I once heard a saying that any number of kids is a lot of kids. I get it now. One child feels overwhelming, then you add another and think, oh man, one was so much easier! I’m sure that continues with each child you add to a family. Veteran moms, you tell me.
Like I’m sure is the same for all of you, kids or no kids, life is full right now. Full in a wonderful, yet demanding, way. I learned early on that to function and thrive on a full schedule I needed to do some prioritizing to take care of my basic needs so that I could be there to help care for others. Now, somehow I’m waking up earlier than I ever have, packing my day full of more than I ever have, yet I probably feel better (mentally and physically) than I ever have as well. Dare I say I feel like I’m in my prime?
I am loving this phase of life, but know that I might fall victim to its craziness if not for a few things that keep me sane, healthy and on track. Here are the things I do to keep me rolling on a daily basis…
Prioritize sleep. Sleep, probably even more than food, is a non-negotiable for me. Though I’m sometimes tempted to stay up a little later, whether to get things done or to just veg out with a TV show, I know I’ll regret it in the morning. 7-8 hours does me right. If my nighttime sleep isn’t as smooth sailing as I’d like, let’s say hypothetically from a cute little baby who has a tough time with teeth, then I will sneak in a 20 minute power nap in the afternoon or force myself into an earlier bedtime the next night. When Kailtyn was a newborn, I’d sometimes go to bed at 8:00. No shame in my game. I’ve seen what my emotions do on too little sleep and it ain’t pretty!
Eat well but not perfectly. Perfection is a concept I thankfully let go of a long time ago. However, I know that food does affect my mood. Loading up with fresh veggies, lean meats and healthy fats, prepping food at the beginning of the week and sitting down at the table to eat it with real utensils is ideal, but I don’t always have time. I just focus on doing the best I can. Yes, I like to post pretty food pictures on instagram, but that’s because no one cares to see the leftover pizza I housed at breakfast or the spoonful of peanut butter I ate from the jar while chasing a squirmy 9 month old up the stairs.
Keep moving. At this stage of life, having a strict exercise schedule just doesn’t work for me. However, I do feel so much better when I exercise, so I’m scheduling in 2-3 real sweat sessions a week (loving Burn Bootcamp, even if I am having trouble walking today… I’m looking at you squats!) and considering anything more than that a sweet bonus. Outside of intentional exercise, I try to stay on my feet as much a possible- cooking, running up and down stairs, going on nature walks, an occasional youtube yoga video, trying to change Kaitlyn’s diapers (it’s like a full on wrestling match every time). Luckily the girls help with keeping me moving on the regular and I actually weigh about 5 pounds less right now than I did on my wedding day. I feel stronger too. I never would have thought it!
Fill in the nutritional gaps. My energy stores are constantly being depleted. I obviously focus on eating high quality food, but I also depend of a high quality vitamin to pick up the slack. I take my Vitalizer every day (as does David) and consider it my nutritional insurance plan. It helps keep my energy high and my immunity strong because let’s be honest, no one has time to be sick. Knock on wood, but I can’t tell you the last time I was sick. I’m such a firm believer that a quality multivitamin goes a long way.
Drink a glass of wine. Of course, I mean this a little tongue-in-cheek in the cliche ‘mama needs her wine glass’ way, but there is some truth to it as well. There is something about holding that splash of wine in a fancy glass at the end of the day signifies that beneath the yoga pants and the messy ponytail there is an adult woman that is working her tail off. It signifies it’s time for me to let go of the day, with all its wins or losses, and enjoy some time as an adult, chatting about this crazy life with my partner in
crime life. It’s one of my favorite times of the day and does wonders for my mental health.
Keep a solid support system. Play dates and play groups, phone calls (or day-long text conversations) with friends, chatting (typing) with y’all, catching up with my parents, rare coffee dates sans kids- they all add so much to my life and I am so grateful for them all. Keeping supportive, positive people around me helps me to stay focused on all the good in life too. You are who you hang with after all, right? I’m lucky to know some really inspiring people that keep me striving to be better myself… and who let me vent a little if life gets tough at times too.
Let go of the small stuff. If you drop by unannounced, my house will have toys thrown about and googly eyes scatted everywhere, the floors will be decorated with puppy paw prints and pots and pans will cover the counters as they are drying. My home isn’t a show house (thank goodness). It’s where we live and life is sometimes messy.
Now you tell me…
What helps keep your energy up and your motivation high?