If You’re like me staying motivated as a full-time mum is hard work! I know I’ve lost the will to so much as brush my hair plenty of times. Forget trying to maintain friendships with your childless friends. Maintaining a connection with your mummy friends is hard enough. Oh, and forget starting something like study or a business. The motivation just drains right out of you when you hear
Those gentle sounds that rip the sleep away from you with the gentleness of a bikini wax after childbirth. The tones of your loving demon spawn creations that think 6 in the morning is the perfect time to start tearing through the house like hounds from hell throwing their clothes and dirty socks in every direction.
God forbid it if you were to stay in bed too long. Only to find that your youngest has attempted to make his own cereal and his tiny little pyjamas are now soaked in milk just like the rest of the kitchen (if you’re lucky it’ll be the kitchen).
I know every mum has had morning just like this!
Well, no, I haven’t had a morning “Just Like That”
My youngest is a girl (almost 2) and I only have two kids. The oldest is soon to be 12. Getting up early is an almost laughable concept when it comes to him.
However, when he was younger (about 4) he did, in fact, wake me up to milk all over the kitchen floor (and himself) the fridge open and some Matchbox cars in the TURNED-ON microwave. Sizzle and zap went the little cars and smash and bang went my little microwave. To add to the horror of the morning, he had also turned the heater on and his remote-controlled car sat so close its side was becoming a mangled twisted clump of plastic (did I mention it was summer) and his potty, had been tipped on its side the contents soaking into the carpet at an ever-increasing rate.
I eventually found him in his bedroom drawing on the walls and his pyjamas hardened where the milk had dried.
I honestly think that I would prefer my imaginary setting to that hell of a morning.
My daughter, she’s so different. She’ll let me sleep in… She just won’t let me get to sleep. Last night she had my husband and I up until 3 am. Not that that is anything new to my husband he always stays up late! Curse of the night shift worker!
And wouldn’t you know it I decided I needed something to do with my time when she came along so I started a course… A nine-month course that has, so far, taken me 18 months to attempt to finish. What with baby brain and PND, the motivation to complete the thing completely vanished. Then I thought “You know, I want to write for a living, I’m going to start a blog” I never started it to make money, I wanted to learn from it! Hell, I had attempted a blog before and just never bothered past the first post. But here I am a full-time mummy, student, and a part-time blogger.
I still had (have) days where I can’t find my motivation. So, I began hunting ways to try and maintain my motivation. I was inundated with blogs and self-help guides. I found mountains of health quizzes and gurus. I tried a lot, but I simply couldn’t find a way to balance my duties and my pleasures. I found myself concentrating on one thing or the other.
I began noticing that if I concentrated on my blog the house work began to suffer, if I concentrated on “mum duties” I lost all hours of the day playing with dollies and making bubbles or Lego houses, if I concentrated on my study I would just stare at the work I had already completed, scratching my head thinking “what the ….” And I would have to restart everything I had done in the past.
I tried making schedules that would be decimated before the printer ink could dry, I tried to work during nap times and found that I couldn’t get my brain to concentrate on my work when I, finally, had the chance to watch a show I’ve wanted to for ages. I love reading but I haven’t read a book since the seventh Harry Potter Book had been released.
Nothing seemed to pull my workload into order. But I’ve since discovered a way that I can do my things while still maintaining the house, kids, bills, and my sanity.
It’s nothing great, nothing profound. It’s nothing even drastic. My life is still chaotic and the demands on my time are ever growing.
Right now, as I sit here writing, my husband is trying to get my attention so he can share the game he is playing with me. My daughter is at my feet eating chips and nuggets, watching Daniel Tiger. But I am writing, I am functioning, and my house is… reasonably clean. I have taken care of the bills and I have dinner cooking. All the animals have been feed and all I did was change a couple of things.
My first Change was to do everything, EVERYTHING!! To do with ANYTHING I could on my phone.
Because most of my interests take place in WORD and guess what?
Word now has an app and all your documents can be accessed on anything that word can be placed on. Meaning anything I type on my phone I can access on my computer or Ipad. Any changes and edits I save will be on all my other access points.
My blog is powered by WORDPRESS and guess what it has an app too!!!
My course work can be accessed via the internet and I can share my documents from my Phone with my course provider.
Bonus, my kids don’t care what’s on my phone when it’s in my hand. But they sure as hell love to know what’s on the computer if I’m sitting at that. I can (and do) carry my phone everywhere. I can literally walk around the house reading my work back to myself to make sure it sounds right. I can edit my work while I cook dinner. Hell, I can even read a blog entry or two when I steal five minutes to pee. (just don’t drop it in, which in case you were wondering, yes, I have done. Thank god for phone covers and antiseptic wipes and washes)
The next change was I increased my water intake. I still have my coffee but I always make sure that I follow it with some water.
Because not only is it helping me lose weight but it keeps my mind clear. A dehydrated brain is easily distracted and doesn’t function at its fullest capacity. I’ve noticed that my ability to withstand my kids is far outlasting their desire to annoy me!!! (one for mum) I sleep better even if I can’t sleep however long I’d like and I’ve been noticing that foods like McDonalds and KFC are less appealing. I have more energy and just feel better all round.
My third change was to get some air!!
Even if it’s just sitting on the veranda waiting for that inevitable “mum” call.
To gain clarity and peace of mind, sitting in the fresh air with a cup of coffee instead of in front of the TV lets your mind relax. You can breathe deeper and let the stuffiness of the house go. I at the very least leave the front door open. It’s amazing how much some fresh air helps. I wouldn’t suggest just going to the shops, I haven’t had any luck with that, it feels like a chore and I end up doing the shopping or doing errands. Taking the kids to the park works, or just staying outside to play in the sunshine. I once had all three of my sister’s kids stay a week with me while she was away and to get fresh air we had BBQ for dinner… a lot. Getting fresh air helps ground me so much that I go outside every morning just to breathe.
Don’t be afraid to cry
I hate crying, it makes me feel weak. I’m not weak. I know it but crying makes me feel like I’m failing so why would I tell you not to be afraid of crying?
Because crying is cathartic, it releases stress, worry, loneliness, sorrow, and anger. You might feel yuck after a cry but a good crying session can see your mind feeling lighter and with you thinking straighter. Nothing like an emotional reboot to help with your motivation.
My biggest change was I stopped caring and I put myself first!!
I stopped caring about being consistent with my course work because life is chaotic and messy, I stopped caring that I had days that I couldn’t be the perfect mum, because no matter what I’m doing my best and they are both healthy and alive. I stopped caring about not getting a blog up every week because I am a mum. I am a single person who does what she does because she loves it. If I have a week where I can’t find my voice, then so be it. I would honestly prefer a post I care about then one written without emotion.
I will still chase after my kids and spend hours playing with them, but I now understand that I come first too. Not all the time, not even a lot of the time. But sometimes Mummy comes first.
It’s not a change that comes easily because I will always have those moments where I feel guilty about not putting an assessment through, or when I haven’t posted in two weeks, or even when I have a pile of clothes in the laundry and I’m wearing my husband’s jocks.
Are you disappointed?? Were you looking for the “sure-fire” way to help your motivation??
Well, stop! Only you can find the way to keep your motivation going. Only you can find the way to make it work. You are not me, you are not anybody else. We can offer helpful hints and tell you how we manage it.
I adapted to my family’s needs and learned to put myself first, I feel guilty for doing so but I’m so much happier now that I can follow my own interests. My kids are happier because I’m more willing to spend time with them. My husband is happier because I smile and laugh more.
All I can say, as so many have said before me, is find a way to put you first. I know you will scoff and roll your eyes. You’re probably thinking that it’s impossible because you have so much to do.
But do you remember your mum telling you that you will miss school when it was over, or that you will have a great time a party, or that you would appreciate the effort you put into your project?
Don’t lie, I know you remember, I know you miss school and you had a great time at that party and the effort you put into that project reflected the response you received back. This moment is like those. Until you find your way you won’t believe me, you’ll think I’m full of it.
Remember that when you share your story with somebody else.