This has been one of those weeks when things just don’t go as planned. It started off on an irregular note with the long weekend, then two snow days, and today a stomach bug has hit my older kiddo. I think these sorts of weeks are a challenge for all parents, whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay-at-home. Our plans, our priorities, our intentions get put to the side and we have to improvise and re-prioritize. I don’t know about you, but I find these periods to be pretty frustrating and stressful, but there are three things that I have found help me to keep my sanity: letting some things go, asking for help, making time for self-care.
Letting go: I like to keep the house tidy. I like to get things done ahead of time. But when weeks like this happen, I have found I have to let some of that go. Maybe that means the house isn’t as tidy, maybe it means that I fall back on my stockpile of frozen meals instead of cooking the recipes on my meal plan for the week, maybe it means I don’t reply to all the emails or phone calls I need to, but no matter what it is, I do it without feeling guilty.
Asking for help: I’m a pretty fiercely (and proudly) independent person. Acknowledging when I am struggling to keep my head above water is hard for me. I don’t ever want to come across as a “failure.” But first having kids and then launching my career as a coach have both, in their own way, held that mirror up which has shown me that trying to do it all myself is not always the best approach—I get stressed and then cranky and that doesn’t help anyone. So whether it is asking my husband to work from home so there is some back-up or asking my in-laws if they can stop by so that I can run to the grocery store, I suck it up and ask. And guess what, people actually help!
Self-care: This one took me a long time to learn too. When things get super busy the first thing to usually go is our time to work out, our time to shower, our time to relax. Realistically we aren’t going to get as much time for those things when everything is thrown out of whack, but finding and relishing in even the briefest moments can make all the difference. So maybe I wake up a bit earlier to get my work out in, or maybe I make myself a special cup of gourmet hot cocoa, or maybe instead of writing two more emails I take the time to take a few deep breaths. It isn’t about being a martyr, it is about being a good and present parent, and that requires taking care of ourselves too.
How do you handle these rough patches? What are your special tricks?