I received a lovely message from a reader yesterday asking me how I find time for everything. And I thought to myself that would make a great blog post. And then I thought uh oh I hope I don’t give the impression that I have time for EVERYTHING!!!!!!! Because I don’t. I’ve learnt along the way that I can’t do everything that I want to do but I’m very good at to do lists, letting some things slide, making some things a priority, learning to tag team with my lovely husband and getting the kids more involved as they grow up. Here they are doing what they love…….pizza dough for their own dinner.
So first things first. There are times when you feel like you are getting nothing done. And I mean nothing. You get up, do everything for everyone else and look around and the house is still a mess, the washing is still sitting there, the rubbish is still sitting there and you wonder where your day went. And that is normal. So remember that there are seasons. Times when it will be flat chat busy but that it won’t be like that forever. New baby, new job, returning to work, starting school, husband or partner working away, starting study or perhaps you are a single parent adjusting to a new life. There are so many things that happen in our life that throw our routine and daily life into a totally new direction. And it’s normal. Like when I had twins! I still think that was the hardest non stop year of my life going from a family of 3 to 5 so quickly! Cute as they were and still are………….
Next answer to the question is that I can’t find time for everything. After my 4th baby I made it a priority to join a gym and lose weight and get back in shape. It took a big chunk of my day, cost me a fortune in gym and creche memberships but my mum had just passed away and it did me and my body a whole lot of good. I adore zumba, I really do and hope that I’ll get back to it one day. Just not for a while. I never got back to the gym after my 5th or 6th and I struggle to get time to exercise. I know that other people find time and I get on the treadmill occasionally but it does show that I can’t do everything. I would love to blog more often or have a fancier website or a bigger website but I don’t have the time right now.I’d love to make a quilt but it’s hard to get into my craft room right now too. My focus is home , family and being here for them right now. And I’m comfortable with that. I’ll always think I could be doing more but the days fly by.
Something we do need to find time for and that my reader asked about is our marriage and relationship. That needs to be a priority. How do I do that? I have to say that through small acts rather than big grand gestures. Always doing a little bit more than is expected and little thoughtful surprises to show love – and I’m not talking spending money either. A nice home cooked dinner that is someone’s favourite or a bit fancier than usual, lunch made for the next day, doing all the ironing (can you tell I don’t iron someone’s shirts!), letting someone watch their favourite sports show or tv in peace and quiet, even just getting out of the house for fish and chips at the beach or an ice cream and a walk with all the kids is a nice way to talk and appreciate each other! When we get invited to things we book in the babysitter and consider that date night. If you can get out for dinner together minus the kids then do it, grab that opportunity while you can. I can honestly say that when you give a bit more you get it back (and if not then you might need a little chat together about things you can do for each other). The kids are happy when they see you happy together. My parents set a beautiful example of always being in love and holding hands wherever they went and it was definitely noticed by us.
Weekends and family time can be tricky once kids start school and sport and all of the activities. We are still working on this one as we are always busy on weekends. My trick is splitting up when we need to, dad does rugby matches and swimming lessons, I do netball training and matches and the rugby training. I do the school and preschool run but he helps out if we’re running seriously late or someone’s sick or we have a big appointment on. It does seem like you spend forever in your car and I always have a small craft project or my diary or phone near to me to use that time in carline for other things and to get things done. You could even have a pile of mail or bills to be paid and do it while waiting. Small bits of time here and there can be used to get lots of things done.
If you’re forgetting everything then please do yourself a favour and get a big organiser. Doesn’t have to be fancy but one with enough room to write a few things down for each day. I love my erin condren life planner because it’s pretty (and I like pretty things), it has plenty of room and pockets for things, a layout where I can plan out my month and plenty of space for each day to write down what is going on and a big note section at the back. I take it to specialist and therapy sessions so I can always book in the next appointment or the next meeting at school. I was forgetting appointments and ringing up to double check but now I’m all good as everything and I mean everything goes in here and I also wrote down when I’ve done things so I’ve got a little note of it in there.
Something else to consider is that sometimes you have to say no. I remember doing Bschool and there was a session on saying no and I was outraged. I couldn’t say no. If someone asks me to do something I pretty much say yes. Over time I’ve learnt that actually there is something in that. Sometimes you have to say no. No one will hate you or think less of you in the long term and actually it means that you can say yes to something else. This coming from someone who does a lot of volunteering because I enjoy the company, getting to know people, being involved and helping out.
Another tip is to turn off the tv and put down your phone. Have you ever been out walking at the shops or out and about and everyone has their head in their phone. Or do you just know that you veg out in front of the tv and before you know it it’s already bedtime. I mean there is a now a tv show to watch people watching tv. Even my kids think that is the most ridiculous tv show ever. And it is. And no I’m not going to watch it. We did a good thing over the holidays and went from the foxtel package with everything to the foxtel package with nothing. Ok well nothing is an exaggeration but the package with not very much. The first week was tough going and I don’t watch a lot of tv but had a few favourite shows but then I realised that nothing was on and except for a couple of things a week I’m not watching TV. So much time becomes available. Go old school – read a book, do some craft and wait for it…………….talk to each other! I would like to go cold turkey on the tv but I only last a day and then it all falls apart.
last words……..don’t compare yourself. I often wish that you could walk through my front door and see the total disaster some days. We’ve had a great day playing and being with the kids but the house looks like a bomb has hit and the washing fairy hasn’t been to fold the laundry.I can assure you that I don’t have a cleaner or a cook or a pool boy. I do use babysitting for when we have appointments or things on at night. We all have our priorities and some people love a spotless house and to be super organised and I’m unfortunately not one of those people but I try to fit in what I love. It doesn’t always happen but I try. Sometimes I might only get a few rows of knitting done but at least if I’ve done a bit then I feel better.
I drink lots of coffee, I stay up late and don’t need a lot of sleep but do get to bed before midnight and up at about 6.30/7. I lay clothes out the night before including my own and yes I even put out my underwear so I can just get it on first thing. It sounds a bit silly but trust me the days I don’t lay it out I could try on a few things before I’m good to go. Same applies for the kids, uniforms out and even when we do that someone still manages to make us late because they can’t find a shoe or their school hat or music bag or whatever it is. I’m just going with the flow and saying that it will pass.
ok one more last bit of advice………..have a sense of humour. I think the only reason I have a larger than average family and haven’t run away from home yet is that I keep a sense of humour. I can laugh at myself when people think I’m all earth mother or super mum and I know I’m not, or when everything is going wrong or we’re super late for something or I’ve totally forgotten that a therapist is coming to my house within the hour and it looks like a bomb site or I have no money in my wallet. If I didn’t laugh I would cry and send myself crazy. Lighten up.
you’re doing a good job, you’re the best person and the only person that your family needs, they don’t want anyone else but you (even if they talk back/don’t listen/think you’re nagging) and we put so much pressure on ourselves to be so good at everything and our kids don’t want that, our husbands don’t want that and we don’t need it. Do what you’re good at and enjoy, find time for what you love to do and make that time, let some things slide and remember that you might not be around forever so enjoy life and the blessings that you have.