As a parent, whether working outside the home or not, is can be easy to become temporarily overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the juggling of the various aspects of family life. Overwhelmed by keeping on top of the housework, the garden and relationships. Overwhelmed by work, the children’s hobbies, dog walking, bill paying, play dates and the school run. Overwhelmed at the mere thought of the never-ending cycle of stuff to be done and the weight of responsibility.
There are times I have stood in the kitchen on my one day a week off work and realised that the day is slipping by and I have done nothing. I have run around starting jobs and getting distracted by other things that need doing and stopped and wondered which to do next then changed tack and gone one with something entirely different.
Normally I am an organised person. I use lists and can multitask with the best of them. I cluster jobs and enjoy being busy. But on rare days it all seems too much or I can’t muster the enthusiasm, as if I am surrounded by a fog of sorts that is preventing me from being my usual me.
As the years of motherhood have passed, I have come to know myself better. I’ve developed a few ways of moving beyond the fog, sometimes to a mist, sometimes to complete clarity.
These techniques and tricks work for me, and they may work for you too, so I am sharing them here. Some may seem obvious, some trivial. But I have found them helpful. Helpful in guiding me back to the person I really am. Maybe not abck to me on top form, but out of the fog at least and to a place where I feel better and can see what needs to be done now rather than seeing all the millions of things that could and maybe should get done some day.
- Reflection – Take a moment to stop and think about how you feel physically. Are you too warm? Or maybe a bit chilly? Do you need the loo? Are you comforable in your clothes and shoes? Is your hair bothering you? Are your sleeves falling down when you need them pushed up to your elbows? Deal with whatever may be bugging you. Open a window or put on a cardigan. Pop to the loo or change your shoes. Let down your hair and give it a shake.
- Have a drink – Non-alcoholic, I mean. Pour yourself a glass of juice or water or make yourself a herbal tea. Take the time to drink it, slowly.
- Freshen up – Wash your hands and face and put on some hand cream. Imagine you are actaully washing away the fog that surrounds you, that when you see your reflection in the mirror after moving the face cloth away you will see the real you, back to your usual form.
- Music – Distract yourself from the rut you are in my putting on some of your favourite music. Let it lift your mood and get you moving.
- Write a list – Sit down with a clean sheet of paper and write a list of what really needs doing. Break it down into manageable steps. Don’t write a master list. Write a list of tasks that are achieveable. Rather than “Renew passport” write “Fill out passport form”, “Make appointment for photos”, “Look for birth cert”. Instead of “Clean house” write “Make beds”, “Vacuum hall”, “Empty dishwasher”, “Wipe down kitchen surfaces”. Begin with the jobs you like best and see how you get on from there.
- Acceptance – Accept that not every day can be your best day. Some days you wake up full of power and plans, others you don’t.