I took part in one of the most amazing experiences last week. I was asked to give a 45 minute speech on “How Moms Make It All Work”. Honestly, it was one of my proudest moments, because this was the very first time I wasn’t speaking on behalf of my television station or on behalf of another company…it was just me, a microphone, a few notes, chatting about what I’m most passionate about in the entire world: being a wife and mother.
I chatted a bit about my former career as a journalist. Touching on the important things like, juggling it all in the bustling metropolis of Parkersburg, WV. My move to Birmingham, AL. Then to Lexington, and lastly Savannah. I mentioned the amazing people I met, the incredible experiences and the tragedies I reported on.
Transitioning to my life today, I realize it is busier than ever. I now juggle three very small, loud, exhausting, needy children…a household, a business, a blog, a husband, while still trying to maintain my sanity and finding ME time too. Whew.
The ladies laughed, they cried, they laughed some more. One lady almost peed her pants. Needless to say, I’m funnier than my husband give me credit for. HA!
So here it is, my 9 simple steps to Juggling It All with this important acrynom:
Make a calendar & to-do list
Eliminate the guilt
Ready to go with the flow
Find your army
Create ME time
Take time to find the JOY
The reason I chose the word “imperfect” is because I think it’s important to remember that NO ONE is perfect. You are not going to be an expert on all of these steps. There are some you will struggle with daily, and that is okay! If we were great at all of these, it wouldn’t be natural. We are all in this together!
- I – INSTILL CONFIDENCE – this is the first step to successfully juggling it all. Be completely confident in yourself. I know this isn’t an easy feat. I question myself daily. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? The best way to cope with finding your confidence is knowing full well that you are doing the very best you can do at that given moment. Remind yourself you are just one person.
- M- MAKE A CALENDAR & TO-DO LIST —I actually have 2 calendars. I have one on my phone that helps with emails and to digitally keep everything in order. I have a second one called the Bullet Journal. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and vision board or all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less. I’m a HUGE fan of the bullet journal, and there are amazing YouTube videos out there to really explain how the analog system works. Also, research shows you will be a happier person if you can simply cross things off a list! It’s science people!
- P- PRIORITIZE – Knowing full well that priorities shift with different life cycles. If you’re having a difficult time figuring out your priorities, open a journal or a piece of paper and start by getting organized. Write down everything you need to do and include deadlines if they apply. Then jot down notes about what each thing is and try to put your priorities in order.
- E – ELIMINATE THE GUILT – Oh, the mom guilt is so real. I recently wrote an article over at Mother.ly about this exact topic. I asked my older two children to answer some simple questions about mom, I’m sure you’ve seen this on Facebook before…. their answers gave me the biggest wake up call. The article is here: I had a wakeup call when my kids said ‘work’ was my favorite thing to do.
- R – READY TO GO WITH THE FLOW — The best example I can give with being ready at all times to go with the flow is the story of my Pickle Juice Wednesday. Y’all this story is real and still scars me a little. Pickles rolling down the aisle, glass on the floor, juice all over everyone and my 5-year-old knocking over displays while my daughter decided she just didn’t want to use her legs anymore. You see, I learned very fast you must be willing and ready to go with the flow.
- F – FIND YOUR ARMY — In isolation, stress can grow like a cancer. Worry overtakes us when we are alone. I truly believe in finding an army that will go to battle with you. I wrote an article last summer that was picked up by Scary Mommy and shared hundreds of thousands of times. I honestly didn’t think much of it, but because of how much it was shared it proved to me that finding a mom friend is a REAL challenge! Almost worse than dating, oy!
- E – ELIMINATE COMPARISONS — This is a subject I could talk about all day. ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’ is now on an elevated level thanks to social media. What we need to remind ourselves is that people will take 75 pictures for one perfect shot. It’s okay to see something and say ‘I want that’, and then work hard for it. It’s not okay when you start to compare. Comparison fuels the flames of stress and robs you of your own joy.
- C – CREATE ME TIME — This is something I struggle with. Finding ME time and finding time for my spouse. It’s funny because I asked my husband his opinion on a lot of these talking points and when I mentioned this one, his response was “ohhhh, I can’t wait to hear your “expertise” on that one.” Truth be told…. I recently got my hair cut and styled for the first time since August. I went shopping for new clothes for this speaking event and it was the first time I had shopped for myself outside of Target and H&M in probably two years. I am not great at creating ME time. But I’m trying.
- T – TAKE TIME TO FIND THE JOY — When I was asked to speak, I went to my friends and asked them what they’d like to hear me talk about for 45 minutes. A lot of them said, “how do I find the joy in what I do?” That was sad, but it’s so incredibly relevant. I think the first step in finding the joy is to just Choose It. Easier to read, harder to live. But in the midst of the chaos, uncertainty or frustration, stress is the easy answer. Stress leads to anger and words we later regret. Circumstances may not change, but your attitude sure can. Choose joy.
Hopefully these steps help you. I encourage you to attempt to try a few of them… I know I am still working on this daily. At the end of the day, parenting is hard…but if we step back and realize no one is perfect it’s much easier to find your own joy in it all.