Friday, August 13, 2010

5 Steps to a Saner Me

1.  Wake up before the kids do.  Sigh.  This is a hard one (and the Hubs is probably laughing as he reads this).  I love my sleep.  And I'm a night owl, so waking up before the kids is, um, a wee bit torturous.  They are up consistently at 7am.  And it's almost getting easier to sleep past that because they are getting old enough to occupy themselves for awhile.  But I've noticed that when I'm up before them, and give myself an hour or two to enjoy my coffee, shower and just be, I'm a much happier mama and much more likely to be able to handle whatever they dish out for me that day.  When I neglect to do this (which is more often than not these days), I always feel like I spend the whole day playing catch up.  And I don't like that feeling.  I don't do well with feeling out of control.

2.  Do as much as I can the night before.  In conjunction with #1, it really irritates me if I make the effort to get up early, only to have to spend that time doing things necessary to get us all out the door.  Even with getting our morning routine down to a science, it really throws off the momentum to have to stop and make lunches x2 or to argue about what Princess #2 is going to wear to school.  It's just extra stress I don't need to be dealing with that early in the morning.  So the night before I try to get the lunches made, backpacks packed and clothes laid out for my school-going princesses (again, somewhat laughable, as school has been in session all of one day.  But this is my ideal, work with me).  I also try to run the dishwasher, vacuum and pick up clutter.  It's just a much more pleasant start to my morning if I'm not waking up (at an already established un-Godly hour) and immediately tripping over toys.

3.  Devote at least an hour before bed to the Hubs.  It sounds sort of trite, to have to actually schedule to spend time together.  But let's face it, in the season we're in, with 4 children and jobs and other realities of adulthood (grocery shopping anyone?) pulling us in opposite directions, that's what we sometimes have to do.  And I'll admit that far too often we sit by each other on the couch, tapping away on our computer and iPhone.  And while that's ok sometimes, I know that connecting with my spouse requires more than proximity (what?!  You mean we actually have to talk?!).  I know I am a much more secure person and happy with my life when my relationship with the Hubs is connected and engaged.  And yes, that means actually talking. (haha)

4.  Coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm not.

5.  Spending time with my princesses.  One would think that a necessity to staying sane would be to carve out as much time alone as possible.  And while I think a certain amount of me-time is warranted (see #1), I've stumbled upon a discovery that has changed how I feel about my day to day.  When I take the time to play with the princesses, to read to them, to talk with them about their day, to paint their nails or play a game with them - they are much less needy.  It's sort of one of those cycles:  a kid needs attention, doesn't get the attention they want, so they act out and demand attention.  Which stresses mom out because she's just ontheedge and needs some time to herself.  So she pushes back, insisting kid do something on his own for awhile, which just pushes kid to demand more attention.  Now, I am by no means perfect at this, and I'm somewhat embarrassed it's taken me 8 years to figure it out, but if I just take the time to invest in my childrens' interests for a little while each day, they feel more secure, confident I'll be there when they need me, and thus, demand less of me.  Obviously the brilliant byproduct of this is not that I get more time to myself, but that I actually get to know my children and enjoy spending time with them and actually want to spend more time with them.  It's a win-win.

My friends, do you have some tips and tricks that help keep you sane?  I'd love to hear what works for you!



  1. It's all true, isn't it? But the best laid plans..... Long live coffee!!

  2. this is alll really good advice!!! I have been slowing trying to wake up before the kids are up......we just moved so getting back into a routine has been trying....but I know getting up before them is way better!!! And you are soooo right about spending that time with the kids I used to teach a parenting class and that was one of the main topics we would talk want attention period good or bad lol.......I will def start doing that one hour alone with the hubs. Thanks for the post!!!


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