This is just not optional anymore. You wouldn’t smoke because there is so much information about how bad that is for you. Inactivity may be even worse than smoking.
Go for a walk today – 20-30 minutes at a brisk pace over your lunch hour. (Breathing hard but still able to talk.) Think while you are walking about all the great things you are doing for your body and your mind. Think of it as taking care of the one who cares for your family.
Maybe add some accountability. Text your best friend and tell her you are going to do this; let her cheer you on. Post on FB that you are going to workout three times a week from now on. The thought of all your friends knowing whether or not you get this done may motivate you out the door.
20 minutes today, Mamma. 30 even. You’re worth it.
But, before we go into talking about strategies for connecting, can we talk for a minute about letting go of perfection?
There just isn’t enough time in the day to be as great as we could be at all the things we’d like to be great at; there is not. Not time enough for the life you envision you could have if you could just manage a little more efficiency, right? … you could do gourmet hot meals and have a spotless clean house and perfectly groomed children and flower-filled yard and make brilliant powerpoints and run uber productive meetings and slam out follow up letters to all your customers and develop a thorough knowledge of each of your colleagues’ skill sets and motivations… I could go on and on, dreams abound.
But, the reality is that time is limited. And if we look at the above list, nowhere in all those time-consuming dreams of perfection did I say: have loving relationship with my kids.
Because having a loving relationship with our kids is not something we can put on the to-do list and tick off. It’s messier, vaguer, it’s an on-going, not a to-do. In order to have the free time and free heart to build that relationship, we have to step off the perfection tracks that we relentlessly drive on, and just be with the kids.
It’s okay that the beds aren’t made, sit down and have breakfast with your kids. Put some music on. Laugh.
It’s okay that the laundry didn’t get folded. Take your last 20 minutes of energy tonight and read out loud to your kids. If you MUST fold, bring a kid into the laundry room with you and talk about their day or their dreams while you match socks.
It’s okay that there are weeds in the garden, play Frisbee when they ask you to play Frisbee.
I give you permission not to care about the beds or the socks or the weeds. They are not the core of your life.
The kids are. Those kids you would die for. Let perfection go, Mamma. Accept the mess and give yourself room to live.
This is your one and precious life and their childhood is unbelievably fleeting. Love them now, while you have the chance. For them, and for you.
Exercise has been called a “magic bullet” for its many benefits to our body. One of the key benefits for a Working Mommy is that exercise GIVES YOU ENERGY. That, my lovely ladies, is the Holy Grail of Working Mommies. So, if you are tired, don’t wait till you have energy to exercise, go find some more energy at the gym! It may seem counter-intuitive, I know, but it’s true.
From the attached article:
“In a study, published in Psychological Bulletin, researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.
‘More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: Sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise,’ says O’Connor. ‘It’s a very consistent effect.’
The results show that regular exercise increases energy and reduces fatigue.”
Now, I’m as addicted to caffeine as the next girl, but I couldn’t get through my week without exercise. My energy level plummets without it, caffeine or no.
Look at your week – somewhere between the dishes and the expense reports and the committee meetings and making dinner, you can find, minimally, three solid half hour blocks to go move your body, you NEED to find those three half hour blocks. Maybe go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood early morning, before everyone wakes up. Or instead of plunking down and watching TV after the kids go to bed, call a girlfriend and catch an 8 pm yoga class – plan it with her ahead of time and you’ll both be more likely to make it. Plus, you’ll sleep like a baby when you get home. Does your office have a gym? Does your hometown have an Anytime Fitness? Instead of working through lunch, workout through lunch. Half an hour of weight lifting and you won’t be nodding off to sleep at your desk at 2pm.
However you do it, raise your heart rate, get some blood pumping through those muscles and enjoy the many benefits of exercise. You are worth it.
Now then, ready to take on your Tuesday!? Go get it, Mamma
I know, the mom brain never completely shuts off, and halfway through that meeting today you’ll remember that Little One has her final band practice picnic on Wednesday and you need to get some kind of ice cream sundae thing to send with her. You’ll either jot a written note in your Daytimer, or electronically in your smart phone and then your focus can return to the boardroom or customer call. But still, we are MOSTLY in work mode at work, right?
So. Monday! The beginning of your week. Time to check out the to-do list, map out the meetings, plan time for each project (adding at least 10% more time than you think it will take) and then HIT IT.
It’s going to be a great week, Working Mommy! Whether your work is rockstar-fabulous right now, or a significant struggle, it still deserves the best you can throw at it from when you show up till when you shut it down today. Go, Mamma, go. It’s in there.
I hope you get to start your day in bed, listening to plates clanking down in the kitchen with excited whispers filtering up (the sounds of amateurs in the kitchen), with big brothers or big sisters providing possibly less than gentle guidance about the amount of butter that should go on your toast…and then to have coffee and possibly overdone toast brought to you on a shaky tray with oh-so-proud, mile-wide smiles, and look mommy! surprise! we love you! greeting cards handmade in various shades of Crayola. (Followed, quite possibly, by rumpled, unshaven and smiling husband. Good morning, honey, thanks for all you do. He loves you. How cool is that?)
My wish for you this day is that you set aside everything that could be done or should be done or hasn’t been done yet, and that you just BE. We have unending to-do lists, Working Mommies. Let them go today. Days like this are what you work so hard for. A whole big delicious day, just for you. Look at all your blessings! Those small people who love you with their whole hearts, as you love them. That house that is never quite as clean as you think it probably ought to be, but which you are hugely grateful for and rightly proud of. The food in the fridge, the ancient comfy sofa, clean clothes and socks and shoes… A family who loves you. Riches, truly, treasures all.
My wish for you today is that you take time to make a memory. Doesn’t really matter what, there are so many lovely things to choose from… Go for a walk, plant flowers, play Candyland or Scrabble or Cranium with your family. Confiscate all the electronics and go play basketball or draw with sidewalk chalk or bake cupcakes and load them with ridiculous amounts of frosting. Sprawl on the sofa and read books out loud to each other. Take pictures.
My wish for you this Mother’s Day is that you let yourself completely and without reservation love your perfectly imperfect life. It is a treasure beyond price.
Happy Day, Mamma. Happy, happy day.
Monday – Pasta – gluten free Bionatrae pasta (that I order from Amazon) and turkey meatballs. Veggie: tomato and cucumber salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Turkey meatballs were made ahead and frozen. This whole meal is 20 minutes from briefcase touchdown to table.
Tuesday – Rotisserie Chicken and Veggies – Gotta remember to get to the grocery store before 6:30. Last week they were sold out when I got there at 7:00. Veggies: Roasted carrots and cauliflower. SO EASY. Soak in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spend one hour in a low heat oven. Yes, the kids will eat them.
Wednesday – Soup -and Bread – cannellini bean and spinach soup with Chebe rolls. Can make this in the crock pot before I leave in the morning. Veggies: Spinach and tomato in the soup, steamed broccoli with cheese on the side.
Thursday – Let’s Dish Day at our house – … let’s see, what do I have in the freezer from these guys… Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas. Goes right from the freezer to the oven, awesome. Veggie: salted avocado slices (so easy!) and lime cilantro slaw with pre-sliced cabbage and dressing (I can make the dressing on the weekend and mix in day of, it keeps really well.)
Friday – Frozen Udi’s pizza. Was on sale BOGO last week, still have 3 in the freezer. Veggie: apple and pear slices. Okay, they’re not technically veggies, but they work.
Saturday – this upcoming Saturday is our Do Nothing Day. I am not allowed to plan anything for this day. How awesome is that?
School lunch stuff to add to grocery list: bananas, yogurt (live and active cultures), 1% cottage cheese, KIND bars, FiberOne bread, deli ham, cheese sticks and slices, grapes, more apples and pears, trail mix.
Breakfast stuff to add: Cheerios (on every grocery list since 1997), spreadable butter, peanut butter (crunchy and creamy), celery (for ants-on-a-log snacks), raisins (ditto), 6 gallons of milk (two teenagers in my house, can you tell?)
Happy meal planning day, Working Mommy.