Kids grow up fast, don’t they?
I mean, one moment you’re wondering ‘are my boobs ever going to stop leaking milk everywhere?’. And the next moment you’re wondering ‘how the *fudge*are we going to cram all that college stuff into the back of the Honda?’
And, yes, we all want to cherish our little ones’ childhoods.
But life’s stressful, isn’t it?
And some of us are more stress-y than others. I’m talking about my type-A, control-freak, worry-laden, highly-sensitive homies. You know who you are, ladies!!
But, mamas, what if we could drop the stress - at least sometimes?
How to be a Calm Mom
What if we could be one of those mamas who swished through life?
You know, one of those chilled-out mother-fudgers who doesn’t go nuclear at the first little fingerprint on the living room walls.
Look, I hear you. I’m an uptight mama. And I’m English. So that’s a pretty tight-ass brand of uptight.
But recently, I’ve accepted that I need to loosen my white-knuckle death-grip on life and chill-the-F-out. So that I can cherish my little ones’ childhoods.
No, it’s not easy.
But I’ve put together 29 ideas to help us be more chilled out Mother-F’s.
You won’t end the month wearing a folky skirt, doing 5am Yoga or drinking your own placenta - unless you want to!! But you might just be a tad more relaxed.
You up for it, mama?
The Calm Mom Challenge
Ban the following phrases from your morning routine: ‘we’re late’, ‘hurry up’, and ‘come onnnnnn!!!
They have literally no impact on a half-asleep preschooler.
Switch off your phone when you spend time with the kids.
Constant checking on Pinterest - ohhhh another craft idea I most likely won’t do - and Facebook kill the moment.
Try to pick times when you’ll turn off your phone - between 8am-11am on Saturdays for example. So that you can be truly present with your kids.
Stop saying ‘I’ll just load the dishwasher, then I’ll come play’. (Or whatever other chore it is).
Just put the dishes down. Step away from the dishwasher. And go play. One day they’ll stop inviting you to play - hello, teenage years.
Find some of those goofy holidays and pop them into your planner - because we are A-types, after all. And then celebrate the crap out of them. National Grilled Cheese Day is nearly upon us, mamas!
Hahah! But seriously, just for a few days make it your all-consuming priority. Seek out sleep like a zombie seeking brains. You’ll feel better for it.
Ditch the routine. (Just for a day - we’re not hippies!!)
As A-types we can hold on to those routines with a death-grip. But it's OK to shake things up a bit. It's OK if the kids don't go to bed EXACTLY at bedtime. Just try it once.
Keep your long term goals in mind.
Often we get so pulled into the tiny details of our day, that we forget to see the big picture.
So ask yourself - preferably before you go nuclear - ‘Will this matter in 5 years?’ It doesn’t always work, but it might help you put that bowl-of-Cherrios-smeared-all-over -the-couch-disaster in perspective.
Stop worrying about being late.
I know you’re disgusted at the very idea, but hear me out. If you’re running late, you’re already late. Preserve your sanity and your little ones’ heart by NOT becoming a screaming banshee. Just get there when you can.
Sure, you can ask yourself later, ‘what can I do to make sure I’m on time tomorrow?’ But for now, just release it to God.
When was the last time you actually laughed? Quick - write a list of 10 things that make you laugh and add them to your day.
Just FYI, the last thing that made me straight-up snort popcorn down my nose what 'Bad Moms'. Enough said.
Declare a dance party.
Driving the kids to school? Turn up those tunes for some loud, off-key, singing. I don't care whether it's Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or Taylor Swift - sing it, sista!
Get a hobby.
I know you just rolled your eyes.
I know you don't have time to go to the bathroom let alone indulge in a hobby. But you are smart, creative, and more talented than you know. And you need an outlet.
Just as an idea, why not learn how to use your camera and take better photos of your little ones? There are lots of tutorials on Pinterest.
If you'd like to find ways to save time on boring household chores, take a look at this post. One mama recently saved over 5 hours a week!
See the innocence when people p**s you off.
That lunatic driver might be a sleep-deprived mama. Or a dad-to-be rushing to his wife's side in hospital. Just take a breath and show them some understanding.
Keep things in perspective.
OK, this is incredibly difficult for some of us.
But ask yourself where whatever you're dealing with lies on the 'scales of horribleness'.
Let me explain. At number 10 we have the worst possible thing you can imagine in life. Like losing a loved one or running out of Ben & Jerry's. You know, something dreadful.
So where does 'being late to school' lie on this scale? Surely it's only a 1 or 2, right?
So next time the kids doodle on the walls or pee all over the bathroom floor, ask yourself 'what number is this?' It might help gain some perspective.
Buy a bunch of ready meals or find the numbers of ALL the local take outs.
Don't hesitate to use them.
Journal the memories.
Find a low effort way to keep a note of memories. This small act can keep you focused on the important things in life.
Adequate insurance, health checks, Last Will & Testament, emergency prep plans...all these things add to our peace of mind. Get these uncomfortable jobs done and you'll feel better for it. We're A-types after all!
Set up some family traditions.
These help you bond as a family and get over that 'she ate the LAST pastry' frustration. Take a look at this post that walks you through how to set up family traditions - even if your family would rather watch television.
Hire a cleaner.
Can I get a 'Hell Yes!!'?
OK, for us A-types, it's really freakin' hard to relax when there's stuff everywhere. So stop trying to ignore it and deal with it. If you don't know where to start, here's a list of 198 things you can declutter easily.
Find your mommy friends.
If you're following along with a blog or person that makes you feel like crap....STOP following along with them.
This goes for in real life too. Leave those Stepford wives at the school gate and look for someone who's honest, funny and kind-hearted. Life's too short to hang with the Mean Girls.
Keep a back-burner list.
When we think of a task we want/should do, we usually add it to our to-do list. And then our to-do list gets longer than a 6-year old's Christmas List. Hello, overwhelm!
The solution is a back-burner list. AKA 'Shit I'd Like to do If I Have the Time & Energy.'
This helps us be a hella lot more selective about what makes it on to our to-do list.
Keep a go-to list of strategies to chill out if you're having a bad day or week.
The idea of 'self-care' is all over Pinterest. And with good reason. You can't pour from an empty wine glass. So take care of yourself.
I know you don't have time, so I thoughtfully prepared you a list of 68 things to do when life is kicking your sweet ass. Hope it helps.
Feed the freezer.
You know those photos on Pinterest of smug women standing behind 3 months' worth of freezer meals - that they made in one afternoon? Well, you DON'T have to be one of those.
But check out this list of delicious make ahead freezer meals and save yourself a bit of time in the future.
I know, only an A-Type control freak would include 'organize something' in a list of ways to chill out.
But I've learnt that I just can't relax in chaos. No matter how hard I try to relax, I find myself with clenched fists, throbbing eyelids and a distracted mind.
If you can relate, here's a helpful method of deciding where to start organizing - even if your entire house is a mess and you're one shopping trip away from being featured on hoarders.
Write a seasonal bucket list.
With Spring upon us, I've just finished writing a list of all the fun things I want to do with my little ones. Making fun plans helps me deal with the boring tasks of the day with more joy.
Spice up your mom life.
The routines and challenges of child care can be incredibly draining. So why not shake up your routine. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make sure you spend some time outside very day. Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for our levels of anxiety and stress. Let Mother Nature take care of you.
Are We Chillin' Yet?
If you're a natural born control freak, it's really hard to 'relax', 'calm down' or 'chill out' despite what other people may think.
But hopefully this post gives you a couple of ideas.
Let me know in the comments which one you plan to try.
Good luck, Type-A, mama!