Start By Slowing Down
Having worked with over 1,700 families, they mostly have one thing in common – all are striving for better balance. Put simply, many families are out of balance because too many mothers are stressed. There is so much rushing around, comparison, perfectionism and pleasing that all make it really challenging for mothers to stay grounded and happy. If you feel like your energy is zapped, you’re exhausted, and your motivation levels are depleted – like you are stuck in the day-to-day motions and don’t know how to get off the hamster wheel – start putting yourself first. As a mother that might sound hard to do, but the key is to slow down and feel more. Many mothers get addicted to their to-do lists, but it will only deplete your energy levels.
Deal With Burnout
Low energy, exhaustion and feeling out of touch with your true self are all signs of burnout. Remember that a burnt-out mum will only lead to overthinking, overcomplicating and worrying – you won’t actually be able to notice what’s really going on around you. The more you think, the more you suppress how you feel, and the more you do this, the less you feel. Your moods will be worse, and you won’t have enough energy to be there for your children. Overthinking also prevents you from being in the present. If you aren’t present, then you’ll be unable to enjoy time spent with your children.
If you want your family to be happier, it has to start with you. Try to commit to 20 minutes every morning for seven days to explore things like yoga and meditation. My recommendation is to do this first thing before the children wake up, but you must do what works best for you and your family. Mindful morning routines have a domino effect on the rest of your day – they provide you with time to prioritise yourself and everything that follows will be better. Meditation also teaches us to be more present. Start small with just one to five minutes of meditation – you can always build up from there.
Tackle It As A Team
A lot of my clients often feel quite disconnected from their partner. Children are extremely sensitive and pick up on imbalances within the home, so it’s essential both parents are on the same team, setting the same boundaries, and demonstrate love and affection towards one another. I get it – life gets busy, days fill up with menial tasks, and for whatever reason, passion and romance seem to be the first things to go. Try to increase your awareness of how you’re showing up for your partner. How do you greet them first thing in the morning? Are you making time for each other in the evening? It’s also essential to consciously connect with your partner – pick one a night a week that works for you both and go on a date night.
Find Your Own Space
I’m a big believer in having a space to call your own at home. Start with one corner – it can be anywhere, from a bedroom corner to a garden shed – and make sure it’s uncluttered, calm and large enough to move around in. Visualise yourself there, drinking a cup of tea, reading a book or doing some yoga. This will be a space where you can relax and recharge. Investing a little time and money could be the first step to making yourself a priority. It’s also a small thing, but when you’re in your space (and in the other rooms of your house), put on some soothing music (preferably without lyrics) to calm the central nervous system. It really works.
Start Doing Yoga
Even if your day feels busy, taking just ten minutes out can help. Yoga is a time-tested way to shift stagnant energy within the body, which in turn will help be present. Even better, start doing yoga with the family. Kids love yoga – their spontaneity and creative expression are the perfect match. You can start by putting a family yoga session in the calendar. At first, less is more – start out with a ten to 15-minute practice if you have younger children, and 30 minutes for pre-teens and teenagers.
Drop The Comparison Game
Whether it’s the daily scroll on social media or observing what the other parents are wearing at school drop off, we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. We say things like, ‘I wish my life looked like that,’ or ‘I wish I could balance home and work like she does.’ My top tip is to get clear on why you’re doing it and how it makes you feel about yourself. Do you compare yourself because you’re unsure of how to do something and you’re curious to learn another way? Or do you compare yourself because you want what someone else has and it makes you jealous? Remember, jealousy is often a sign we aren’t living how we really want to, so it might be worth examining this instead of constantly sharming yourself for it.
ROB & JULIA CAMPBELL/STOCKSY UNITED
Put Your Phone Away
I get it – days can be manic and not everything will go to plan. If this sounds familiar, one of the simplest ways to make evenings less stressful is to avoid bringing your phone to meals, bathtime and bedtime. Put away the screens and other distractions and instead spend quality time with your family, giving them all your attention. You will instantly feel more connected to your child.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
If you find yourself doing things for your child which they could do themselves; if you constantly question your child over everything; or if you overshare with your child and treat them like a friend, this could be a sign you are blurring too many boundaries as a mother. Learning how to apply boundaries allows us to be more in control our emotions. If your upbringing did not teach you how to create and maintain healthy boundaries, it’s not too late to start. Like everything, start small, practice, and in time it will become second nature. When your kids cross a boundary, let them know they have and hold them accountable.
If All Else Fails, Have Realistic Expectations
Mothers are human, and we’re designed to experience a range of emotions. It’s not natural to feel really happy all the time, and it’s not natural to be beaming with positivity when we’ve had a rubbish night’s sleep. It’s also not natural to feel like you’re running on empty all the time, either. It’s about balance, not about pushing down feelings we don’t want to feel or deal with, like tiredness, or guilt for feeling negative when we’re tired. It can help to establish a neutral mindset – not a positive or negative one, but somewhere in the middle. A neutral mindset can allow you to be yourself instead of pleasing others. It’s a mindset that will allow you to admit you are really tired, and one that gives you permission to cry, ask your partner for help or go to bed at 6:30pm.