Let us all agree that no matter what steps we take in 2023, all moms will always have a running to do list in their head. I’ve accepted this. When I first became a mother in 2018, I thought it was just my enneagram 3 personality: the running to do lists, the desire to do it all by myself, and the need to be viewed as the mom who “had it all together.” Then, I quickly realized it wasn’t me. I think the majority of moms feel this way at some point or another in their motherhood journey. It makes us feel like we are doing the absolute best for our children and families.
But when do we say, “enough is enough,” we mean it.
After growing our family to four kids four and under, both biological and foster, I’ve realized I can’t do it all. It’s hard for me to say this out loud, but I’ve accepted it. If I want to be the best me I can be for my children, I have to lighten my load.
Depending on your personality you will either totally understand how hard that is for me to admit or maybe empathize with me even if it is easier for you to delegate. After coming out of 2022 with a new sweet addition to our family, I knew it was time for me to make some changes for 2023 to be the best it can be for me and my family.
Here are some of the ways my husband and I have decided to take some of the load off motherhood in 2023 (I am hoping these help me be more present, allow me to take a little more time to find myself again outside of motherhood, and make our household a little better):
Many families already do this, and you were my inspiration. A large part of my day is planning everyone else’s day: doctor appointments, therapy for our two youngest, foster family classes, extracurriculars, budgets, bills, cleaning schedules, school events, court dates for our foster children, etc. This was all taking a toll on me mentally. Of course, I can’t just say “poof” and make that all disappear, but a huge moment in our house was my husband telling me, “Share this with me.”
I have been using a paper planner my entire life holding it all to myself because I thought it all fell on my shoulders. After seeing me struggle, trying to juggle it all after bringing our youngest home in November, my husband stopped me in the kitchen and said some of the truest words: “I can’t help if I don’t know.” It was a brand new realization for me and so true. I have to be willing to ask for help and share the load. So in 2023, I created a new shared calendar that goes to my husband’s phone. Now he knows what is coming up and asks what he can do to help me on days that are overbooked. It has been a game changer for our relationship and my mental health.
As much as I love to watch “Clean Tok” and “The Home Edit,” I loathe housework. I thought when I became a stay at home mom I would magically enjoy keeping a tidy home since I was there the majority of the day, but no. I do not like it, just as I didn’t like it when I was working outside of the home. The continuous repetition of picking up toys, shoes, dishes, and doing laundry always feels like a burden of my time. I guess my personality is coming through when I say I am always ready to rush through it so we can do “more important/fun” things.
I now live in a house with one man, four boys, a dog, and a cat. There is one of me and seven of them. I can’t keep up by myself, so we started delegating this month. Don’t get me wrong; my husband has always pitched in when asked, but with four kids, it takes a team effort. We have done this by getting my oldest three boys involved. You would actually be surprised at how much they can do to help being only four, two and a half, and 17 months. With the introduction of our responsibility chart, they have small tasks each day for which they get stickers. It is a small thing, but it really helps me out. Not to mention that we’ve set up a routine for the kids that will hopefully always continue. If you like ours (pictured below), I have it linked here for you.
Spacing Out Time For Me
I’ve realized I need time to myself. It isn’t something that is just nice to have every once in a while. I need it to recharge and be the best I can be for my kids. It isn’t easy. I have a two-month-old and a 17-month-old who are glued to me and love their foster momma (me), but I have made a commitment to myself to do this, so every day, I take 30 minutes to do something I enjoy. It could be something that is good for me like working out or enjoying a bowl of ice cream with no one asking for a bite while I catch up on a show or read. Doing something that is purely me for me gives me a boost and reminds me that I am not just the snack-getter.
I also take one day a month to do something I enjoy out of the house (and no, I do not mean going to the grocery store alone). I get my nails done or do something similar. This could also be going on a hike, taking a new class, or strolling the aisles at Target with a favorite Starbucks drink. Every once in a while, we all need a break and the opportunity to do something we enjoy without our littles. A “mental reset” really helps and I always come back recharged and ready to get back in the parenting trenches.