Among the HUGE list of “Things I Was Clueless About When I Became a Professional Mom” was the entire concept of planning.
But that’s a topic for another day.
This is just about planning YOURSELF.
Yes, that’s a thing.
Yes, it’s a thing you need to do.
Yes, it will actually improve your parenting.
Whether you’re an on-paper planning aficionado, or all your vague scheduling is in your head, think about it. Where are YOU on the schedule? When do you partake in your hobbies, or personal growth activities, or real, intentional leisure time?
Hint: “whenever I can fit it in” is the wrong answer.
That’s how I operated for over a year of full-time at-home parenting. In practice, it turned out that I did hobbies/personal growth/intentional leisure exactly zero times per week. Really, almost zero times per year! Not okay.
The result was a very grumpy, lackluster momma. One who felt irritation rise at the very first whine of the morning, who felt guilt and exhaustion every time she spotted the half-finished novel on her bedside table. (The novel I promised myself I would finish before moving, and didn’t finish until months afterward.) I was a mom who didn’t even feel at leisure on vacation – I would bring along a hobby and it never made it out of the suitcase. Ugh.
Enter 2017. This year began with a little Parents’ Getaway (something I always said I’d never need or participate in.) The epitome of scheduled leisure. I planned this little vacation to intentionally include nothing but scheduled leisure – the dead of winter in Wisconsin, in the middle of farm country, in a tiny vacation home with nothing but two bags: one of face masks, board games, and novels and the other of groceries.
And this spurred an entire lifestyle change. (No exaggeration!) I realized that the only thing preventing me from reading, relaxing, etc was that I didn’t treat it as important. That if I didn’t create pockets of time for my own adult brain, I was going to lose my patience/sanity/creativity/intellectual prowess during my years as a professional parent. And that prospect was NOT ACCEPTABLE.
So here’s what I did: I took out my planner (because I’m old fashioned!) and quite literally penned myself in, every day. In the first slot of my planner, every day, I schedule a cup of tea and either blog writing or professional development reading. In the very last slot, every day, I schedule fiction reading, movie nights with my husband, nail painting/face masking, etc. The last weekend of each month, I spend my early morning at the local coffee shop (read: my literal happy place) setting goals for the next month. I actually think about this at the start of every week and pen. it. in. with equal weight as my cleaning schedule and meal plan.
And a lot of the time, I actually do it! I don’t fall asleep on the couch at 8:30 thinking of all the wonderful things I could do, but feeling like I should do housekeeping instead. I don’t drag myself out of bed to the sound of little boys pounding on bedroom walls. I’m actually pumped to get up early each day for my “me time” and I can dive right into a relaxing activity as soon as the kids are tucked in at night.
It’s given me the “permission” to nurture myself, in addition to looking after the hearts of my family.
And a peaceful mom runs a peaceful home.
What’s a hobby or leisure activity you claim to love but never have time to do?
Make an appointment with yourself!