In this series, I will share my own struggle with anxiety and the steps I took to significantly reduce it. This is a topic I think most moms can identify with, especially moms with young children. You can find tips on setting goals in Part 1.
Regardless of the area below in which you struggle, the key is to think about your thinking. Philippians 4:8 says,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
None of my suggestions are going to completely help if you are still thinking the wrong thing. When you get your thoughts in check, act upon correct thoughts (or simply “do the right thing”), your feelings will follow. Trust me.
I have always been a “planner” so making and keeping a daily schedule is not an area in which I struggle; I thrive on routine just as much as my children do! A schedule, or often called routine, is important to moms because it helps us be more efficient in our time. When we have an idea as to what our day looks like, we know what we can reasonably accomplish in that time. It also helps our children know what is expected throughout the day by eliminating unnecessary questions pertaining to what’s happening next in the day.
However, if you struggle in this area, here are some tips to help you get started. When making your schedule, stick to it! You can make a general schedule (which is what I do) or you can include time intervals. For instance, my schedule generally looks something like this:
- Wake/God & I time/prepare for the day
- Morning chores
- School with boys (typically until noon)
- Outside play/free time
- Nap/quiet time for kids (always 2p)
- Afternoon chores
- Outside play/free time
- Evening chores
I did not include appointments, extra-curricular activities, etc. in the example above, but I fit them in to the appropriate time slot.
If this schedule does not include enough details, you can create one that is broken down into 1-hour time slots. You can find and customize a schedule here.
No matter which schedule you use, make sure you leave room for unexpected circumstances (i.e. the diaper blowout just as you are to leave or the long-distance phone call from a loved one). Also include time that it takes to drive to/from places (i.e. work/school/activity). This will help you know when to leave so you can plan your day accordingly.
I also suggest you evaluate your commitments and determine their effect on your schedule. Do you really want your 2-year-old out every night until 8p because of a sport commitment? Is it realistically feasible for you to attend the PTO meeting, your husband to shuttle some of the kids to/from their evening commitment, AND get everyone in bed by 8p without feeling stressed, pressed for time, or grumpy?
I strongly advise taking a look at your schedule and find areas to reduce your commitments. Over-commitment was a huge source of stress in my life, and once I began saying “No” more, the pressure to do it all and be “Super Mom” greatly reduced! I found I was able to enjoy the commitments I did say “Yes” to because I was doing less. Finding joy in mothering is correlated to having a schedule that is less full.
I found I was stressed, grumpy, and pressed for time when participating in my church’s Ladies’ Bible Study on Tuesday afternoons. I was rushing through school in order to finish by noon, and hurrying the kids to finish lunch so we could leave by 12:30p. By the time I arrived at church, my attitude was so negative because I had treated my kids badly in my haste to get there. I realized, at the expense of my children, that the gain of the study was not worth the cost. Last Fall, when asked to participate, I said “No.” I felt guilty at first, but I assure you that was one of the best decisions I could have made for my children and family.
Mom, I challenge you: examine your commitments to see where you can say “No” more. If you are not following a schedule or routine, start doing so now. You can find joy in the mundane (and not so mundane) activities of your daily life!