Note: The quote above is from my mentor and friend, Jess Lively, who has been instrumental in helping me craft a kind of lifestyle and business that I love. The post below is a version of a previous post I wrote a couple of years ago for the now defunct collaborative blog, The Mom Renewal Project, where I used to be a contributing blogger.
I’ve been a mom for three going four years, and though I only have one child, this mommy-hood journey tiring. OK, OK, so I can’t hold a candle to those who have three or more kids, but you know what I mean, right? I’m still hoping and praying for Baby #2 to come about, but until then, I feel like I need to shape up.
Especially last year.
Yes, my last year of WAHM-ing was quite the challenge! I was doing too much that I reached a point of extreme exhaustion: I was physically tired, and I was stretching the role of the “work at home mom” to limits that went away from my intention to, well, be a work at home mom!
There was a point late last year where I had gotten used to running on adrenaline. I had gotten used to nights when I don’t sleep at all, days when I would forget to do the cooking, and times when I would lose the drive to step into the shower — too tired to drag my feet out of bed in the middle of a post-chore nap.
I thought things would lighten up after I weaned Vito, but to be perfectly honest, I actually crammed my schedule with more work, more projects… and of course, it all led to more stress.
This was not the WAHMderful life I was intending to live.
What I did to restore myself
When I began 2013, I had several intentions for myself as a wife, a mom, a work-at-home professional, and a woman.
1. I would make more time for my family, so that we could maximize these early years as parents and be completely hands-on in the rearing of our son.
2. I would let go of the jobs that were not helping me fulfill intention #1.
3. I would spend more time reflecting and caring for myself spiritually. Not necessarily in the religious sense, though: Instead, I wanted to ensure that I was living my life as a wife and mom aligned to my life purpose and mission.
4. I would give more time to bettering myself in other areas as well: business-wise, health-wise, relationship-wise. This meant regularly being mentored and trained by people I looked up to in my industry, exercising, and also nurturing relationships among family, friendships with other women.
Now, this list of intentions is harder to accomplish than it looks. But, as a mom, I needed to see the grand scheme of things, and it was this: That the unity of my intentions, my health, and my values mattered greatly, if I wanted to live a WAHMderful life. How I approached my relationships, spirituality, health and business would impact me significantly in my vocation as a wife, mom, professional and — yes! — all-around domestic goddess.
That’s why I make it a point to weekly commit to the three “Rs” of mommy restoration.
They are: to relinquish what is not serving me; to rejuvenate my body and mind regularly and to reflect on my life and decisions on a consistent basis.
During the “height” of my WAHM stress, I was running on 3 hours of sleep a night on weekends. I am a resilient person, not usually prone to illness, but even the most hardy woman would get bogged down with this type of schedule! The lack of sleep and irregularities to my schedule took its toll on my body, and I would get colds more easily, headaches more frequently, and gain weight at a faster rate.
Clearly this meant more than just cutting down on my work work hours. It meant letting go of projects that I didn’t need to do anymore, for the sake of buying back my precious time.
It was a drastic shift. In fact, I was featured in Jonathan Mead’s website because of this! (You can read the full article when you click on the image below.)
If something isn’t serving your intention to be a fully present wife and mom, then you may find yourself doing something as drastic as I did: quitting a dead-end job, opting-out, relinquishing. For some, it may be just the thing to get back to their intention to be the moms they know they need to be. In fact, my friend Ruth wrote about this recently, on how taking a break from building her business served as a catalyst for her to be a better entrepreneur, but not until she regained her focus on being a full and present mother. (You may read Ruth’s post on her blog, Momme Circle.)
Of course, each to her own. Consult your spouse before doing anything this life-changing! I’d like to post-script this paragraph by saying that I prepared myself financially before cutting off the employment umbilical cord. If you’re going to quit a job, make sure you plan your exit sensibly!
I used to be hesitant sharing about my “me” day once a week, but I soon learned I was sending the wrong message to many WAHMs out there. Ladies, massages and spa treatments in the Philippines are affordable for a reason! Nowadays, I try to schedule a spa visit at least once every month, for a full relaxation treat. I get a body massage once a week if I can manage it, even if it’s just a home service massage. Also, I calendar my salon appointments so that I don’t forget to at least get a hair treatment every three weeks, and a trim every six.
I also take regular “me” time dates, when I need to write alone, work on passion projects, or simply have dessert by myself!
There’s nothing selfish or wrong about getting primped and pampered, moms. I heartily agree with my friend Jayme of Optimommy, whose philosophy is “happy mommy = happy home.” Indeed! It’s so easy to get caught up in the one-woman role of wife-mom-cook-cleaner-teacher-writer that I so often find myself in, and taking some “me” time is the perfect reward for all this juggling!
This is the most important “R”, because you can’t relinquish or rejuvenate if you don’t have a sound heart and spirit to guide your decisions and intentions. Now, I find my peace when I pray to God, which is at the top of my priorities, next to my relationship with my husband and my son. Now that my son is older, I have more time in the morning to pray, meditate and even lay my plans for the day before God. (When he was smaller and still nursing, I’d reflect during the small pockets of time allowed to me when I am between chores and work commitments.)
It’s my time to get “beautiful” inside, to recall the reason why I decided to become this work-at-home mom version of myself to begin with!
Again, in this case, each to her own when it comes to praying or finding time for reflection. It’s never the environment or the faithwalk that matters in this area, it’s your state and presence of mind. Reflection is all about going back to our intentions as women, wives, mothers and workers. It’s about being mindful in creating a life that we love and can thrive in as moms.
So, those are my “three R’s”, and they have been heaven-sent.
How about you? Are you as schedule-crazy and work-addicted as I was?
Is it time to get some “R, R & R” for yourself? Only you know the answer.
In case you’re interested in learning effective strategies on how to get your “me-time” back, there’s a blissful workshop next week being conducted by my friend Jayme of Optimommy. It’s called “Be Happy and Stress Free” and I highly recommend you go! Details may be found on the Optimommy blog here: Be Happy Go Stress-Free!