Sometimes all the stuff I have to fit into my life makes me want to cry.
There is after school activities and writing deadlines, and Dr appointments, and kinder duty, and grocery shopping, and parent teacher meet and greets, and laundry… always so much bloody laundry!
And I want to ‘simplify’ I want to stop ‘glorifying busy’ really I do… but I don’t know how.
How do I tell my kids they can’t learn to swim because I am overwhelmed?
How do I ignore their teachers’ requests to meet us because I am struggling to fit it in?
How do I disregard the hospital’s suggestions my girls see an eye specialist because I can’t face juggling kids for yet another appointment? I can’t…
And of course I am the one who had four kids, I brought all this on myself, so I really can’t complain.
And I don’t even have a full time job, so I really, really can’t complain.
And we were the ones who moved here, and started renovating, and had four kids (did I say that already?), and he has to work stupid shifts to pay for it all, so I really, really, really, can’t complain.
So I am not complaining… I am just crying.
Weeping silently every time my phone buzzes with yet another reminder, every time I get another letter, or notice, or email, and have to squeeze in one more thing, or make a decision not to, while on the outside trying to appear as if I have it all under control…
But my kids haven’t been to the dentist in a year… and it is far from under control.
I’m going to attempt to reign in my crazy life before it gets even more out of hand so I’d love your help!
How do you keep on top of everything?
What are your best tips for managing the business of every day life?
What are your favourite organising/planning type blogs?
I’ll share the best tips and things I’ve tried in a blog post soon!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
I don’t! How can we!?!? It’s impossible. I don’t know when life got too busy to fit into life, but here we all are, drowning. We want our kids to have ‘opportunities’, but that comes at a high price – time! That plus everyone is so hyper-vigilant about everything these days and, guess what, there’s a specialist for that, that you find yourself juggling life plus extra-curricular activities (read as ‘extra-life activities’) PLUS going to the OT, the physio, the psychologist, the opthamologist (I don’t even know what one of them is, but I’m sure some mother, somewhere has one on speed dial), the tutor… argh!!!
No wonder people have two kids and stop right there. x
Lynda @ all about mama says
I feel for you Kate, and while it doesn’t sound like I have as many things to juggle as you do, I often feel the same. As I’ve officially started homeschooling this year I’ve found the pressure to get everything done has upped quite a bit. For what it’s worth here are some of my tips:
– work out what are the absolute essentials first and make them the priority, the other things can get done if you get around to it, no huge deal if they don’t. One of my top essential things is spending quality, undivided attention time with the kids daily. The way I figure it, that is far more important than extra-curricular activities for them to pursue. I notice my kids are always far happier, better behaved and nicer to be around when they have had plenty of time with hubby and I. I think we often get the kids doing these extra activities too early and then too many of them which becomes too stressful keeping up with them all – one activity per season, per child, is enough in my humble opinion.
– I set aside around half a day one day a week to do the vacuuming and dusting and have one day a week dedicated to no chores, where we all try to rest and relax, stay home and enjoy each others company.
– writing lists helps enormously…sometimes I write one at the start of the day as to what I want to get done for that day so I have a focus. I also have a list for chores that are not super urgent but I will eventually get around to doing…’don’t think it, ink it’ as the saying goes. It frees up mental head space which is important when you are feeling stressed!
– I love Nicole Avery’s blog for tips on organising and planning: planningwithkids.com
Hope this is helpful,
Lynda @ all about mama says
I just remembered a really good blog post I recently read entitled, ‘No-one does it all – you have to make a choice’. Really worth reading:
I hear you! The simple answer is just PRIORITIZE focus on ‘top 3’ items each day – and don’t ever try to do it all – or expect that it’s possible.. Here’s a blog post I wrote this week which recommends just sticking your head in the sand a bit – and make time to do the things you enjoy the most – and don’t beat yourself up about the rest!
Don’t ever be afraid of appointments eating into school time. My mum used to deliberately make appointments during school hours because they were easier to get but also it have her some one on one time with us. We’d go to the appointment, have morning/afternoon tea or lunch and still sometimes fit in a half day at school. I also think, being a stay at home Mum, we know what can wait and what can’t. Just like those in paid jobs, we can’t do it all, even if it’s expected of us. So I prioritise, I look at the emotional/physical needs of my kids and start with those first. 2014 is the year in going to be kinder to myself, wanna join me?!
Kate Lloyd says
I’m terrible with advice about being organised etc. Let’s be honest, I’ve got washing that has been on the line for three days! LOL
I do, however, think that it’s important not to feel like you can get around to doing everything. Take the pressure off, delegate anything you can and recognise when you just need to take a step back from things and have ‘me’ time. You’re only human after all and at the end of the day the world keeps turning. :) X
Do one day at a time. Write down all the must be tasks/appointments in the calendar and then don’t think about it. When you get up and start your day just think about today – one foot in front of the other. Do what is most important/essential and all the other stuff can either fit in where it can or be rolled over for another day.
I find when I am overwhelmed its because I am looking ahead too much at the week or fortnight to come, and it seems as if all the appointments & stuff are occurring simultaneously (which of course they are not) as they are all vying for attention in my head.
Oh mate I’m feeling for you! Honestly with two and after school stuff and less big drives everything seems to take a lot of time. I dunno what the answer is. Today I’m sitting on my butt for a few hours. Then I can blame having a rest rather than no time to ever get it all done!!
I think this time of the year is hard. With three different schools and five kids in school now, I have been out nearly every week night for the last two weeks.
I talk about how I cope in this post here http://planningwithkids.com/2012/12/15/what-to-do-when-feeling-overwhelmed/
In brief my strategy is as follows:
1. Tell myself I can do this
2. Write it all down
3. Organise the list
5. Go do something
6. Review and plan
But I now have a very important addition to the post – BREATHE! When I start to feel like “OMG I am never going to be able to do all of this!” I literally stop what I am doing, find somewhere less noisy in the house and focus on my breathing. I spend just a couple of minutes taking slow, calm, deep breaths and it really helps.
Hope the wave of busy stops soon for you Kate.
Oh yikes as we’ve been contemplating having a third child, I’m really scared now! Hehe :-) But no seriously, even with just two I’m overwhelemed 80% of the time. My sanity saver is extremely simple dinners and only very simple breakfasts/lunches. Like we eat eggs and toast some nights, or leftover rice with chicken breast and frozen veggies cooked in a jar of simmer sauce. Breakfast is oatmeal cooked in the microwave, or toast and fruit. Lunchboxes have bread item (sandwich or roll, etc), 2 types of fruit, and one “processed” item (chips or crackers usually). I find cutting down on lots of cooking for a week allows me to catch up a tiny bit. But let me just forget about the six piles of paper and books I have lying around waiting to be sorted…
Best wishes to you as you get through this phase a bit… hopefully life will slow down enough to let you catch up. xx
I feel kinda guilty even making a suggestion when I only have one kid (I have no idea how those of you with more than two manage). But here’s how I’ve been trying to feel on top of all the demands for my time.
I’ve banned myself from using the word ‘busy’. I’ve decided to focus on changing my attitude and have accepted that my life is always going to be full.
It seems counterproductive – but I take time out. i.e. I ignore the chaos, deadlines and mess and we head outdoors and simply wander or play. It’s amazing how much more productive I am after a brief break (and how less demanding Little Eco is of my time once I’ve given her some undivided attention doing something fun).
Like planning Queen suggests – I make a list and priortise. And I pat myself on the back when I do get something accomplished (rather than worry about all that I haven’t)
Good luck x
The answer to all your problems is chocolate ;). I’m sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed at the moment. One thing I have found has given me a couple more minutes sanity is logging off social media. I was finding those few minutes that I spent going into Facebook would slow my production down significantly. Not having alerts come up on my phone has helped stop the pressure of answering to people all the time. Just make things as simple as possible….baked beans is a truly sound dinner. I hope you can slow down soon Kate!
Mrs Pelican says
I hear you! – I was at boiling point just over an hour ago, now I’m feeling much better. I’m generally a natural-born organiser and planner but sometimes it still all gets too much. I, too, rely on lists and routines. I like to keep a block plan of my ‘normal’ week, which shows the kids’ activities, my gym time, housework time and so on. But I know it rarely works out this way. I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected (see my blog post from last winter – http://peliplace.com/expect-the-unexpected/ ), like illnesses and appointments and acknowledge that there are times when you just can’t do it all. I agree that this is a particularly bad spell at the start of the year (although so was the end of the year!) trying to get into new routines etc, perhaps flexibility and prioritization is the key. Work out what is most important to you and your family – everyone is different. And when all else fails reach for the chocolate!
Frog Goose and Bear says
Kate – I hear you! They are all thoughts that I have had regularly. I got so overwhelmed a year ago that I just wasn’t coping any more at all. I’ve been trying to make sure ever since that it never gets that bad again. For me trying to let go of the high expectations I have of myself is a big one and saying no to things even if they’d be great – and telling myself that it really is OK not to do everything perfectly. Like Nikki mentioned above, trying to appreciate the moment I’m in right now and one thing at a time instead of looking ahead to the next day/week/month and bundling them all together and worrying that they’re not done. That might not make any sense at all, but it’s been helping me enormously to change my thinking as we have more control over our thoughts than our life circumstances a lot of the time. Also, allowing yourself some time out every now and then, even when it seems like you don’t have the time – it’s vital for ones mental health. It’s a work in progress of course, but I’m finding it a whole lot easier to breathe!
I don’t think there is any secret to coping with everything you have to do – if there was you would have found it by now! I’m sure you’re actually managing everything really really well – even if you feel a bit out-of-control on the inside.
I think most of us can relate.. I homeschool my three… and somehow it took the pressure of us because i stopped being tied to the schedules and expectations of the school’s and kindergartens my kids were involved in. I get to choose our family’s pace.. which is a huge thing…
Last year i did Mind Organisation for Moms (see below) and although i haven’t implemented it fully it has made a huge difference towards taking the stuff out of my head and getting the little things done.
I also try and do one annoying task every day after the morning routine…. something that is hanging over me.. like overdue library books etc,… the whole idea of eating a frog first thing every morning….i have to plan it the night before when i plan my day though or i always forget…
good on you for having 4 kids… i wish i did… i had to stop at 3…