Are you the Mum with a diary full of child friendly engagements, play dates, extra-curricular clubs, the latest craze in activities for kids, and a thousand other things on your to-do list? If you are, and you genuinely love it, then more power to you mama! But if you are that Mum and you find yourself collapsing in a heap every day after the kids have finally gone to sleep, then my advice is simple; cancel some stuff.
The Well Kept Secret
If you’re not already cosied up with your coffee, then please sit down because I’m going to let you in on a well kept secret that just might rock your world.
Kids do not have to be occupied every single waking hour in order to learn, develop, and grow into wonderful people.
See, told you it was huge. Just sit and think about that for an hour, my work here is done.
Only kidding, you’ve got me for a while yet.
All That Kid-min (that’s kid admin, obvs 😉 )
Motherhood is a tough and tiring business, even at its very basic level. There’s the significant reduction in sleep to start with. It doesn’t matter how great a sleeper your kids are, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be enjoying the eight to twelve hours you were used to before you had them. Then there’s the essential kid-min that there’s no escaping from; you have to feed them regularly which will probably involve some level of food preparation at various points throughout the day. To be honest, I don’t really care whether you’re feeding them exclusively from packets, or knocking up home-made batches of organic quinoa and roasted vegetables every day. The fact is you still have to prepare and serve them food possibly three times a day, more probably six.
Once you’re done feeding them, there’s going to be some kind of health care or cleaning required. Whether it’s a nappy change, bathing them, or simply cleaning the green mush off your floor, that’s some more effort which needs to be exerted. Add to this the various doctor and health professional visits, trips to the dentist, getting them to and from nursery, the childminder, your Mum’s, or school and you’ve already got a pretty packed schedule. Start adding in all those extra-curricular activities, and to be frank I don’t really know how you keep up.
Where Are You?
In amongst all the kid-related stuff, where are the pockets of time that have been left open for you to just be you? The evenings don’t count because you’re too shattered to think about anything except curling up on the sofa and briefly watching the next big thing on Netflix until you fall asleep. There’s no time during the day, because woven around the necessary kid-min and various child-centred outings is adult-min (see what I did there?!) Like washing everyone’s clothes, cleaning dishes, and maybe actually feeding yourself. Once you’ve done those things (or whilst doing them, more likely) you’re also entertaining the kids, preparing educational activities which are scientifically proven to improve their development by 34,000%, and pretending to be that kid from Paw Patrol who’s oddly in charge of a bunch of super hero animals.
There’s no time left in the day to even stop and take a breath, let alone do anything for yourself. Your mind, sense of self, and possibly showering habits are left in a pile in the corner gathering dust, hoping one day you might remember where they are and start sifting through them.
So cancel some stuff. All activities for kids are cancelled for today. Don’t go to mother and toddler sensory bead crafting today, and instead spend the time drinking a cup of coffee that isn’t only hot because you microwaved it. Read a book, a newspaper, or a magazine. Or maybe your thing is crafts, drawing comics, or fitness. Whatever it is, spend some time doing it, doing something for you for once.
And whatever you do, do not feel guilty about it. Not even once.
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