Saturday, 29 April 2017

How to do it all - the working mum/single mum/mum trying to do it all and quite literally keep her shit together

When I reached out to my Mums Who Lift community and asked for topics they would love to read about, one common theme was this: 'what are some strategies to keep my world functioning as a working mum, or a working single mum'. 
Here's the secret - there is no secret. Sorry about that.

It's actually really hard. Like really hard.

One of the turning points for me was acknowledging that I am in this chaotic situation because of choices I made. I made the decision to become a mother, so I could continue to find it hard, challenging, stressful, overwhelming and tiring. I could continue to use my identity as a mother as a reason to not reach my full potential, live my true purpose and be the healthiest version of myself. 
Or - I could find peace on the fact that this was my choice and to experience true and authentic gratitude for this moment in time in my very short life. 
When I made that shift in my thinking, I suddenly found consistency in the way I managed my entire life. I also felt an amazing sense of peace. 

There is no secret to the way I manage the day to day operations of my home. 
It simply comes down to consistency in my strategies. I treat my home life the way I treat my business. Systems, strategies and consistency. 
And's hard! 
But what is the alternative?
Stress, overwhelm, not achieving the things we want to achieve, not having the health or body we want, not managing our mood or state, not sleeping well, eating crap or succumbing to the bottle...?

I know what I am choosing. 

By not having a strategic approach to the life of a busy working family, what are we teaching our children? We are teaching them to continually operate in a reactive, stressed state. We are teaching them that it's ok to underachieve due to overwhelm. 
This isn't the lessons I want my children to take from me. 

So, what systems do I apply?
Firstly, the greatest advice I can give any mother is to invest in yourself and your family. 
Utilise the systems the world has created to make life more streamlined. Gone are the days when you lose hours to a grocery store. Use home delivery, use services such as Aussie Farmers, Coles Click and Collect, hell... I even get my toilet paper delivered! I also you YouFoodz for my lunches. Whatever it takes. 
Yes, some of these are more expensive, but I challenge you to put a dollar value on your time, what's your hourly rate (and yes - you are worth a lot) and then work out how much time you lose on wasted trips to the grocery store. 

I often get the comment that it must be easy because I have a nanny.
Yes, it certainly allows me to do the split shifts that I do, the 5.30am starts, the late nights.
However it means I have to be even more organised!

Plan your week, spreadsheet the shit out of it. Every Sunday I sit down and review my week. I ensure my diary is airtight. I work my diary into 15 minute blocks of time. From 5am until 10pm. This eliminates the overwhelm from the incredible amount of work I need to get through. I even schedule showers and meal prep. Every single part of my day is in my diary. More importantly, I stick to it. 100% of the time, to the minute. This is non-negotiable. 
Then, I transfer this into a format that I can send out to the kid's dad, our nanny and each of the kids. Then it gets stuck on the fridge. Everyone knows where everyone is at all times. 

Accept that quality time is far more important than quantity time. I have no doubt that I am judged for how little time I spend with my children. I am completely ok with that. Because I know that I meet my non-negotiables with my children. I never miss an award presentation, a sports day, a performance or any other activity that is important. And I will stand there and cry through every single one of them. And my kids are doing great, I couldn't be prouder of the little humans that they are. 

Josie and I at her most recent ballet concert.
She's becoming such a beautiful little lady.
I pick them up from school every single day and I connect with them on a deeper level.
No - I don't get hours of time with them or entire days or weekends. But the time I spend with them is connected and valued. I will never use my children as an excuse to miss a training session, because training for me = health and mental clarity. 
PLEASE don't use your kids as an excuse to not be the best version of yourself. Imagine if they heard you 'blaming' them for not exercising or eating well. 
As harsh as this sounds, they won't thank you for it in later life. They will however me proud of the woman/man you are and the role model you were for them. 

Here's the most important part of what makes my life work. Even when I don't feel like doing something (training, cooking, meal prepping, washing, folding, cleaning, mowing the lawn), it actually doesn't matter - just do it. Don't let this stuff accumulate. Because with accumulation of tasks, comes accumulation of guilt. This does not serve you at any level. 

And finally, turn the goddam TV off. Put the wine down. Take control and responsibility for the choices you have made. And make peace with it. 

To all the working mums and single working mums reading this. Treat your role as 'family CEO' as a job. Take it seriously, apply structure and remember - you are the leader of our future generation. Thank you for taking on that incredible responsibility - now go take it seriously!

I think you're awesome. 



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