Parenting when you are on crutches with a broken leg: Some reflections. And: IS IT POSSIBLE? A report from the trenches.
So I went on a girls’ downhill mountain biking weekend in Fernie. My husband was worried about me coming home hungover and not useful.
He was definitely correct on the latter.
Which brings me to ask question.
Do you think that the most likely place to break a leg would be…
a.) Downhill mountain biking on technical runs at Fernie Alpine Resort
b.) Technical trail running over a rooty trail on a mountain side
c.) Walking through a wildflower meadow
Correct. C. Because it makes THE MOST SENSE.
So anyways, I came back to 1 day of wallowing in self pity and pain…1 day of radiology, drs appointments and crutch sourcing…. and then 4 days of my husband being back at his job. Holy shit.
Remember the good ol days when you got sick or injured and people actually gave a fuck? Remember when you could rest when you were injured? or sleep when you were sick?
I do too.
But then…it dawns on you.
You’re a parent now.
As a hobbled around my exceedingly large campus work place on crutches, only made easier by the 5 m closer parking that my disabled parking placard gives me, I realized that there are all sorts of things complicated by a broken leg.
Inserting / removing a sleeping baby from a crib
Inserting / removing a tantruming toddler from a crib
Doing ANY activity with your kids
Maintaining sanity through exercise
Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation Defending bad leg with couch pillows and snatching back ice pack from curious toddler
Getting clothes on naked humans running around
Chasing breakaway toddlers
Putting children in car seats
Getting down stairs with a baby
Any form of housework WHO ARE WE KIDDING THIS IS AMAZING
Yes. It complicates a few things.
BUT IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
If there are two things I have in my arsenal, it is a dark sense of humour *and* the knowledge that I can figure a way to cope with ANY situation.
So here, I give you, solo parenting with a broken leg. Day 9 report.
Is: Day 9
Feels like: Day 223.
Husband gone on day shift. Inadvertently wake kids up with ca-clunking of crutches way before I am finished my coffee and generally functioning.
Get them dressed on our bed, mostly involving holding one down with elbow while other falls off the bed.
Don’t even bother with breakfast, hair brushing, teeth brushing. NOPE.
Slide down the stairs on my butt with baby in my right hand / smushed into right hip, because I can’t walk down the stairs yet. Have toddler (quite happily) throw crutches down (at) me. Only fleeting moment of cooperation from that one.
Manage to evade flying metal sticks of death.
Get out front door with one crutch (I have mastered this skill) – cat runs out – swat at cat with crutch to get him back in the house. Wonder if my neighbour is watching this gong show. Feel de ja vu. Is this a preview of my 70s?
Suddenly feel much older than 34.
Get generally uncooperative toddler into her car seat.
Baby crawls down front door steps & takes off crawling down the driveway. Made it FAR in less than 10 seconds. Leave toddler unstrapped to chase Baby who thinks this is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Chase him down the drive – he’s giggling and speeding up because he thinks it’s a game.
The game of life has no victors, child.
Catch babykins by his diaper, put 200 lb on my bad leg, drop bad words, and lift all 30 pounds of him up with one arm, hobble back to car, struggle with car seat straps for a bit and angrily jam crutches between car seats.
Meanwhile toddler perfectly enunciating “fuck!” repeatedly, because that’s what mum said!
Safely clip my children into their car seats, so that they won’t be hurt in an accident (not that they’ll know because the crutches will probably behead them. AAAAh. Why didn’t I think about that?!) – Lie in trunk, open ski bag, put crutches in ski bag. Don’t fit.
Shimmy crutches across front seat.
Curse aggressive sports clutch and bad leg as I clutch and start the car.
Then gleefully clap because I DID IT!
I DID IT!
Mom injuries. Like regular injuries. Except you can’t “be injured.”
Do you remember watching the Secret years ago, when it came out? John Assaraf, one of the entrepreneurs talked about setting up a cork vision board and he’d pin magazine pictures, etc. to it. Back in the 90s I had what was like the early predecessor of a pinterest board or vision board. I had a black journal and in it I added pictures of Britney Spears, dream wedding rings, TONS of nail polish art and urban decay makeup swatches, my dream car, my wedding dress, all that usual teenage dream stuff.
The strange thing is, I found it the other day and I was more than a bit taken aback by the photos of women I wanted to look like, and the engagement ring I had pinned all the way back then. I have that wedding ring. My husband chose it out independently. My dream car in that book. I am driving it now.
At the time, when I added those magazine pictures at the age of 14 these were all just pipe dreams. Yet, so many images from that book, I have in my life now.
This brings me to today’s topic: How Pinterest has been an absolute game changer for me in strategically and intentionally crafting my goals and lifestyle.
I started Pinterest about 3 years ago and have accumulated thousands of pins and hundreds of boards. One of my most active ones and a regular practice to this day, is pinning images from the future that I would like, to a board I called “My Future Life.”
It is the most relaxing, enjoyable activity. I could have the worst day possible and aside from having a nice craft beer, lol, this is one of the single best tools to lighten my mood. But, my pinterest habit has turned out to be more powerful than that. My life is slowly becoming that board. I am skeptical and I don’t like woo-woo. I shut down at the mention of feelings, emotions and heart chakras and dreams. But there is most definitely something going on here. So what is it?
Actively pinning images onto a vision board has profound effects in the brain, and your own awareness/energy flows. The act of immersing yourself in visualizing a future life that excites you is good for the body, the mind, the emotions. It turns your attention to your goals and a place of deep motivation.
After an evening of pinning, imagining the future life you will have, it is implanted both in your conscious and subconscious. You can’t help but subconsciously and consciously make small decision that will get you closer to that vision. I have one beautiful image of the hot tub at the Willowstream Spa, up here in the castle of the Rocky Mountains – the Banff Springs Hotel. It is VERY fancy, VERY expensive and something a bit outside of my lifestyle. But, I pinned it to my board as a future goal, a future vision. And I wrote under it “one day I will be doing my work from a laptop here with a glass of wine.”
I pinned that 3 years ago, and this past March, I found myself sitting in the hot tub at the Willowstream, sharing a day pass with a good friend and business mentor, having a business strategy summit. The moment I realized it, an excited chill went down my spine. This stuff works.
The beauty of that hot tub and spa never left me after I pinned to that board, and as I went along my in my day to day life it was there, sitting in my unconscious. When an opportunity to go there came up (that required some shuffling of schedules) I didn’t even hesitate. On the secret they talk about how events, people and things are attracted to you if you put the intention out there. Is it a coincidence of all people, my friend asked me to go to the Willowstream Spa with her to do some business coaching and strategizing?
The brain takes in a lot of data, both on the conscious and subconscious level. It is estimated that it is crowded with more than 50,000 thoughts per day. We are always thinking of random things we want to do , or see things that make us think “oh wow I want to do that!!” but they disappear just as quickly as the thought arrives, lost in the mass of brain activity. What if we took that thought, captured it on a pinterest board and came back to it once in a while, to keep it there, and present, floating on the surface?
Let yourself be absurd. Interior design. Exotic vacations. Laughing family winter pictures. A hike that looks like it belongs on an outdoor magazine. Pin it, and in the notes write down how it makes you feel, or something about that image.
Underneath a hiking family I wrote “our best adventures will be outdoors” – my values and dreams wrapped into one image, and at that point my family was unborn. You can probably guess what we do these days. I go back and review what I pinned and my weekends with the kids are anything but dull in the pursuit of these dreams.
So try it. Pin it. The activity of just pinning is so enjoyable, to let your mind dance among dream places, things and people. And let your soul go to work on achieving it behind the scenes, because one day you will wake up and realize, holy shit.
Most of the motherhood and entrepreneurial podcasts I listen to emphasize again and again the importance of finding a mentor. Someone whom you can learn from, look up to, aspire to be, and converse with along this complex journey.
I couldn’t help but think that this is an area of life in which I have not had a lot of luck / success. I’ve had an interesting life path in which I haven’t had many mentors in my life other than my god father and grandfather (family.)
When my daughter was born, I was fresh out of losing my Mum to cancer and swimming in a world of overwhelm and grief and total lack of knowledge in the whole motherhood world. I was terrified and insecure. Unprepared, I was thrown into the deep end without water wings. I didn’t know how to bathe her, dress her, or anything. (We chose not to do birth and babies classes because we were so busy caring for my mum through chemo, medical emergencies and the hospice process.)
In those few months of the fourth trimester, my friends all banded together and supported me in various ways, whether it was showing me the ropes, explaining the totally overwhelming world of baby bottles, or how to dress a newborn (this was totally intimidating to me.) I also did SO MUCH you tubing, from figuring out my stroller, to installing my car seats in the car.
I have become pretty open to (and comfortable with) asking for help, knowing the day will come when I can help others. Asking for help is hard, because you never want to be the one draining resources, but there is something more challenging than asking for help – finding a mentor. It is a two-sided process. The mentee has to seek out or expand their social networks in the search, but the mentor also has to open up, and voluntarily step into that role, which is a commitment in itself, because it asks the mentor to open up and share their insights, successes and failures.
Last year, I met a wonderful friend who also became a business mentor – from whom I have learnt an absolute ton, which I am so thankful for. Mentorship in this area has been deeply foundational for me as I step into the entrepreneurial world. Mentorship can be as simple as a voice that says “I believe in you” and “these are some of the ways you can do it” – someone to learn from as well as bounce ideas from. The value of mentorship is being able to have open, honest conversations about strengths, weaknesses, fears and excitement.
Do you have a mentor in any area of your life? In your spiritual life? Motherhood life? Self development life? Athletic life?
I longed for a motherhood mentor whose style I looked up to and identified with. Being one of the first of my social group to have kids, was in it alone. I had a few friends with older children, with styles of their own, who gave me tips and tricks which was wonderful, but the deeper stuff was experienced internally and at counselling.
People like to complain about the internet but I am SO thankful for it – for vloggers and websites like the pregnant chicken – who kind of became my mentors as I figured things out.
Eventually, I found my groove and the confidence to try things out myself and get a system going that worked for me. But it was a lonely journey.
But then, looking back, maybe it was a good thing I didn’t have a mentor. Because, in the absence of information, I went out looking. I read about RIE parenting, I read about mothers bringing up babies in foreign countries, I created a Pinterest board with about 10 different lifestyle / mom blogs, and threw friends and older parents a million random questions. I listened to podcasts and searched the internet for different perspectives. The best way to learn is to seek out the information yourself.
I gathered information, sifted through it, picked a few things I liked and tried them out.
But there was a second piece to developing my motherhood style:
I went through a process of journaling, strengths exploration and values exploration with a life coach. I figured out what I really stand for, who I am and what I am good at. What kind of life I had, and what kind of life I want for my children.
Knowing what your foundation is is so important. It becomes your own compass – a compass upon which I base my parenting and all decisions regarding the life I am creating for these lovely children. No decision feels 100% correct or secure, but if the compass is pointing in the right direction, I just go for that decision with no regrets.
Mom mentors are wonderful, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry – you’ll find your way and you will develop an internal compass within a few months – or maybe a few years. As long as you keep exposing yourself to information, exploring yourself, learning about who you are, and reflecting. Who knows, maybe one day you will be a mentor to another mama. Maybe they will look at you and think “I want that person in my life.” Maybe they will look at you, and admire you, and want to understand your journey.
And the thing is, you’ll understand how they are feeling and what they are going through. And that is what makes the best mentor.
The challenges you go through now – including feeling isolated or lonely – are meant to happen to you, because they are forming who you will become.
And maybe the person you are becoming, is going to help another mama somewhere down the road.
As usual, listening to the Tim Ferris podcast this morning blew my mind wide open. Sure, it could have been the bulletproof coffee too, but the combination of the two are magical on a morning commute. Especially when he has Tony Robbins on.
Like me, Tony Robbins is a life coach, albeit a very experienced and world famous one. 🙂
If you haven’t heard his work, maybe check out his TED talk, “Why We Do What We Do” with more than seventeen million views (!)
Early in the podcast, Tony asks Tim an important question.
Usually I just sit and listen to the podcast, but the moment he asked this question,
I was off in another world, contemplating my 34 years of life up to that point.
I love it when Tim Ferris is stumped on his own podcast =) There was some serious contemplative silence on the podcast.
(insert suspenseful silence here.)
When I work with a client and they don’t answer, are stumped or say “I don’t know” it is so exciting. In coaching this is gold.
One of the main goals of a professional coach is to help the client dig deeper, discover and become aware of things they were previously unaware of. It’s like walking into a dark cave, but this time, you have a flashlight, and as you shine it into the dark, you see pictographs on the wall, stalactites and stalagmites, perhaps the sparkle of some crystal formations.
All of a sudden the story of the cave, and everything about the cave has changed. Your perception of the cave and your expectations of it have totally changed. And now, your experience and actions inside the cave are going to change. Instead of afraid at the entrance, you are immersed in exploration and wonder at the natural world. Because of a flashlight.
Life is a bit like this, too. These are “ah hah” moments which are precipitated by powerful questions. Which is why Tony is so good at what he does.
A coach like Tony Robbins shows you how to pick up the flashlight and switch it on, and as you explore the cave, and undergo discovery, adventure, and reassessment of everything you thought you knew, the coach is there, at your back.
So back to the podcast…
What was the question that stumped Tim Ferriss?
Tony asked “whose love did you crave growing up”
I thought about this in my own life. As should you.
My Mum was love itself. I don’t remember craving it from her, but like Tim, I do remember craving love from my dad.
Next, Tony asked this gem.
“Who did you have to be for your parent, to have his respect/love.”
“gut reaction, no filter…”
This takes a while to answer because it is deep in our subconscious. We’ve never consciously thought about it. Ah hah. Here’s a dark cave. And Tony’s question is the flashlight that has just been handed to you to shine into that dark abyss.
I don’t mind sharing my personal life here, if it helps you examine your own questions. And I admire Tim for going there with Tony live, on a podcast.
In my interpretation, I had to be brilliant, intellectually of high calibre, and also athletic, to have my dad’s respect / love.
I think back to childhood, I remember the pride and recognition I received from my dad on my first black diamond ski run, his frustration at my slower learning curve, disappointment when I was cut from teams in my teens or when I cried on said ski runs. The hard pushes beyond my comfort zones in athletic activities, and his focus on learning, pushing higher, doing better in mathematics, homework and study time, bring home good grades, the hours spent at the dining room table trying to grasp math and counting coins. Lots of pushing. hard. To be extraordinarily talented was to be loved.
He wasn’t around much from the age of 11 onward, but I do remember all of those phone conversations, the first thing I’d bring up was sports and academics, in a bid for his love and attention, which with an absent father, was so craved.
What about you? Think about what you needed to be for the parent whose love you craved?
Then Tony asked, what about your other parent? What did you have to be?
Tim, like myself, felt like he didn’t need to be anything with his Mum. He could just be himself and she embraced and encouraged it. Same boat with me. The love was there, unconditional, no strings attached, but most importantly, my mum rolled with who I was and encouraged it.
Why do these questions matter so much now that we are parents?
Because we are in the journey of learning about and thinking about the love we express to our children, and how to nurture and encourage them. These questions make us realize that we carry things with us forward into the present day, that were established long ago in the past. We have the power to become of aware of them, and change them if they do not serve us.
Until 2010 I unconsciously struggled with the impact that my father left on me. Hard driving, hard pushing to achieve, and show him I am smart. I can do this. A masters degree, no doubt completed in part as one final attempt to get some love and acceptance which I so craved from him (we have an estranged relationship.) Now I can just accept that pushing myself so hard in grad studies and the difficult journey in 2007-2010 was in part, due to this dynamic in early childhood. I was able to let this go after 2010 through a heck of a lot of self reflection and exploration, but Tony beautifully encapsulated and explained it today and finally gave me a better framework with which to understand the process. He also made me much more mindful of what I want to do with my own children, and the importance of unconditional love and celebration, and encouragement of who they are instead of who I would love for them to be.
I’m going to guess there’s at least a few people, like me, who are winging this parenting thing and learning as they go, and what a beautiful lesson this morning that I stumbled on by chance as I drove to work.
We go through this world carrying a master assessment. Our interpretation of our life. Our story. It’s like a filter through which everything, every event and situation, flows. Even our parenting decisions.
To be a great parent, is to know ourselves, and be aware of that which was previously automatic, unconscious. So that we can make the decision to either continue, or upgrade.
Aside from googling random shit on parenting, poops, and feeding, we can ask ourselves:
Where do our master stories begin? Where do we start to craft our view of the world? What influenced it?
The earliest place is in the home and in our earliest interpretations of love and recognition from our parents.
You are born a blank slate (though my spiritual beliefs include the journey of the soul through various lives) – I like Tony’s words: “You are born wide open.”
A beautiful, wide open human, open to experiences and learning. There is no filter yet. Babies and children are simple, pure human beings, operating with pure emotion and authenticity, from day one. Their world is their family and the love surrounding them.
I see this every day in my professional work coaching students. They walk into my office with a proverbial suitcase rolling behind them. Before I even work with them on study skills, as a coach I work to unpack and understand the master story they walk in with.
Just like the body learning motor patterning (like learning to catch a ball,) we begin emotional patterning. We see and interpret things, craft a master story and then walk with it the rest of our lives. Sometimes it serves us well, sometimes it no longer serves us and we desire change.
I love this idea. It is beautiful.
It’s not even an idea, I’d say it is a truth.
As we think about how we express our love to our children (when, where and how)
we can begin to think about the imprinting that is going on. What are we passing on? How are we modelling love to them.
It’s such a tricky balance between passing on great morals, values and shaping them into good people, but also embracing and encouraging who they are. Allowing them to be them selves and the best version of themselves. That’s why parenting is so diverse!
Ask yourself the questions above.
I’ve said from day one that maternity leave, and parenthood cracks you wide open and you are in a state of deep learning. There is no more powerful time in your life to explore, understand and reconfigure.
Which brings me to close this long form blog post.
With your child, are you working to model them, or are you working to embrace and let them go with who they are? It’s a fine balance between passing on great values, morals and shaping them into good people, but also embracing who they are and providing a font of unconditional love.
Today I wanted to talk about an important component of time management that I have noticed successful people (especially Moms!) doing, and have been trying out the last two months or so. As always, I try out different things, and experiment / apply them to my “mom life” before I share them here.
This is a complementary post, because this post is now getting into “cool, let’s talk about the quality time and analyze it further.”
We all have things that we are amazing at, and other things…well… it’s like pulling teeth. We either procrastinate hardcore, or get it done but with a bit of pouting, attitude, or even body language that is designed to indicate to everyone around us we are not enjoying it, lol. I definitely stomp around with the laundry basket.
Successful / Engaged people are incredibly realistic about what they are good at and enjoy (today we will call these “enjoyments”) and what they are not that great at and just have to dig deep to do it (we will call these “duties.”)
Have you ever sat down and listed all of your daily and weekly responsibilities – just like you would write up a job posting / job description?
And then, have you looked at that list, and decided what your enjoyments are and what your duties are?
Here is my list of roles / projects that fill my day-to-day rhythms. I’ve put beside them whether it is an enjoyment piece – energizing and rewarding. Or, a duty piece. Don’t enjoy it, just get it done.
Professional Job *Enjoyment
Exercise (running) *Enjoyment
Exercise (strength) *Duty
Clean surfaces *Duty
Organizing / putting away *Enjoyment
On-Demand Cooking *Duty
Advance Food Prep *Duty
Grocery Shopping *Enjoyment
Social Media *Enjoyment
Childrens’ Book *Enjoyment
Quality outdoors time with kids *Enjoyment
Quality indoors time with kids *Duty
Quality time with husband *Enjoyment
Finances and household budgeting *Enjoyment
Social planning *Enjoyment
Relationships / Communication *Enjoyment
Research / Learning *Enjoyment
Building Coaching Business *Enjoyment
Write down the list of ongoing daily responsibilities / projects that you have in your life, and assign duty or enjoyment to each one.
The next part is deciding how to manage all of these critical activities with our time.
I am a firm believer that you embrace and work with your strengths, and partner with your (partner) on weaknesses (your weaknesses may be their strengths.) Even just the conversation around your strengths and not-so-strengths is valuable. After a talk about our cleaning strengths and weaknesses, my husband and I decided I would be the organizer / put stuff away person and he’d take care of the cleaning jobs. After years of us disagreeing over things this has been a big improvement for us!
Make a conscious decision about which will be your daily activities (a little, often) and weekly activities (a lot, sometimes.)
The secret to being productive (and pretty happy about it) is tackling all of the enjoyment pieces of our life on a daily basis. I crack away at each of these, a little bit every day. But the “duty” items drain me, put me in a bad mood and just straight up take willpower.
Recently I made a conscious decision to tackle duty items in one big day, once a week instead of facing them down every.single.day. That works for me – and that’s what I want to stress: decide what works for you. What works for you? Do your “duty” items feel better tackled a little bit at a time every day? or would you rather roll up your sleeves and get ‘er done in one big blitz?
My husband’s strengths complement my weaknesses in cooking and cleaning – but when I do them, I try to blitz them so that most of the week, that precious time is spent in my strengths, dialing in our budgets, building businesses, planning social events, organizing and putting things away, etc.
One big cooking blitz, one big laundry blitz, one big cleaning session. I am totally okay with letting these to- dos stack up during the week while I engage with strengths, like getting my kids outside and doing cool stuff and quality time.
(Sometimes other people do not think this is okay – I’ve had my fair share of other people’s judgements – but I think you just have to steel yourself against criticism and hold fast to the fact this is what works for our family and lets us engage on a daily basis with our priorities and places of engagement and enthusiasm.)
“But if you are deciding put off important items, how do you keep track of them?”
You may want to ask that. Here’s another thing I do to make this system work.
I could write an entire post about journalling. I’m a passionate journaller.
I’d love to write about using it to keep track of projects, inspiring your life with bucket lists, tracking how you are doing mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually with daily check ins, intention and goal setting, or even just helping your memory out by transcribing dates from iCal into a written journal.
(I promise I’ll get to a post on this.)
Anyways back on track –
On Sunday night I sit down and set intentions and goals for the week, but I also write a comprehensive list of important things to get done, and I add to it as ideas randomly pop in my head, or as I suddenly remember things (I don’t have a great memory.) I’m known for remembering random things we need to do, and it’s only because I carry around this journal and get it down the moment it appears in my mind.
This technique also helps me maintain focus on my work by not getting sidetracked. Thoughts pop up, I put them into the journal to be deal with and evaluated later.
Depending on whether it is a duty or enjoyment item, I either tackle things daily, or I save the duty pieces to one dedicated evening / morning or day at when I have a chunk of free time and can tackle them all at once.
(This is what an ENTP journal looks like, if you know your MBTI types)
I am dying to know – what are your systems, how do you manage the great work and the grunt work? Are you a little every day, are you a all-or-nothing type? Have you ever sat down and thought about this?
If you have, is your system working for you so far? Any unique tips?
Most of us have been unwilling (and unconscious) participants in a popular dialogue. “I’m a mom! I don’t have time!” We just buy into it and assume its the truth, right? And then we get to the newborn stage and think my life will never be the same again. It’s like deer in headlights stuff. What just happened?
Tell someone you have two babies: “wow, you must be busy!” or you tell them you are working and have two young kids – they shake their heads in disbelief and mutter under their breath “have fun with that.” Then you wonder if you are making a massive mistake, if it’s truly possible.
Before I even had kids people would hush their voices, grab my hands and whisper, as if disclosing a deep dark secret. “your life is over.” (Okay maybe not that dramatic but their tone conveyed this hidden message.)
I came into motherhood literally bracing for a vortex. A giant black hole into which my time, my previous life, and my identity would get sucked into. Oh my, it was scary. I was bracing.
To be sure, the “fourth trimester” – the first three months of babykins’ life – are this endless loop of feedings, naps, diaper changes and cooing over a miracle, and googling like you’ve never googled before. And crying. Lots of crying But… BUT…once you get your groove, slowly, ever so slowly you begin to do little things again.
Stand in the kitchen and sip a coffee. Watch netflix. Read a book. Go out for a quick date with your husband. Paint your toenails (oh yes, believe it! Those 7 layers of crusty sparkly stuff from your pre-baby life will be removed – it happens!) Laundry. You get to this stage where you sit down at the end of the day, feet aching, bracing yourself for the night shift, yet you think “shit, I am more productive than I HAVE EVER BEEN BEFORE.” You, my lady, are a machine.
The argument I am going to make here, is that HAVING CHILDREN IS THE BEST THING THAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN TO YOUR TIME.
A pretty absurd statement isn’t it? I am sitting here on my laptop, struggling to stay awake at 9:54 pm, but I am telling you that how you use your time will be transformed, and you will use it ore effectively than you ever have before.
Is this shocking? When you are hurriedly showering hoping your little humans don’t destroy something (or themselves) in the living room upstairs? Or while they are howling downstairs in the bathroom from their car seat / swing / whatever restraint device? I hope it does feel a bit shocking.
But hear me out mama. I speak from two mat leaves, and the future.
I’ll tell you a quick story.
I work with olympic athletes. If you think you are busy, let’s talk about olympic athletes who are studying at University. Swimmers. Swimmers are some of the craziest of that lot. 5am swims. Quick breakfasts. a full day of university classes. Back in the pool early afternoon. Another session early evening, if not dryland training. Somewhere in between there, eating and recovery activities such as massage (don’t think this is relaxing massage, it’s terrible, I’ve use an olympic team masseuse and it redefines torture) – and rehabilitation if they are injured. I didn’t even mention part time jobs in here.
Yet, when I work with these people, they are the people who have the best attitude about time. This group, who have almost NO downtime, can tell me without hesitation how they enjoyed their downtime, and are quite dialled in on their time management! It comes down to the age old phrase of “quality over quantity.”
Olympic athletes are not that much different from us new mamas. Limited downtime. A physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting job that goes from the crack of dawn to well past sundown. They have maybe an hour of downtime in their days. I know this, because I literally map out their schedules with them as part of my coaching profession. I also map out schedules with new mamas as a professional coach, and the short bursts of free time are not all that different.
What we can learn is when we have just one precious hour, one delicious break where we sit down with a sigh, feet aching, we are that much more mindful of the beautiful but short break we have. More so than we have ever been before.
Remember the days spent on a couch, 10 hours passing by with only our hunger telling us to get up and go to the kitchen? There’s no time to waste time away anymore. I don’t ever hear a mom say “just killin time.” NOPE. If there is an hour of free time, the mums I know are strategically planning out the best use of that. Maybe it’s laundry. Maybe it’s making a meal. Maybe it’s some kind of critical budgeting or administrative activity. Maybe it’s (equally important) sitting down or having a nap. No drop of time is wasted. It is planned and used with intention. And that occasional glorious break? A glass of wine? A magazine? We remember those moments.
I challenge you to remember one moment drinking a glass of wine in your house ten years ago, versus one moment doing it now (probably chugged because you’re not sure when the baby will wake up, haha.) We savour that which is sacred. So much more.
And this, is why I think children are the best thing to happen to our free time.
We are so much more conscious and intentional with it.
I was chatting with a friend the other day about my instagram feed. I do enjoy social media and it is part of my wake up in the morning routine. I get my housecoat on, sneak into the lounge before anyone is awake, sip coffee and wake up.
I know I only have 30 minutes to do this. I want to make sure I use those 30 minutes well, and a few months ago I thought “wait, why am I wasting this amazing break on useless shit on instagram that doesn’t help me?” so I’ve pared down my social media to 25% of the accounts that I followed previously. Most of the accounts I follow now are connected to a greater meaning.
They either give me ideas or inspire me to work towards the vision I have for my life, the lifestyle I am working toward, the goals I aspire to, or remind me of the values I hold.
I’m sorry random online business hustler taking selfies with hot women – I’m not giving you a few minutes of my attention. My time is too precious.
That which is limited, we value even more.
Think about anything in your life that you love. If it becomes limited, you appreciate it even more. It’s true. Try drinking just one coffee a day and then come back and tell me how much you appreciate that one cup of coffee. 🙂
When the quantity decreases, the quality increases.
Your downtime may have literally decreased, but figuratively you have gained so much more.
Will you take advantage of that? Or continue to pine for that which was in the past?