It won’t be a surprise to anyone out there that, as a mother of a six-year-old and 14-month-old, I find myself struggling not to act like an insane person. I have crazy eyes, ladies. You know to what I refer.
So, what am I doing to bring myself down from the looney tunes town I have been residing in lately? I’d be glad to share in the hopes it will also help you find your way back into something resembling chill.
Recognizing the crazy eyes:
First, you have to know there is a problem. As your head is spinning with dress-up day notifications from school, meal plans, your child’s stool color, and the other flotsam clouding your brain, you might not immediately realize you’ve descended into the wilds of motherhood madness. It will only be when you look in the mirror one night and catch more whites in your eyes than a color that you will pause and evaluate everything from the days-old stains on your clothes to whatever the heck your child stuck in your hair that morning that may or may not need scissors to remove. It’s then that you realize: You are over your head and sinking fast.
Good job, Momma, you’ve passed that first hurdle. Now what? What will you do to bring yourself and your household into a new normal that will keep you from burning out too quickly? Here are some of the things I am trying:
Dry-erase boards x10:
I struggle to keep the various threads of everyone’s schedules organized, which is not helped by my ability to forget an appointment between one breath and the next. One might think my love for my phone might provide a handy solution, but the digital calendar is not friendly to my ADD-riddled brain. So, I’ve stepped back into the stone age, and I am using about 10 whiteboards to cope with various aspects of our schedule.
I have a whiteboard near the door used as a two-week calendar. This allows me to see the week I am in and start pre-planning for the next week without getting too overwhelmed by the far-flung future. There is a whiteboard in my pantry where I write down groceries as we run out of them. Then, I either take a photo of the board before going to the store or copy it down in a note on my phone. Hint, I’m lazy, so I almost always take a photo.
A whiteboard on the opposite side of that same pantry door has a more nebulous use. We try to make goals for ourselves as a family each week. These goals might be as simple as having Lillie practice her bike or more complicated things such as making sure we use kinder tones with each other. The family uses our final whiteboard to keep up with our monthly restaurant and grocery budget, broken down into four weeks, to see how we meet our budget goals.
All these boards might seem like more work than help. However, we are on budget for the first time ever, I am no longer forgetting appointments and various activities left and right, and Lillie is excited to see our new goals go up. I will be curious to see what happens when our clever Lillie realizes she can start adding things to our grocery board…it should be interesting.
Keeping my brain active:
Lately, I’ve felt as if all those busily-working neurons in my brain are stuttering and stumbling. I have always been an avid student of something. I love to learn. I just haven’t had the time, space, or energy to revert to my favorite brain-engaging activities.
I haven’t been writing my novels as I barely get the time to touch a keyboard without the “help” of a 14-month-old. As an avid fiber enthusiast, I suggest getting back to my lonely bobbin lace stand. However, I beg you to imagine me working on a delicate piece of lace when my lovely little SydneyRose figures out she can grab a bobbin and thread and start running in the opposite direction. Listening to audiobooks requires the ability to hear over my child’s screeches and various efforts to pierce my eardrums.
In other words, my go-to creative outlets have been highly limited by time, eardrum capacity, and lack of hands. So, what did I decide to do? How could I save myself from sliding farther into a stagnant puddle of frantic Facebook scrolling and TikTok sneaking? Korean. Yes, you heard me right, Korean. So, I downloaded the Mondly and Duolingo apps and am now memorizing the world around me in a new language. Which, I might add, I use as I am teaching SydneyRose her animals, colors, numbers, etc.
“Oh, look at that beautiful lion/saja. The sun is yellow! Taeyang-eun norangsaeg-ieyo!”
Will it prove useful? Maybe. Is it helping to keep my curious brain working and not spiraling through all the what-ifs and what fors? Yes, it is. So, even if you don’t want to learn Korean, maybe find a language you like and give it a go. It’s something your brain can work on in the background as you do your everyday routine.
Re-evaluate what you can and cannot do:
This has always been an area with which I struggle. Looking at my schedule and saying that I can no longer handle x, y, and z, I feel like a failure when I need to step back. So, I am trying to implement one change at a time to see what is working for our family and what isn’t.
I want to try to streamline our work, activities, sports, volunteering, and everyday goals toward what will help each member of our family continue to learn and grow. To do this, I must first be less frazzled and frantic. Then, I must be able to sit down and think. So, that’s where I am right now. I’m evaluating, weighing, and overall gut-checking our lifestyle. This summer, I plan to try a few new ways to get us all back on track so that this Momma can stay off the crazy train while still handling our busy family.