wanted today, and the ones you’ve done were not half as good as you wished for, starting with the school.
Does it sound familiar? Do you sometimes feel like you’re not in charge anymore? That you miss a sense of achievement, of accomplishment?
We often speak about the fatigue of the body, but for me, the mental fatigue is worth. I can sleep my body tiredness, but my mind is another story… First, it won’t let me sleep because it has plenty to bother me with: little failures of the day, a nasty word I told my son, an impatient gesture toward my daughter, a not organized school time, a lot of running for little results. And when I wake up, it’s ready to start again to remind me of all the chores to do AND how I often fail to accomplish them.
When you are tired as a mother
It is not only in your bones, it is in your spirit too. And when you feel tired in your spirit, you’re not being the mom you want to be: you’re easily upset, you disappoint your kids, you are quick to be angry, impatient, unfair or dismissive. Just the opposite of your ideal mother.
But how could it be otherwise if you have no energy and you’re mentally exhausted?
I am not going to dive into the causes. Causes have never helped going forward. I’m into solutions! I want your problem situation to become your ideal situation. So let’s start with « how to beat fatigue »!
Step 1: Take a day off
And I mean a real day off! Never mind the school, the laundry or the bills. Look at the forecast, choose a day and plan a nice day out of the house. Spending your day-off in your house won’t work as well as it is harder (nice word for « impossible ») to relax when all the things you have to do are staring at you.
So: choose a day and decide on an outdoor activity (it needs to be outdoors, nature has a way to free our soul). If you want to choose an activity like going to the mall or a movie do it another day.
Your day off will be
the whole day
doing something you love
Step 2: Take time to rethink your week
Now that you have taken a day off (and the world hasn’t stopped) you are ready for the second step.
Know that you have all the capacities, competences and abilities to make this work. You just got carried away down the wrong path. Now is the time to find your way back.
Take a couple of hours and get rid of your kids: ask the grandma, the neighbor, the godparents, have them play in the garden or even watch a movie. As long as you get some alone time to work on your organization.
Have a sheet of paper and a pen ready. No computer. You have to feel this, it is important for the mind.
Write down all the things you HAVE TO DO in a week (really HAVE to, like cooking lunch, homeschooling, doing laundry,…).
Now write down the things that would be NICE TO DO in the week (bake fresh bread, learn sewing,…). Good.
Here are mine for this week. I won’t show you the original handwritten it’s too messy 🙂
You can now decide on your routine. First, write down all the HAVE TO and then choose where to put the NICE TO. Don’t overcharge your weekly planner. It is better to have little things in it and do it all. Some things that you wanna do can go on the HAVE TO/NICE TO list and wait for a week or two.
As a exemple, this is what mine looks like for this week:
This planner is just for a week, so if you see that something didn’t work out the way you thought, you can adjust for the next week. No need to go into details, you will lose the children and yourself. Think of it as a reminder, so that you don’t overload your mind.
My kids love to add the weather. And they will check that my activity choices match the forecast… They also love to know what’s planned for the week and that saves me about a thousand: “what do we do this afternoon?”, “what do we do tomorrow?”.
Routine is the key here. Every time you follow your schedule, you will have a sense of accomplishment.
Step 3: Do it
You can have all the great tools in the world, you can have the most impressive book collection if you don’t implement, nothing is going to change.
Thinking about something doesn’t make it happen. It is only through action that change can happen. The will is linked to our blood and muscular system, so to activate the will you have to activate the body. You have to write down your weekly planner, and then you have to commit to your planner.
It takes 21 days to change a habit. That’s 3 little weeks. Commit to your planner for 3 weeks, and you will be on the way. See it as a departure runway. Before you start your weekly planner ask yourself the following questions:
what is it I want to change with this planner? (make it a positive answer, like “I want more freedom, I want more peace of mind, I want my children to know about their week, I want to do things in a more organized way,…)
how will I know I have reached my goal? (I am in a better mood, the laundry is always done on time, I don’t worry before sleeping, I don’t get the same questions over and over again,…)
how will I feel when I achieve my goal? (what feeling will I experience, what will I hear/see/smell/taste)
when will that be? (choose a deadline, this is important for your brain)
does it ask for more efforts than rewards? (if for you, writing down a weekly planner is a huge effort, maybe it’s not worth the outcome. If you think so, then choosing another tool to reach your goal would be wise).
And it doesn’t matter that the holiday is arriving. Don’t postpone it. Make a weekly planner for the holiday. Don’t see it as your « remember-all-you-have-to-do » planner, but merely as a help to take things out of your mind. If you make it a habit to look at your weekly planner every morning, you will know what there is to do and you don’t have to keep everything in mind all day long. It’s like Dumbledore’s pensieve 🙂
Step 4: Acknowledgment
Make it a tradition to have a « glory meal » once a week.
Friday night is nice since it is the end of the week but it can be on Saturday or Sunday.
The rule is to never miss it!
Now, who will be there? If the father of your children is working outside he will be the perfect guest. If you’re single, you can invite a grandparent, the god-parents, an aunty, anybody you enjoy spending time with and who cares about you and your children.
With your kids, cook a special meal, with a starter and dessert.
During the meal, take time to explain to your guest all the things you have done during the week. School-wise and life-wise. This is the moment where you can be proud of yourself and your kids. This way you teach your children that it is all right to be proud of oneself even for everyday acts, that no matter the subject, commitment and consistency are great qualities.
Step 5: broaden the horizon
Once you’ve done your 3 weeks of commitment, you can start the process again but this time, instead of planning the week, you can plan the month!
This allows you to add things you wouldn’t do weekly but rather once or twice a month (a field trip, an outdoor day, a visit to the library, an afternoon at the pool,…).
And you will see that you can even do it for the year. This yearly calendar is a nice activity to do it with the children, as they can add their birthday on the calendar, the celebrations or the change of the Season.
This exercice brings a lot of possibilities for learning like the seasons, the idea of time, the importance of ritual, the cycles of the moon,… If your child(ren) are big enough, you can ask them to write down your monthly calendar highlights on the yearly calendar.
Did I loose you? Let’s summarize:
step 1: take a day off a beautiful, real day off, outdoors, with fun and love and absolutely no duties
step 2: rethink your week make a list of HAVE TO/NICE TO for the next week.
step 3: implement no good idea is worth it if you don’t act on it
step 4: acknowledgement you and your children must get get recognition for your achievements
step 5: broaden the horizon enjoy the benefits of your calendar on a monthly and yearly basis
Be carefull not to jump to the yearly calendar first. I know it is a seductive idea and it seems more fun to do, but it will bring no change in your life if you don’t follow the process. Trust the process.
You have reasons to be tired
Maybe you are pregnant, or breast-feeding, maybe you don’t sleep well (perhaps because of your baby/child) or you’re menstruated. This results in physiological fatigue. In these cases, it is important to respect the cycles of your life and not exhaust yourself. A tired mother is not a good mother. Take time to rest, rearrange your schedule to fit this particular time of your life. The Earth won’t stop turning if you slow down for a while. It is important to trust our body and listen to it. Think of it as this a lesson you will teach your children.
I know you would never want for them to burn out, right? Then show them how to.