Time for a confession. I am a control freak. I like things to be done my way and I can be pretty hard to deal with if I feel like I am out of control. Sounding familiar? Talking to friends and clients I think that it is pretty common for busy working mums to feel this way! I am learning though that it is good to let go and to work together rather than do it all myself.
Why are we all so busy?
I laughed hysterically at the Chris Evans Radio 2 Breakfast Show a couple of weeks ago. Chris and Vassos were recounting stories of instructions issued by their wives that made little sense to them. Chris talked about having agreed to collect his son and a friend from school. He had then dismissed the lengthy list of instructions that he was given and said that he would pick them up, feed them and entertain them his way. Vassos told the tale of having cut the potatoes ‘wrong’ for boiling before mashing. As he said, if they were to be mashed what did it matter? That all really hit a chord with me though.
I could hear myself coming through loud and clear and it was quite uncomfortable. It actually played on my mind for days afterwards hence the blog. I am sure that I am not alone in micromanaging the family. I do most of the shopping, work out the schedule, create a menu and organise activities and holidays. I do it all not because I have to but because I have taken control and run with it. I am so busy that I feel as if I have to keep it all going or it will all just fall apart.
I am getting better at accepting help and managing not to pass comment when dinner is not quite as expected but it is hard. Time pressures and logistics can be so complicated that I seem to end up running everything like a military operation. Heaven forbid that we should be late or not do something. If I cancel arrangements I feel so guilty which I am told is because I try so hard to please everyone else and put them before me. I would guess that there are lots of you out there that do exactly the same.
So what can you do to break the cycle?
I don’t know about you but I spend a large part of my time stressed and feeling worn down and tired out. I have learned though that I have 3 things that really help me to cope and to switch off and change the pace a little.
The first is my husband. He is supportive, thoughtful and more than capable of taking care of us all without being micromanaged by me!
The second is exercise. I lose myself in physical activity and use it to detach my brain and the accelerator pedal. My head clears and I zone out in the effort.
The third is writing. I write my blog, my book, my journal. I scribble multiple times during the day in notebooks, my laptop, the notes on my phone. It could be quotes, thoughts, stories to share later, lists and chapters. I process whilst I write and clear my head of all the noise. It grounds and focuses me.
What works for you?
I am lucky to have found what works for me. I am letting go which is easier as the girls are getting older. I am also learning that doing things differently works too – it is just different. It still gets done. The result is that I am calmer and have more time to enjoy everything. Frantic, stressed and overloaded is not a great way to live. If that is how you feel you need to find a way to slow down and to get some support. You don’t get this time back so you need to savour and enjoy it taking the time to notice where you are right now.
Louise Chunn sums it up perfectly in this months Good Housekeeping ‘we women often fill our days with things that are inessential. Does it really matter if every tap in the house shines bright? That every email is answered? So often the social facilitators, women won’t give themselves the opportunity to step back and observe rather than drive themselves (and their families) forward.’
So I want you to start thinking about your priorities and think about where you can start to get some help and lighten your load. What can you do to clear your head and deal with some of that stress? I couldn’t manage without my exercise or my writing and certainly not without the support of my husband!
I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and have found that it rings true with you. My aim is to share my experiences and in doing so to help others to be stronger, healthier and happier in all that they do. I am passionate about getting everyone to move more and to move well and to grasp the opportunities we have. I would love you to join the fit4evermore community to make sure that you receive my monthly challenges and lots of tips and advice to help you to be the best version of you possible.