Tuesday, April 5, 2011

10 stress strategies every mom needs--part one

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Hearts at Home national conference this year. This was by far my favorite workshop, given by Jill Savage herself. Over a small series of posts, I'm going to share the tips that impacted me the most.  I mean, I didn't need these or anything--I'm just sharing in case any of you have those kind of days. M'kay?

1. Take a day off. 

Doesn't that just sound impossible? But yet, glorious?  I--like most mothers, I'm sure--get a day off if I'm violently sick. When I'm lucky enough for that violent sickness to fall on a Saturday, when Shane is home. *sigh*

I thought this was a super idea, for those who can do it.  Trade a day of the week with a friend who is willing to keep your children, and you get a whole day to yourself.  Next week, she gets a day and you keep her brood.

This works fab, I think, if you have a smaller number of kids, or if you and your friend both have an equal number.  But, for me--who has more kids than any of my friends!--it's not really doable on a weekly basis. I always feel guilty: "Can I trade my four for your one or two!?"  Though, I'd definitely be getting the sweet end of the deal if I could make that one work.

2.  Increase the white space in your life.

Love, love, love this one.  'White space' meaning the area of your life (think margins in a book) where there is nothing going on.  Without those margins, reading a book would be much more difficult! Everything would probably end up being a jumbled mess--and that is how my life can feel when I am trying to pack too many things into it on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. 

My favorite point of this tip was that sometimes, we have to say NO to good things in order to find the BEST thing for our family.  We have to set limits (and each family's are different) on both our and our kids' activities.  Saying yes to too many things will lead to an eventual meltdown.

And I do that far too much for my or my family's good.

Jill suggested that one major thing and one minor thing was enough to be going on in your life at any particular point.

Major--your weekly responsibilities.  Things that require a great deal of effort and commitment from you on a weekly basis.  For me, one example would include my music ministry at church--preparing for special music (either accompanying a soloist on the piano or singing myself); the weekly offertory (which I play the piano for most every week); attending choir practice and occasionally playing piano for the choir (which would include more practice time at home than on a normal week); and, starting in late October of every year, preparing and practicing for our annual children's Christmas program.

That is a lot of work--and it's not the only major on my agenda right now, tsk tsk.  I'm working on that.

Minor--your occasional responsibilities.  Think being a room mother at your child's school.  This may require one day per month, or maybe cupcakes here or there for a party--but it is not going to be a constant burden on your schedule.

Which leads me to number three, which we'll discuss in the next post:

3.  Learn to say NO.

How do you manage to carve time for yourself? And what do you do in your life that enables you to increase the white space?


Leanne said...

Time for myself???


I just had to laugh wildly at that notion!!

But, I signed up for this, being a mom to a large family, and I remind myself that the boundaries have fallen for me in very pleasant places.

I'm looking forward to the next installment of this series!!

TDM Wendy said...

I am not afraid to ask my husband for help so I can get some time off. Day off, night off, etc. And I make the space to exercise cuz I feel so much better and then am setting a healthy example for my kids. But I definitely have to say no to stuff to make that happen.