There’s no other way to say it: there are seasons of life that can really suck. I could make you a list of my current struggles (the struggle is real!!) and there are moments when I feel like it’s all falling apart. When life starts to feel overwhelming, how do we keep it all together? Hopefully these tips will help you (as they helped me) in your difficult season:
Organize, Organize, Organize
In the past, I was able to keep my family’s comings and goings together using a family calendar (so everyone knew the schedule), as well as my cell phone calendar to keep it with me on the go. I have a pretty good memory for these things and I had a good handle on things. Until…
My schedule had changed and I was no longer home on set days and times. I was starting to miss things. Big things. The first thing was forgetting which bills were due and when, then I was starting to fall behind on groceries… I no longer felt like I was in control of my life. I needed a scheduling overhaul, so I asked some friends for ideas for a planner:
Kate Spade – this one comes in super cute prints and fits well in your purse.
Create 365 Planner – this planner is bigger, but you can customize with fun and colorful stickers.
Erin Condren Planners – similar to the Create 365. It’s bigger and can be customized (from the front cover to the layout inside – horizontal, vertical, hourly) for your families needs. Great colors and it also includes fun stickers and colorful accessories.
Bullet Journal – TOTALLY up to you! One of the founders of City Moms Blog loves her BuJo! I did try this for a few months and the only thing that I struggled with is future planning and creating a years worth of monthly spreads to track future appointments.
CalenGoo App – syncs with your Google calendar, super handy to keep it all in one place.
All of these great ideas out there helped get me back on track!
Speaking of organization, organize your finances! Set up auto-pay on everything that you can, but if auto-pay isn’t an option write down or set a reminder in your calendar for when things are due. I wrote out all of the bills into my planner and that gives me a quick overview, so I don’t lose track (again).
Also, those forgotten groceries? Order online! Save time, your sanity, and your family. Whole Foods, King Soopers, Walmart, and Instacart all offer some sort of grocery delivery or pick-up. I use the King Soopers Click-List and it has been a life saver. While I’m at an appointment for my mom, I order everything that I need for pick up same day or the next. It has been such a helpful tool that I was not using before. I may never go back!
Lean on your tribe
Now that you (hopefully) have a little bit of organization, the next part can be hard: Leaning on others. If you can, lean on your partner. My husband has been the best. I came home one day and literally sobbed all over him, thanking him for being the best husband and partner that I could ever have. I’ve had to be away from home a lot lately and he’s not only continued his dad duties, but taken over a lot of the mom duties at the house and with the kids. I’ll text him that plans have changed the night before he comes home from his overnight shift and he’ll reply: “What do I need to do? Are you okay?” Amazing! He’s been the cooker, the cleaner, and the kid person, and he hasn’t complained or made me feel guilty for not being home. Ever.
Lean on your friends! My tribe has been absolutely amazing, as well. It’s been a juggle to get everyone where they need to be when you’re committed elsewhere. Friends have helped take my kids to practice and games, taken them after school for play time, COOKED US MEALS! Oh! and given hugs at just the right moment. There is someone in your life that will be your listening ear, your soundboard, your person. It can feel so lonely and isolating when you are going through a difficult time, and all you have to do is invite one person in to make the difference for you.
Let it go
This one is the hardest part. Let go of the guilt. The guilt of not being there or of missing out on something happening in your kiddo’s life. Missing meetings at work and the guilt that comes from not being there. It’s the guilt we feel when we think we are not enough. Because, you ARE enough. The things that you miss are not what defines you, so don’t let the guilt take over.
These seasons… these terrible and wonderful (mostly terrible) seasons… They’re just that. Seasons. They’re temporary and you can learn lessons of strength and beauty from them. And you, mama, are beautiful.