Between my unbalanced hormones, my toddler’s erratic sleeping patterns, my preschooler’s stubborn streak, my boy’s whirlwind energy, my preteen’s moodiness and my husband’s busy work and church schedule, I am never quite sure how my day is going to go.
As expected, some days are better than others. But I wanted to think I had some control over how my days went as a mom. So I started to reflect at the end of good days and tried to figure out what I did that day that helped them go well. Likewise, I reflected at the end of bad days to determine where I went wrong.
On GOOD days, I noticed some consistent behaviors on my part:
1. I went to bed on time the night before. As much as I want to get caught up on my Dancing With the Stars or read the third book in the Hunger Games series, every time I stay up late, my whole day gets off to a rough start. I have less energy and less patience.
2. I got up before the kids. It is so much nicer to greet them in the morning, rather than have them wake me up. Hearing Locke’s door creak open makes me smile when I am already awake. I want to see his cute little face, messed up hair and smell his morning breath. But if I am asleep and I hear the door creak open, I groan and think “Oh no, here we go…”
3. I had an empty dishwasher when breakfast rolled around. Either I emptied the dishwasher first thing or I did it the night before so breakfast dishes could be loaded right away. There is little excuse for dishes to pile up or to get behind if you can load them right after breakfast. And starting the morning on top of things gives you momentum for the rest of the day.
4. I knew what was for dinner before lunch. It takes so much stress and anxiety out of my day if I just have a plan for dinner.
5. I started making dinner at lunch time. I put something in the crockpot, set rolls out to rise, cut up vegetables, marinated meat or prepared a casserole. Life gets too crazy between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm to wait until then to prep dinner. Anything I can have done ahead of time helps make dinner time more enjoyable. And there are less dinner dishes to do.
6. My good days were under-scheduled. I have to remind myself to avoid the urge to throw in one more task or one more errand. For example, I was having a great day one day and thought I could fit in a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a Costco run. But by the time I got home from the store, unloaded the groceries, made the cookies and then did all the cookie dishes, I was exhausted and grouchy. I forgot to factor in the clean-up of those two tasks. Going to Costco is one thing. Getting it all in the house and down to the storage room is another.
7. I rested and relaxed. And when I say rest, I mean I lay on my bed or take a bath or read a book or sit down on the couch and stare out the window. When possible, I rest right before the kids come home from school so I am geared up for the chaos. But my new favorite time to take a break is right before bed time. I send the kids off to do their bedtime routine and I snuggle with my husband (if he is home). We catch up for 15 minutes, and then we make the rounds to read and snuggle with the kids. This gives them a chance to demonstrate their independence without me hovering and I get a chance to refuel.
As moms we don’t have complete control over if the baby sleeps through the night, if the toddler makes a huge mess, if the school child gets sick, if the preteen gets in a fight with her friend or if the teenager has a huge homework project, but we do have control over small parts of our day that can add up.
What do you control to have a good day?