On January 1st you probably woke up with this new, refreshed desire to set goals, tackle projects you have been putting off, and dig deep into self-growth (or maybe you woke up hungover...we’re here for both!)
With the start of a new year, goal setting can certainly be top of mind and while we are all for the “go get em” mindset, we also understand the importance of taking inventory of our goals vs our mindset.
Are we just jotting down words without a ton of thought around the why and the how of it all? Or are we caring for ourselves in the process to ensure we avoid burn out while working towards a goal. Are we shaming ourselves, hustling through each day, feeling like we got nothing accomplished, or are we loving ourselves through the process, slowing down to breath it all in and prioritizing simplicity? We know that may seem impossible in this current state of the world AND just in #momlife in general but the truth is, it’s more important than ever!
Preventing burnout may not be completely possible, but learning to manage the triggers, simplify where we can and work to destress like a mother, will make life a whole lot sweeter.
Here are a few ideas to help you stay ahead of the burnout game in this new year and trust us, we don’t share this because we’ve mastered it! We share this because we’re right here with you in it all and we’ve found a few things that work. If you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, we LOVE hearing them!
As contrary as it may sound, simplifying play actually makes parenting easier. It can feel daunting at first but go through your home and discard toys that are broken, multiples (who needs eight stuffed bears), things your kids never get out to play with on their own or the toys that just plain ol’ annoy you.
Experts suggest that keeping a basket of books, open-ended toys, and some art supplies is actually enough. This allows for a few favorite toys to be accessible to our babes at any time. Beyond that, they suggest using baskets and bins to reduce visual clutter and create organized storage for toys that can be pulled out to play with at a later time and put away again.
We don’t know about you but when we hear “I’m bored”, our knee jerk reaction is to try to either physically or verbally give them direction to something to fill the space of discomfort (and let’s be real, also to stop the whining), but studies actually show that the best gift we can give them is the gift of boredom. Boredom facilitates basic creativity and resourcefulness. The advice of experts in child phycology is to create a simple, safe play environment and then just let them be. No filling, no fluff, just kids being kids and exploring all the beauty in that.
This same process applies to clothing, shoes, accessories, as well. The more we can simplify, the more space we open up for peaceful presence and connection. Having clothing your babes can dress themselves in, shoes they can slip on, jackets that zip, and jammies that easily slip on after a bath will make your life so much easier. The more we can simplify in this area, the more we cultivate ease in transitions and empowered little people. If you feel like you need help in this area, check out a book called Declutter like a Mother. She’s got this down to a science and not in a full-blown minimalist kind of way.
PROCESSES, PROCESSES, PROCESSES
Do you have a morning routine or are you just winging it and trying your hardest to drink a hot cup of coffee in the process? We’ve found a few tricks that make our mornings so much smoother and they come with preparing the night before. We know, the dreaded night before when you’re tired and just done with it all, but hear us out.
First things first: set up your beverage and food of choice the night before so you can just hit go when you’re ready. Yes, some very savvy coffee connoisseur thought of that years ago and put start timers on coffee makers, but what about breakfast? Can you prepare yourself the night before for exactly what you’ll make to take that mental strain off of you in the wee hours when you’re making it?
How about getting dressed? Can you put out the kid's school clothes, your running shoes, your book & journal, whatever your morning looks like, the night before? The answer is YES, and trust us, it works! It’s different for all of us but we have found such relevance in this advice and how it translates to our day starting on the right foot. Pick your top few things and give it a whirl!
Ps. Those of you with toddlers, we have a secret and it's called “toy traps”. AKA place a few open-ended toys on the ground wherever you’d like your kiddos to play in the morning. This might look like blocks and a few wooded cars, dolls with some clothes and a hair brush, magna tiles and farm animals. You get the point! Here’s the glorious part - they can’t help but get caught up in creative play first thing. We do this daily since discovering this hack and it really creates ease and peace around our mornings.
Featuring two piece pajamas from our Josi collection
Is eating together really that important? Research has shown that children reap a variety of benefits from regular family meals together. These include things like strong foundation of health, language skills, lowered levels of depression, closer ties to family members, more willingness to try new foods, etc. The ritual of cooking together, eating together, and conversing creates a consistent and comfortable ritual for your babes to grow into.
The best part is, it doesn’t need to be fancy! Throw a sheet on the floor and call it a picnic, sit outside and let them help you chop, have your toddler set the table or help prepare their own snack. Yes, it can make the process a little longer and little messier but the more we incorporate them now, the more willingly they will be to pitch in later.
Simply sharing time in this way creates connection and rhythm for your family, that simplifies parenting. When everyone knows the role they play and the fluidity of that time of day, believe it or not it will (eventually) simplify your role.
And by that we really mean avoid overscheduling. Dialing back your family’s activity list and calendar is sometimes the best place to start. By nature, young children are not set up to thrive in the go, go, go that comes with a jam-packed, modern-day schedule. (Is anyone, really?). Sure we can all roll with it but from time to time we’re all (including our kiddos) going to hit the burnout phase.
So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by the current number of extracurricular activities, we encourage you to try a week or two without them. Give yourself and your babes a break. Sure, it may sound harder to “just be home” or perhaps you have guilt bubble up because your little social butterflies love their activities, but sometime we have to reset and find a new, more functional and sustainable pace for our family. It’s 100% okay to do so.
The truth is, if we can learn to embrace ordinary days, our children can once again embrace and understand what childhood is meant to be. Ordinary days are all part of life, in fact sometimes they are the best part.
“Learning to appreciate the simple pleasures of an ordinary day builds character and encourages children to live life with an appreciation for the moment.” Book - Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne
Additionally, when we can prioritize gratitude within our “to-do” list, the mental shift is big. It shows up for us in the way we do everything, from how we interact with our family to how we perceive and handle the hiccups that come throughout the day.
Featuring the all in one, momma planner for the do-it-all momma
LEAN ON YOUR TRIBE
Who’s in your world that can help? If you’re like us, asking for help isn’t exactly in your vocab but the truth is, we all need it. We live in a day and age that has placed unrealistic expectations on mommas. You being the chef, the chauffeur, the shopper, the knee kisser, the counselor, the teacher, the income earner, etc., simply isn’t sustainable for any human to thrive long term. It’s flawed and sadly designed to make burnout so much more common. Where we once truly had a village, we now find our hands full attempting to do it all.
Take an evaluation of who’s in your circle. Do you need to expand upon it? Do you have a friend you can trade off with? Do you have a friend you can talk openly and honestly with? These things are growing in their importance, especially after the last two years. We can’t expect our spouse to be all of the things we need; we have to create space for more villagers and know it’s ok to lean on them.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, we LOVE the book Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff.
It’s no secret that your physical health can drastically impact your mental health and mood. Despite the craziness of your stay-at-home life, it’s important that we all make time to do something active for ourselves. That might just mean taking a walk as a family to get outside and get moving, hiking a new hill, a dance party to get your heart pumping or a nap time 15 min sweat sesh!
At-home workouts may end up looking like mommy & me classes whether you want them to or not, we get it! Finding a way to incorporate enjoyable and motivating movement into your days is important though, not just for you but for the tiny people watching your every move. Chances are, with a little one, you are already spending plenty of time on the ground or in “play mode” so let’s grab a few of those minutes and make them work for us!
That's all for today! Remember, we're all in this together! Burn bright, Momma, not out!