You get up in the morning, get yourself ready for the day, get the kids ready for the day, make breakfast, make lunches, feed the cat/dog/fish/lizard, make the beds, drop off kids to sitters/creche/school go to work, perform at 110%, leave work, pick up kids from sitters/creche/school, head home, afternoon snack for the kids, prepare dinner, feed the family, clean the dishes, play taxi driver to sports activity/dancing/craft, play cheerleader for the kids, come home, help with homework, bathe kids, read kids a story, put kids to bed, put a load of washing on, fold a load of washing, iron uniforms for the next day, plan what to eat for tomorrow’s dinner, ask partner about their, put pajamas on, collapse on the couch and finally watch a bit of TV, before heading off to bed to do it all over again tomorrow. Are you tired just reading that?! That’s a lot of work to cram into just one day, no wonder you are too exhausted to look after yourself!!!
But then what happens?
Your immune system goes down, your weight goes up, you start getting sick all the time, your energy levels get even lower, you start feeling down and find that YOU get lost in the day to day grind of life. You start resenting everybody because you can’t find any time for you in amongst all the activity.
And then one day, you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself “who on earth is that stranger looking back at me?”
So, how to we break that routine and get YOU back to being YOU?
- Let the kids get themselves ready – yes even the little ones. From 3 onwards they are very capable and will actually be very proud to do it! If you don’t like their choice in clothes, choose for them, and then leave them to it!
- School aged kids are very capable of making their own breakfast and lunch. They will probably eat it with more interest too because they will pack/make what they like, within your boundaries of course! They can even help with breakfast for the little ones.
- Let the kids make their own beds. Once again they are never too young. They will feel all grown up, and it really doesn’t matter if they don’t make hospital corners!
- Have a reward chart to encourage kids to ‘do their chores’. The reward could actually be something like, quality time with mum/dad! Something you can both benefit from!
- Check with other parents in the local area and see if you can do a car pool deal if you are all heading in the same direction. One of you can drop the kids off, the other pick them up.
All this will save you about half an hour in the morning, which you can then use for a little home exercise for yourself! This will revitalize you for the day, increase your energy levels, and help keep your weight down, immune system up, health up, spirits up…happy reflection in the mirror!
- The kids can organise their own snacks just like with breakfast.
- · Try cooking in advance, perhaps on the weekends, and freeze meals, so that all you have to heat and serve after work. Alternatively, create a meal plan on the weekend of what you are going to cook for the week. This will help you be prepared (so no more last minute decisions and racing off for fatty fast food; not good for you or the kids!), will help with the shopping, reduce grocery waste so that food doesn’t go off in the fridge if not eaten, and reduce cost; you only buy what you need!
- Buy meat in bulk, prepare and marinade it in advance, freeze in portions so half the job is ready when it comes time to cook!
- Try car pooling for after school activities too. This will help you and the other parents!
The key is preparation and delegation! You have just saved yourself at least another half hour, if not much more by having these simple strategies. So use this time to pamper yourself a little! This could be quality time with your partner (which often tends to suffer when you have a family), a warm bath, massage, yoga whatever you desire.
If you don’t want to exercise in the morning, you can use that time to do some of your dinner prep, or washing/folding/ironing and transfer that time to your evening. Now you have an hour’s block to yourself! Go out for a walk, join a gym, do some home exercise at night instead of the morning. You can do this and then have a warm bath. Whatever you desire.
And if you have a partner who is willing to share the load (so then you can share the down time) that makes it all that much easier!
Being prepared, delegating and working smarter applies to the home as well as work. We are all trained to work smarter not harder, for a more productive day at work; well the same applies for home!
This will not only help you increase your energy levels, it will help you eat more nutritious food (planning), control your weight, control your immune system, ensure you have adequate rest, and prevent exhaustion. All this together makes for a happier YOU, with no resentment towards others and ensures you recognize the person you see in the mirror as the real YOU! Welcome back!!!
Personal Trainer/Wife/Mum/Business Owner