As a parent with teens I often forget the struggles of a new parent. With the birth of my nephew this week, I am reminded of how demanding and exhausting life changes, new babies in particular, can be. New babies, new homes, new jobs, new schools, are but a few of the changes in our lives that can make us very, very tired. The trick is to keep up in the face of exhaustion so we don’t have to catch up later. Thankfully, most exhausting situations are temporary and will pass in due time. In the meantime, there are steps worth taking to keep things from spinning out of control.
Embrace Chaos in Minor Priorities
When you are low on energy, the energy you have is probably going toward the things that must be done, like laundry, and pretty much zero energy is being spent on other things like volunteer work or self-care. It may be necessary to step down from committees where your involvement is not essential for success or let your bed go unmade. Depending on your situation, you might even need to let your filing go for a few days or weeks until you can put your whole brain into it.
If you are unclear as to which priorities in your life are major and which are minor, take a few minutes to list them. What deserves your attention right now? What doesn’t? Be honest with yourself and remember you’re only human – one without super powers.
Hire, Accept, and Ask for Help
This is a tough pill to swallow for most of us who want to be super moms, but we simply cannot do everything, period. A cleaning lady can quickly become your best friend. The boy next door can become your knight in shining armor as he rakes the leaves that are out of control. When friends offer to help, accept. You can’t do it all and sometimes we need to swallow our pride so it doesn’t get in the way of the sanity of you and your family.
Remind yourself that people cannot read your mind – especially not your spouse. If you need help, you have to ask for it. Don’t just wish for someone to help you, ask for help if you need it.
On the television show Holmes on Homes, host Mike Holmes often points out that other people’s work has been done to “minimum code.” He means the contractor or plumber or whoever only did the work the law required, and nothing else. This phrase can apply to your family as well. Minimum code can apply to how you make lunch and dinner — a protein and a vegetable. Minimum code can be how you take care of the car — fuel up when needed. Minimum code can be how you maintain the house — put stuff away after using it, but let a cleaning lady take care of the rest. Be realistic about what you will do and simplify tasks to minimal code.
Now is not the time to become commissioner of the softball league or volunteer to spearhead the silent auction for the annual PTO fundraiser. It’s also not a good time to make a major life decision. Get through this period of exhaustion and then start adding new things to your life and contemplating your next move. This wave is temporary and you just need to ride it out.
Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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