The mum life juggle/struggle is real.
Mum of two, a paediatric dietitian and nutritionist, Dr Jen Cohen, started the year off really hoping she would be able to tick off some goals this year.
Her second child started kindy and not only did that mean she went from the double drop off to one (hooray), Jen was also looking forward to having more time to devote to her business and self-care.
But time has gotten away from her and as she writes on this Insta post, she’s been left with a weird feeling:
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I can't believe it is already week 5 of the school term and my youngest has already been at school 4 weeks. I am not sure where the time has gone? I was all excited having my 2 boys at school as this meant an easier pick up and drop off and 2 days without kids to work on my blog. I was looking forward to getting into a routine and getting organised and being able to exercise more. . I will admit the transition hasn't been as easy as I thought and this has had something to do with the fact that we haven't managed to get into that routine yet. I need routine in my life, working 2 jobs, running my blog and being a mum means that life is pretty hectic and I thrive on the routine. For some reason I haven't gotten into a routine yet and it is bothering me. . My child free days and have gone by so fast and I have felt like I haven't achieved everything I wanted and I am struggling at night to get any work done at all. For my task orientated personality who likes to "tick" things of the to-do list of life feeling disorganised is not helping me to get rid of this weird feeling. . I have decided that I need to be a little easy on myself and lower my very high expectations of what I can achieve. I also realise I am not sleeping as well as I used to and definitely not being as active as I want and I don't think this is helping. . I am not writing this post to make you feel bad or to have sympathy for me, but more as some honesty so that you know that although I may look like I have it all together on Instagram, this is not always the case. I also know that I can keep wallowing or change things up and do something about it and I choose to change things around. . I am going to make sure I go to bed a bit earlier, get back into more consistent exercise, make sure I am eating well, and organise a new routine with the hubby. First stop though is a camping weekend away with the family. Fingers crossed my mojo comes back soon! . Phot credit: @ladycarolyn . #mumlife #mumofboys #workingmum #workingmumlife #lifeplanning #familyroutine #healthymum #getmymojoback #mummybloggerau #kidsblogger #researcher #dietitiansofinstagram #kidsnutrition #fussyeaters #fussyeatingdoctor #kidshealth
Me too, Jen, me too
As a first-time kindy mum myself, Jen’s post resonated so much.
I get this “weird” feeling myself at the moment.
Just yesterday I was up till 10pm, which is very un-naturally late for me, still folding washing and doing lunch boxes and worrying about what I was going to forget the next day.
It’s unlike me to feel so wobbly.
For me, the anxiety is around trying to pre-empt what could possibly “go wrong” to disrupt the flow of the next day. When in reality what happens is the kids might sleep late, I might forget the water bottle and miss my train. Not ideal circumstances, sure and a bit annoying, but also, not the end of the world either.
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Last week I sent off my youngest to school. I took the week off so I could settle him into school and so he didn’t have to go to after school care until this week. He did really well settling into school and he seems so grown up all of a sudden! . It has been nice getting back to work this week mainly so we can get back to a routine. Our family definitely thrives in routine. I am more productive at work, I get in more exercise and we eat much better as I am able to meal plan. . I am looking forward to the year ahead, with a new routine, some new exciting opportunities with business and work and some new family adventures that we are planning. . What are you looking forward to this year? . . . #backtoschool #kindykid #mumofboys #schoolmum #mumlife #familyroutine #mealplanning #mealprep #familife #workingmum #mummybloggerau #healthyfamily #familyfun #proudmum #kidsfoodideas #kidsfoodblogger #mummybloggerau #instagrammum #dietitiansofinstagram #schoolkids #healthyfamilyfood #healthyfamilymeals
What to do?
As one follower, @fitfamily, wrote on Jen’s post: “Introduce things slowly. I hate that overwhelming feeling when I put everyone on my plate at once!!”
Psychologist, career coach and co-founder of The Parents Village, Kristy Levin, said the daycare to school life transition is a big one for everyone.
“Daycare is like a well-oiled machine, you just drop the kids off and pick them up. School is more like a puzzle that you’ve got to piece all the bits of admin together,” says Kirsty.
As a mum to two school-age kids, Kirsty’s advice is expertly practical. First up, she recommends pooling together with other like-minded parents and make a plan for the year:
“At our school, one of the parents created a calendar of all the school events and shared it around,” says Kirsty.
“I also save up the school admin and do it in large blocks, rather than something every day. It’s usually done on a Friday or Saturday night in a big chunk, it helps me give things more focus.”
Get your kids to muck in
Kirsty also advises getting the kids in on the action and making them responsible for tasks as early as possible.
“It takes time engaging kids in part of your routine and getting them to repeat the same behaviours day in and day out. But this helps them understand that for things to run smoothly, they need to play a part. For example, unpacking their lunchbox, putting the scraps into the bin and giving it a quick rinse. It’s the little things that are the timesavers.”
When it comes to easing your own parental anxiety, Jen gave herself some great advice:
“I have decided that I need to be a little easy on myself and lower my very high expectations of what I can achieve. I also realise I am not sleeping as well as I used to and definitely not being as active as I want and I don’t think this is helping… I am going to make sure I go to bed a bit earlier, get back into more consistent exercise, make sure I am eating well, and organise a new routine with the hubby.”
Get clear on your priorities
Kirsty Levin agrees and says sometimes the easiest way to feel more in control is to give yourself a break and breakdown your real priorities in into two key areas.
“For some people that might be exercise and sleep, for others, it could be socialising and work. Whatever the two values are, by clarifying them you will prioritise them and this will help you scale back the feeling that you have so much on your plate.”
And in a few weeks time, we’ll probably find that a better school/life/mum routine has just kind of created itself.