It is that time of year again when moms begin prepping their children to be in school. In my case, it’s for preschool. As we go from virtually non-existent laissez faire schedules to the regimen of “You’ll miss the bus if you…!” We also have to ask ourselves what we’re doing to conserve our sanity.
It’s a known fact that in a 1 dollar U.S. bill, 100 pennies make up a dollar. So the question begs to be asked, if we have 24 hours in a day, and at least 8 of those hours should have the entire household snoozing, up to 11 if you’re under 4 feet tall…WHY are we cramming in more activities than is possible to get done in a 24 hour day? The math does not add up! Neither do the health bills further down the road.
Clients, and most have the title “Mom” or “Dad” on their resume, often come to me for help in time-management. Of all the seminars and workshops I do—when I have people shout out their greatest challenge—prioritizing their time tops the list.
Our bodies run on a circadian clock that resets itself around every 24 hours. We are not wired to be on the go all-the-time, and our bodies are wearing out with excess cortisol, a stress-producing hormone, chronically in our system. Any mom knows that if you do not give your children enough down time, then they become over-tired, their “poop” schedule gets thrown off, and you have a child prone to melt-downs or temper-tantrums on your hands.
Guess what? Same goes for you Momma! Do you wonder why you’re short with everyone, or why it’s hard to convince yourself to be sexy or romantic? The only answer is: you’re not giving enough time to one very important area in your life. You.
And, you can bring your household back into a pleasant place to relax, unwind, and connect with those you love most. The way you achieve any goal is first to define the goal, create a strategy, and identify the actions you need to take on a daily basis to achieve the goal.
Goal: Everyone’s sanity, health, and a functional well-adjusted family.
Strategy: Build in at least 4-6 hours per day where the pace is easy-going.Make sure at least 1 of these hours is 1-on-1 time with just your “self.”
NOTE: No other distractions allowed. TV, texting, phone calls, internet—Banned.
Actions: Every day during the school week my family will:
- Use this time to cook meals and chat with family about the day.
- Pack lunches together.
- Do the dishes, unload dishes, or fold laundry while catching up.
- Spend time in the same bed or on the same couch cuddling and hugging.
- Sit down to breakfast and dinner all together.
- Demand quiet play time for everyone in the household.
During quiet time…Light some candles, diffuse essential oils, run the bath. This may be a good time for you to check email or make a quick phone call as the bath fills. But, guess what? Once the tub is full—it’s time for alone time for you. Read a chapter of a good novel & then wash your hair. The point for you during quiet time is to relax. (You’ve been connecting and nurturing during some of the chores & meals.)
As a woman you’ll replenish your stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin. You do this by nurturing and caring for others or yourself. The key is no expectations can be attached. If someone is expecting you to do something, oxytocin isn’t produced as readily.
The point for a guy during quiet time is to do an activity that is less mentally challenging or doing nothing…, however, his stress-reducing hormone is testosterone. There really is a biologically proven reason why guys drop to the couch at the end of the day.
Same goes for your kids. They need to produce stress-reducing hormones too. It keeps everyone’s digestion moving, makes for more restful nights, strengthens your immune system, and improves your relationships.
The more we’re able to disengage ourselves from distractions, the more time we will have both for ourselves, and for our families. In a society where the divorce rate has tipped to over 50%, don’t you owe yourself this break, this chance, to keep your body healthy, your sanity in-tact, and to continue to model balance to your children?
We all need down-time in our schedules. If 4-6 hours seems too much at first, set another target number, and work backwards from there. Just remember it’s non-negotiable. We can’t change our circadian rhythm, and we cannot change how many hours are in a day. We start early teaching kids’ routines and schedules (including nap time) for a reason. Be a do as I say, just like I do mom. You and your kids will thank you for it.