Embrace the chaos, has been our catchphrase since becoming parents. In fact, I really should get that quote framed! Seeing your house destroyed day in day out, only to then find a number of toy trains under your pillow and realising you wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s all part of surrendering to this crazy life stage.
Yet, whenever I feel truly burnt out and nothing like my former self (she’s buried somewhere underneath the pile of never ending laundry), I thought I’d share a few of the things that have helped me cope along the way. After all, there are some things that even coffee and lathering’s of concealer can’t solve.
1. Take the pressure off cooking
We often get Hello Fresh boxes, but even without the hassle of meal planning and shopping, trying to prep and coordinate all the steps can sometimes be impossible when you have children creating havoc in the kitchen. So occasionally I’ll turn to Cook instead. These home-cooked freezer meals feel less guilty than supermarket ready meals and have become one of my go-to’s when I know cooking is out of the equation. They also have kids portions!
2. Book a class & commit to ‘you time’
Sometimes you need to force yourself to take a break and booking a class or even a beauty treatment is a great way to make you commit to some ‘me time’. At the gym my favourite classes are Metafit or Spinning. If I can, I’ll go to hot yoga (if you’re ever in Edinburgh, make sure you visit Tribe Yoga – their classes are the best). If you don’t have a gym membership there are plenty of YT channels with exercises you can follow.
Something I started at the end of last year was the Joe Wicks plan. You basically work out 5 days of the week for 15-20 minutes. The best thing about them is they’re over fast & can be done in your living room! I’m not perfect at following the diet side, but I find you can adapt it by sticking to the principles. I’ve always found exercise genuinely boosts both your mood and energy levels. Not to mention, it’s nice to prioritise something that’s for your own wellbeing.
3. Insist on ‘quiet time’
Something my friend does with her toddler is to insist on quiet time during the period her son used to nap. She puts him in his bed with some books and lets him have the option of playing or going to sleep if he’s tired. It’s something I now do with Finlay and so far it’s been working (though I know every child is different). I close the shutters to create a calm atmosphere and leave the door ajar so that he knows he can come out if and when he wants to.
4. Don’t forget fruit & supplements
When you don’t have the hands to make a proper nutritional breakfast or lunch for yourself, you start to feel malnourished pretty quickly. I’ve always been passionate about healthy eating, but find it’s a slippery slope when you fall off the wagon. One of the first things I go and do when I’m on a health kick is to fill up that fruit basket again!
The boys and I love apples with peanut butter as a snack or I’ll whizz up a breakfast smoothie with a supplement (check out our family supplements post) and some spinach. I always have a large bag of frozen berries in the freezer, which is a lot cheaper than buying fresh berries all the time. I use this no hassle budget friendly blender.
5. Arrange to have dinner with a friend
So often on playdates you hardly get the chance to talk with your friends or fellow mums, as your attention is divided between trying to finish your sentence and, “omg what is my child doing?!” It makes you realise how many unfinished conversations we have as parents. Taking some alone time to go out for dinner and catch up with a friend is something I never truly appreciated until having small ones. If you can squeeze in a trip to the cinema or a cocktail or two after even better!
6. Self help – don’t be so hard on yourself
I’ve never been very good at ignoring that negative self talk whenever I feel I’m behind on things. Being so critical doesn’t change the situation, instead it only succeeds in making you feel worse about yourself. Reading a self-help book is a gentle way to steer you back on track with positive thinking (either reading or as an audiobook whilst driving or cooking). I love Esther & Jerry Hicks’ Books and I’m about to start Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
7. Hurrah For Gin
– Steph x