If you missed Jen’s question in part 1 last night, please take a few minutes to go read it. The comments were packed with fantastic wisdom and advice. Plus, I think it’s so encouraging to just be reminded that we all struggle with somewhat similar things. It’s good to know that none of us are alone in this journey!
I promised some specific advice for Jen’s situation. After contemplating it as I went about my various tasks today, here are my thoughts:
1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Moms
There are no supermoms. Seriously. None of us have our acts together.
Some of us might have cleaner homes or more organized schedules, some of us might be able to juggle more things or decorate our homes beautifully or whip up amazing recipes, but we all have plenty of warts and struggles. Believe me.
I have yet to meet a mom who didn’t have things she struggled with. And if any mom says she doesn’t struggle with anything, I can guarantee you she’s not being authentic.
2. Make a List of Your Priorities
Take time in the next few days to find a quiet hour and sit down with a blank piece of paper. Start mapping out your thoughts of what you want to be your priorities for this season of life. Keep these short and sweet, no more than 3-4 priorities for starting out. (You can see my current list of eight priorities here. The first four are my main priorities. The other four are my secondary priorities.)
Review these priorities with your husband and close friends for input. Once you feel like you’ve got a solid list that you’ll be happy with 25 years from now, type it up or write it out and tape it to your bathroom mirror or stick it on your refrigerator.
Before adding anything new to your plate or saying “yes” to any commitment, check your priorities list. This helps you to really consider things and not just pile all sorts of commitments on yourself that you’ll later regret.
3. Keep a Running List of Other Things You Want to Do
It sounds like you might be a lot like me in that you have a hundred and one new ideas each week! There are books I want to read, things I want to do with my children, places I want to visit as a family, people I want to reach out to, friendships I want to maintain, skills I want to learn, character I want to develop, business projects I want to experiment with, house projects I want to work on… the list is practically endless.
And very quickly, it can become daunting and overwhelming — if I let it. Instead, just keep a notebook with a running list of ideas. That way, you’re recording them somewhere and they are out of your head vying for your attention.
4. Choose One Thing to Focus on At a Time
A surefire way to set yourself up for failure is to try and re-invent your life overnight. It’s just not going to happen. Or if it does, it won’t last longer than a short while. Instead, take your list of priorities and your running list of things you want to do and map out one area of your life to focus on at a time.
I recommend picking the habit or change that is going to most significantly effect your everyday life. So think about what your biggest hangups and struggles are and then choose an area based upon that.
Make this habit your focus for 3-6 weeks. Once you feel like it’s truly become ingrained in your life, you can move onto the next habit or skill. But be careful that you don’t add something new too quickly. You’d rather improve a little bit more each month than to try and go full steam ahead and end up back where you started after a few months of effort.
5. Cut Yourself a Lot of Slack
Most importantly, give yourself lots of grace! You have a lot on your plate right now: you just moved and you have a six-month-old. Plus, it sounds like you no longer have the support you had before you moved.
Adjusting to being a new mom is a huge. Throw moving in there, too, and you’ve got a lot of big learning curves you’re shouldering at one time.
Now is the time to keep things really simple and to lower your expectations of yourself. Don’t worry about making elaborate dinners or cleaning your baseboards. Maybe even buy a few packages of disposable diapers instead of cloth diapering while you get settled in your home?
Don’t stress too much about trying to clip a bunch of coupons or shop at three different grocery stores. Just stick with simple, inexpensive meals and focus on stocking up on the loss leaders (or do more of your shopping at Aldi, if you have one nearby).
6. Remember What Will Matter Most in 25 Years From Now
Finally, constantly remind yourself about what is really going to matter at the end of your life. Love on your baby and husband, cherish and embrace each day, and don’t forget to make sleep a priority.
In time, as you become more accustomed to your new area and your baby grows, you’ll be able to do more. But don’t be so anxious to do-do-do that you forget to take time to just soak up and savor the moments with your precious baby. They are fleeting!