Be Good To Yourself

By: Lisa Donovan

As mothers, we juggle. We balance our kids with our careers with our home with our husbands with our personal time... In the equation it works out that "personal time" gets the least amount of attention. Most of us are too busy to notice or to complain — complaining doesn't get things done and, as mothers, we are all about getting business taken care of. So, as a mother who is trying desperately to take note of what is and what is not conducive to getting it all done and remaining healthy and happy through the course of it all, here are some things that I notice make the days easier and make me healthier and happier.

Take zinc every day with a multivitamin.

This is one that I forget all together too often. But, when I remember to do this, things run so much more smoothly. I don't get every little sniffle and cold that my kids bring home from school. And, most importantly, I don't get that middle of the day sagging lethargy that makes it impossible to be nice to my kids. If you only take one bit of advice from this, take this one.

Get up at least 45 minutes before your kids.

This is a hard one — who doesn't like to sleep until the last possible minute, right? But if you can get yourself into the routine of getting up 45minutes to an hour before your kids do, you will have a chance to get yourself ready and to collect yourself before the action begins. It is well worth it, trust me.

Go for walks. Alone.

Time to clear your head and get your blood flowing is essential to any person's happiness. We have to remind ourselves to give ourselves this opportunity for peace and quiet and reflection. Going potty doesn't qualify as "personal time". Stop thinking that because you took an extra ten minutes to clip your toenails that you have used up your time and make this happen. Getting outside and strolling for even just thirty minutes might be all it takes to keep you healthy and happy for a good long time.

Time your housework.

This is something I picked up from one of my best friends. We will always have housework to do, just a fact of life. To avoid that overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to begin, give yourself timed projects for each day. My friend has thirty minutes of cleaning every day. Thirty minutes — that's it. Give yourself two projects each day and only let yourself indulge in them for fifteen minutes each only You will be so surprised how much you get done in fifteen minutes — it is unbelievable! This keeps you task focused and saves so so so much time.

Take naps.

If you are the mother of a child under the age of one — take a nap with the them for Pete's sake! People keep saying it because it is important! Seriously. When your child turns two and stops napping all together you will wish you had.

Make husband/wife rituals and stick to them.

One of the most important parts of my day is sitting with my husband at night and having a pot of tea. We also make a point of having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning together before the kids are awake. They are small little gestures, but without them, our relationship starts to wander and we get grumpy. We are people that like to be around one another and, with kids, you have to make that time. Instead of waiting for a babysitter or planning a date, we rely on special day to day moments that make everything a lot less stressful.

Stay connected to your best girlfriends, even if they don't have kids.

I have read a lot of articles about relationships going sour after one friend has a kid and the other doesn't. Cockamamie. In my experience, those girlfriends of mine whom don't have children help me remember who I was before kids — and that it is OK and necessary to still be that person in some regards. Yes, it's true once we have kids we are never the same. But, I contest, we don't have to lose ourselves entirely either. I love getting together with my best friends who want to talk about something besides clogged milk ducts and teething.

There you have it. My list of the seven most important things I feel make my days more pleasant and stress levels stay low. I am not a doctor, just a girl who has a little experience. These are just things I have noticed make me an all around better person, and especially a better mother.

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