You often see people these days referring to living their “best life”. These references are usually accompanied by a hashtag and an insta-perfect snap of a kale smoothie, a picture perfect flat lay or a gym selfie.
And 9 times out of 10, they leave me feeling like more of a hot mess than I am already.
In contrast, my life is best summed up as #mumlife
Running around after 3 kids, getting them to kindy, school, sport, taking them to appointments, losing sleep about their various developmental stages, health and emotional issues. Oh, and of course, working, studying and running a household on the side.
My situation is not unique, nor special and definitely nothing new. Millions of us do it. We all carry an enormous mental load and overwhelm is a common among women of all ages.
But you know what? I’m really tired of feeling like a hot mess. I don’t want to be wishing away my kids’ childhood, just because it is so fecking exhausting and I feel like I can’t get on top of things.
So I’ve decided to make my #mumlife = my #bestlife.
Here’s the plan:
Spoiler Alert: It does not involve kale.
Sounds deceptively simple, one might even say logical! But the reality is getting, and staying, organised is such a challenge when you have so many balls in the air.
I’m putting a few things into place to help keep me organised:
- A paper diary/organiser. I’m going old school to brain-dump everything in one place & keep important papers together.
- Dealing with paperwork as it comes in. This particularly applies to school forms and bills, both of which can easily slip off a busy mind’s radar.
- A work/study schedule. To combat my procrastination gene!
- A household routine. Ensuring everyone knows what is expected of them and keeps stress to a minimum.
- Meal Plan. Because at the end of each day little people inevitably need to be fed and just as inevitably, I don’t want to have to think about it!
Embrace The Chaos
A complete contradiction to the point above, however, the reality of parenting is that some days you’ve just got to roll with it.
A tidy, organised life would be great, but the reality is sometimes you have to sit on the floor in the middle of a sea of Lego and be in the moment with your kids.
Use My Life/Work Skills To Enhance My Parenting
I don’t know about you, but before I became “Mum” I had a career and was a pretty switched on kind of gal.
I have excellent communication skills, problem-solving skills and research skills. It occurred to me that I can (and do) apply these to my #mumlife to great advantage.
I regularly advocate for my children, investigate issues for them and apply new knowledge. Oh, and problem solve. Every. Single. Day.
To date, this is something I have done without really thinking about it. I’m sure you do the same! But these are great strengths. We should be proud that we can do these things for our kids. From now on I’m determined to look at how these skills can further enhance my experience of parenting.
Get Better At Maintenance
I’m not just talking about getting the car serviced or the leaking plumbing fixed, although I am guilty of letting these things slide, too.
Self-care is a big talking point these days. But I confess, like many women, it is something I fail miserably at. I’ve been to see a health professional at least once a week for the last 3 months but not once has it been for me.
I need to go to the dentist. Get a pap smear. Probably see a therapist. All things that I put off because time, money and energy are at a premium. I take my kids to see every specialist under the sun to ensure they are in their best health, mentally and physically.
As mum’s we need to ask ourselves: Don’t I deserve that? More to the point – how would our family cope if something happened to us because we didn’t get around to investing in the person who keeps everything ticking over? Putting ourselves last on the list of priorities is definitely not living our #bestlife or doing the best thing for our family.
Set Personal AND Family Goals
For a #bestlife scenario we need to identify what energises us and do at least some of that! Setting and achieving personal goals will have a wonderful flow on effect to other parts of our lives, especially the way we parent.
But we also need to look at what keeps our family buzzing. Setting family goals, perhaps in the form of a family bucket list gives everyone something to plan and look forward to. Likewise, fostering family culture helps build our connection as a unit. This is turn increases our personal satisfaction as a parent.
Ultimately, I think living our #bestlife doesn’t have to be all glamour, adventure and being on trend.
I KNOW my #bestlife doesn’t involve kale.
For me, living my #bestlife is looking after the people I care most about (including myself!) while doing the things I love, and minimising the hot mess factor in the process!
In fact, I think my #mumlife is already well on the way to being my #bestlife, I just hadn’t realised it.
Do you think your #mumlife could be your #bestlife? How do you feel about kale?