Episode 5 – Why You Need to Carve Out Space for You

You may not be able to create more hours in the day, but you definitely CAN free up more time to get back to doing the things that you love and being a happier more rounded person. Be the person you want your kids to look up to, who you want them to be! A HAPPY WHOLE PERSON.

Welcome back, I’m so happy you are here to join me today. As I am recording this there is beautiful sunlight streaming through my bedroom window (yes, I record this in my bedroom) and it is GORGEOUS outside. Summer is finally here, at the time of recording my kids have exactly one week of school left and they are SO excited. I think I’m excited for them to be off too, but well…. We’ll see. My kids definitely do still go to daycare in the summer. We found this amazing place that offers a daily swimming lesson to all of the kids and takes them on weekly field trips to awesome places all around the city, and then they have tons of great activities like baking, sewing and movie days in between. I am sure, in fact I know, that they would be so happy to sit around all summer and play video games but that’s not how this Mama rolls. I like to keep them busy and help their little minds and bodies grow in a healthy way, but I also NEED time for me.

I love my kids, and I love spending time with them, but… I also love working and growing myself as a person, and I can’t do that effectively when they are here with me asking for a million snacks, complaining that they are bored and fighting with each other over every little thing. I’m actually really lucky. I have a great bunch of kids. They are all super unique. Not a single one has been straightforward or simple to raise. I jumped in headfirst to this whole Mom thing, going from being a Mom to one little boy, to a Mom to 4 kiddos (3 boys and a girl) in a matter of a few months. It was crazy in those first couple of years getting adjusted and getting everyone on the same page. They all have their own special needs and honestly compared to many kids they have a LOT of needs. We range all over the gamut with all sorts of exceptionalities from different forms of ADHD, to extreme giftedness, to pretty serious learning disabilities and all sorts of other things between. Not going to lie, it can be a lot, there have definitely been times that I wanted to run, but at the end of the day they teach me SO much and bring us so much joy and love. We are really quite blessed.

When I was younger, pre kids, I was 100% SURE that when I became a Mom I was going to be the best dang stay at home Mom on the planet. I wanted to be a Martha Stewart, Pinterest worthy Mom who baked cookies with her kids and played pretend games, built forts and just soaked up every second of it. Turns out… that is SO not me. I actually do occasionally do the Pinterest worthy baking or lunches with cute sandwiches that look like animals, but I honestly would rather stab myself in the foot with a fork than play pretend for any length of time. I suck at it. Like I REALLY suck at it. Baking cookies with kids stresses my perfectionist self to the max. I do them both anyway, occasionally, because I love my kids and their joy is worth it, but this is not something I could spend every day all day doing as I had once envisioned.

In order to be the best possible Mom to my kiddos I NEED me time. I need to go to work. I need to listen to audio books and podcasts. I need to GROW as a person. When my first was really little I felt horrible guilt over this. I felt like I was a terrible Mom. Honestly EVERYTHING made me feel like a terrible Mom. I would jump onto google to figure out how best to parent this complicated little fellow and everywhere I turned I was told I was going to mess him up. Sleep train? You will destroy your child’s bond and ability to attach. Don’t sleep train? Your child will NEVER learn to be independent! Ever been down that rabbit hole? I’m betting if you have kids then you have. The fact that we can just jump online whenever we want to snag parenting advice (or any other advice for that matter) is awesome, but man as a new parent it can be intensely overwhelming. Now… 7 years into my parenting journey, with kids ranging from 12 down to 4 I just do my best and joke with my husband that instead of setting up a college fund for our kids we should set up a therapy fund. Cause I don’t know for sure which ones will decide to go to college vs a trade or starting their own company, but I’m pretty sure that growing up in this world they will ALL need the all of the therapy.

Now I try to look at my desire to work and grow as setting a fantastic example for my kids of what a strong competent woman can look like. Now I’m not saying that stay at home Moms who play with their kids aren’t strong and competent – don’t get me twisted – but I wouldn’t BE a strong competent Mom If that was how I was living my life. We need to be true to ourselves and then become the BEST example of THAT to show our kids that amazing role model. So while I thought that my kids were going to grow up with this perfectly patient Mary Poppins type Mom, they actually ended up with a hard working Mom with huge goals that will show them that when you believe in yourself and your dreams, you are unstoppable. And while it looks very different than my original vision for myself as a Mom, I’m ok with it now.

I encourage you to reevaluate your own life and your relationship with those around you. Be that your kids, your parents or siblings, your spouse or partner – all of those interactions. Are you being true to yourself? Or are you just trying to live up to the vision that you or someone else created years ago, of what you THOUGHT you should be, without considering who you are and how you are actually feeling about it. When we are constantly trying to be something we are not, it is a perfect recipe for perpetual failure. Reevaluate those relationships and your role in them and then examine it to see where you can adjust to make them work for the you that you ACTUALLY are and want to be today, not the person you envisioned when you were 12 or your parents expected you to be.

This sounds so silly and so simple, but I really believe that for many of us we don’t even realize that we are doing it. The society that we live in often puts a lot of pressure on people, especially women to fit a certain ideal or norm and that just isn’t realistic. We were all created with different strengths, weaknesses, passions, and purposes and until we seek those out for ourselves we aren’t going to come even close to reaching our potential.

I know for me I really TRULY believed that this is who I was and that I KNEW myself. Maybe back then it was, probably not, I don’t know, but it certainly isn’t anymore.

If you aren’t already, make it a priority to take time out for yourself.  If you are a Mom this might be hard. Maybe it means pawning the kids off on Dad or a friend for a few hours and taking a walk, or a long bath. Maybe it means picking up a hobby, reading more books or getting a therapist. Oh my goodness, everyone needs a therapist or a life coach! They are amazing! You might be like me a few years ago and think “I have no clue what I would even do with time alone” but if you just keep trying things you will figure it out. And here’s the thing, when you get to know yourself better and address your own needs you will be WAY better at loving and serving your loved ones. It is so much easier for me to sit down and play dolls with my little girl when I know that I spent the day CRUSHING it at work, and when I know that I will get to relax in the bath with an audio book after they are all in bed.

By the way – audiobooks are my new BEST FRIEND. I always loved reading growing up. I actually used to get in trouble for reading too much. Yes you heard that right. I was so addicted to my books that I would try to read while walking to school and my Mom was terrified I would get hit by a car. Once I became a busy working Mom books were out. I couldn’t start one because then I got annoyed every time my reading was interrupted, or I accomplished nothing because I couldn’t focus on anything else until the book was done. Recently someone introduced me Audible and the world of Audiobooks. Oh my goodness, I feel like a kid in a candy store! I can actually enjoy my books again! I listen while I drive, while I edit, while I clean the house. Anytime, anywhere – as long as the kids don’t need me. My recent favourite was “Educated” by Tara Westover. I highly recommend it. I have been alternating business and personal books just to add a little fun and diversity in my life. If you want to check it out you can head to http://www.audibletrial.com/Updraft and get your first book absolutely FREE!

I know that when I initially started thinking about time for me – to read, to relax, and to rediscover myself it honestly felt like it was just not possible. I didn’t have enough hours in the day. Between work, appointments for myself and the kids, homework, cleaning the house and staying on the 30 some odd loads of laundry that were required every week when they were little it just wasn’t happening.

There are a couple of ways you can tackle this. You can hire help. For every family that is going to look a bit different. Maybe you need help in your business as was suggested in the last episode, or maybe you need help around the house or with the kids. Maybe an amazing nanny or daycare is going to free up the hours you need.

For us the first thing we did to add help to our lives was to hire an incredible woman to come clean our house. This was a TOUGH one for me. Why on earth would I pay someone to clean my house, when I am clearly capable? I really didn’t think they would be as effective, I’m pretty picky and that’s just money down the drain.

It was my husband that got this one right. He told me I needed to pay someone else to come do the things that I could do, so that I could focus on the bigger picture and work on the things that I SHOULD do. I thought he was nuts. I resisted. My inner control freaked spazzed and then I gave in. The house was a mess, I COULDN’T possibly do everything I needed to do and we were stressed and miserable. Turns out she was actually amazing, and did all sorts of little extras like reorganizing the kid’s playroom, or cleaning out the inside of the oven. She has since left to start a family of her own, and I really really do need to get on finding someone else because I am once again spending too much time on the things that someone else could easily do.

I am so grateful to my husband for helping with this mindset shift. It took me a long time to figure it out and to get comfortable with the idea of trading money for time, but he was right. Once that time and brain space was freed up I was able to be more efficient in the areas that I WAS managing. Parenting the kids, and running my business. If you make $50, $100, $150 or whatever other number and hour you want to sub in there when you are working on your business then why would you use your time doing a job that you could be paying someone to do for $20 and hour, instead of paying someone to do it and then going out and generating your own hourly. Spend the money so that you can create more of it. You can’t get more time, but you can make more money.

Another way to clear more time if you are in a place where paying someone to help in your business or home just isn’t an option is to time block.

Make a list of all of the things that you need to accomplish, give yourself a set amount of time to complete them and then create a schedule. Don’t multitask (if you can avoid it, I know that’s not possible when you have kids with you) and don’t give yourself more than the allotted time for a task.

You would be AMAZED at how much you can accomplish if you only have 1 hour to get it done. Think about the time your friend called and said “I’m in the area and popping by” and you looked at your disaster of a house and went crazy for 10 minutes cleaning up all the toys, dishes and laundry. OR every time the baby naps and you have 1, maybe 2 hours if your baby is a great sleeper (mine weren’t!)  to return all of your client emails and get your work done.

When we don’t set a limited time to accomplish a task and there is no pressure to get it done we tend to get distracted or waste time or procrastinate doing easier but less valuable tasks.  There are actually apps you can put on your phone to track how much time you spend on it. Most of us would be shocked to know the amount of time that is wasted scrolling, playing games, or doing other tasks that actually don’t move us any closer to our goals and dreams.

So while you cannot add any more minutes or hours to your days, days to your weeks, you CAN use your time more carefully and make it count.

So, this week I want you to try to free up time. I don’t care if that is through outsourcing your life, you work or by using your time more effectively – I want to challenge you to free up as much time as you can so that you can give it back to yourself and grow, be happier and be better able to love and support the people around you.

See you next time!

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