Finding balance as a mother of five
By Ahndea May
Life with three kids ages 9, 8 and 5 requires a lot of multi tasking. Not to mention, the ability to stay balanced and healthy enough to accomplish everything. To our surprise, we found out I was pregnant with twin girls in February of 2010. Thus, pushing our family to a total of seven last year.
I am a firm believer that staying positive can change your situation, but sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. The first few months after the twins were born, I never left the house, let alone my bed between nursing, changing diapers and trying to sleep. My husband proved to be a champ and took over most of the responsibilities at home and finishing up the school year with the oldest three. The thought of managing all five was beginning to bring on anxiety, even slight depression. Still, somewhere in my thoughts was a desire to “man up” and pull myself together. It was time to get organized, back in shape, back to work and somehow do it all. Just saying that is exhausting!
Whenever you are in the thick of it not letting your emotions dictate every decision, is certainly hard enough. Add to that, trying to create a family schedule, time for exercise, and fun time with kids… cleaning, laundry and having more than a two-minute conversation with the husband and oh and time for me. Yes I said it… ME! When you allow yourself the ability to do the things you love, such as spending time with friends and making your health a priority, you feel more alive, even happier. Your kids and everyone else will notice, and enjoy being around you more, I promise! But how you ask?
I began to ask myself how I could possibly get a handle on my life when I could barley brush my teeth. You know that feeling of being submerged under water with only your lips reaching the surface? Once you’re at that place, it’s addicting and somewhat numbing. One Sunday night it hit me. I needed a plan.
The plan: Make a list of goals and be bold. Begin to organize your life around meeting those goals one day at a time. Of course, not every day will be a success, but tomorrow is a new chance to try again. Be prepared to work hard and stretch yourself a bit. In the end the reward will be more meaningful.
My goals looked like this:
1. Family Calendar - be strategic, plan fun days, relax days, chore days, in between sports and school work of course, and be realistic. Coordinating and writing things down will keep everyone on the same page and give clear expectations.
2. Self Care – get back in shape (My plan for this Ripped in 42, “Little Black Dress Project” ), plan some girls nights and date nights, get prettied up, pick a splurge once a month, like getting your nails done etc.
3. Inspiration – find a good book or devotional, something to ground yourself in, meet with a good friend for coffee or play date and talk about real things not just surface
4. Passion – Find something you love and do it. A talent, a hobby, it could be knitting, whatever it is do it now. Don’t wait for the perfect time because it will never come. Let your kids experience your gifts and talents and show them how to balance that while still being their mom.
5. Perspective – Start every day with a deep breath and approach every decision, argument, and chaotic moment with a clear lens. If you stay focused on the end goal and keep clear from distraction and negative emotions, the journey will be much more rewarding and less clutter. Ask yourself, ‘is there anything I can do to change this situation?’ If the answer is “no”, don’t waste energy and emotion resting there.
6. Career/Outlet - I am investing time into my business as a wardrobe stylist for photography, wedding and lifestyle. I am continuing to design one of kind accessories with my small custom business Heirbloom and blogging about the stories we tell with our style, mommy tips, food and health and DIY tutorials.
What I have noticed about being this intentional is it really helps keep the stress down.
Now, as for getting back in shape. I knew after having twins and the fact that I am now 33, the weight was not going to fall off, I had to work my butt off to get the results. I put a goal picture of me on the fridge, partnered up with a good friend and joined Dustin Maher for a six-week intensive program ‘Ripped In 42’. The first few days were terrible, but once I got in the swing everything else seemed to feel a little easier too. I felt more confident and proud of myself. I am now down 22 pounds and over 35 inches!
Final thought… We are women, strong, confident, purposeful, women.