Clean Start Challenge - Create Your Santuary & Make Me-time
This is week 2 of the Lifetime's Clean Start - check out how my Clean Start buddy Carolyn is doing in her video at MyLifetime.com.
Carolyn is one busy mom of three children, and an army wife, boy can I relate to that! Army isn't 8 to 5, it is more like 5 to 8, plus all the training, weekends, and even deployments - it takes a lot of time away from the family. Being a stay-at-home-mom isn't easy and as Carolyn has realized too, being an army wife isn't any easier! I don't think many people realize what kind of heroes our military wives are - holding down the fort at home, while their husbands are serving the country.
Some advice for Carolyn to start with:
1. Lower Your Expectations
I understand that everyone wants a certain number of things accomplished every day, but lower your own expectations so you will also feel that you ARE accomplishing things when you can check off everything on your to-do list every day. It's OK if you don't have the dinner ready and waiting every night, or the house spotless every day. When you are able to give up on your own demands for yourself, it will be easier and less stressful. Things will still need to be done, but there will always be more laundry, another diaper to change and breakfast, lunch and dinner - just remember to give yourself credit on things you do accomplish.
2. Set "Rules"
Once your daily to-do list is more scheduled it will be easier to manage. I've always had "stay-at-home-mom" rules for myself. No TV before 6PM (well, this was before there was Twitter - now my rule would probably be no Twitter before kids have been fed..), and if I didn't have dinner started at 5PM it would be either take-out, eat out or make one of my "emergency fast foods" like spaghetti & Ragu sauce that cooks fast. One could be - always do two loads of laundry on a same day. Then stick to the rules!
3. Get Kitchen Savvy
Stock up on easy dinner items that allow you to make a meal within 20 minutes or less for those days that you don't have time to cook. Learn to cook large portions of food, that you can either reheat the next day, or even freeze and eat later when the "what's for dinner" dilemma hits you at 5PM. I don't know how I would have done it if I hadn't had Rachael Ray ten years ago - watching "30 Minute Meals" was my me-time when I allowed myself to relax AND I learned to cook too! Now of course you have the whole world wide web to teach you how to cook!
4. Set Time For Yourself
It is so easy to forget yourself when you are a mom and a wife, but it is so important to have some me-time! You will be more energized -- I find I have more patience with the daily grind, and kids, and even the hubby when I have something just for myself.
My “projects” have included everything from renovating the house, sewing, working to selling things on eBay and now blogging and working from home. I think my “projects” helped me to make a schedule for each day, and the schedule helped me to organize the life and family better. Even if I didn’t have anything special planned for the day, I wanted to work on my “project” for a few hours to do something that I liked, and to get the feeling that I have accomplished something important to me.
5. Create Your Own Sanctuary
I would like to challenge Carolyn (and you too!) to create your own sanctuary this week. It can be your place in the home, where you can relax (no laundry piles please!), or it can be your 30 minutes of time, just for you with your favorite book, "project", TV show - or taking a nap! Ok, start with 15 minutes, and you don't even have to do it every day. Just get started with it, and you will realize that giving yourself time, and a place to relax will make you more motivated and energized.
Next week I will be getting some tips for Carolyn on how to really get more organized - if you have any tips for her - make sure to leave them here in the comments!
LIFETIME CLEAN START
Lifetime's Clean Start is a challenge where four women are making a Clean Start in their lives, and in the process, competing for $10,000. You can follow their progress through new videos every Wednesday for three months, and chat with them about behind-the-scenes details in the Clean Start Community.
I would love you to join and follow my finalist buddy Carolyn in her journey and vote for her in Lifetime's Clean Start Challenge - you could also win $1,000 for yourself! You can vote daily to win!