High expectations of yourself… I bet you’ve been there before!
All the things that you have to do around the house, with the kids, for yourself, for your friends, family, and whom ever else you have an obligation to.
There is nothing wrong with having expectations of who we are and what we have to do in our daily lives. If we didn’t have these expectations then nothing would be achieved. It is also important for our sense of self that we know that we can achieve what we plan.
However, when those expectations set ourself up for failure, then they do more harm then good.
It’s said a lot in the coaching circles that individuals overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in their lifetime.
As I work with mums I like to tailor this to my particular clientele:
Mums overestimate what they can achieve in a day and underestimate what they can achieve in a month.
I speak to mums everyday who have a to-do list that is a page long and often they try to fit too much into a day and end up feeling unsatisfied and angry at themselves (or their family) for not ticking off everything on their list. This culminates in the all too familiar feeling of overwhelm.
Everywhere she looks is something that needs to be done. The pile of laundry, toys on the floor, dishes in the sink, repairs around the house, sorting, cleaning, education stuff for the kids and don’t forget the things wants to do for herself.
It’s all too common… And it’s manageable if not preventable.
There are two parts to reducing the overwhelm – your mindset and the practical.
Let’s start with the practical:
First… stop writing daily to-do lists! Stop trying to do everything in a day, and start trying to spread things out over a greater period of time. Have daily, weekly and monthly priorities.
Mind-maps are the way to create a visual picture of everything that you need to get done. You can do them in pretty colours, different shapes or any way to get some creativity out. Once you’ve got everything out you can start to see relationships between them and see how things work together and not just as stand alone items.
Once it’s down on paper it’s also important to start to delegate. Are there things that only your partner or husband can do? What can you get your children to help out with? What about friends / family or professional services outsourcing? No mother is an island!
This is an example from one of my clients and we worked together to plan 2016 for her. I was really proud of her doing this for her year. Even though she did admit to freaking out a bit once she got everything down and saw what had to be done, she also realised how important it was for her to have a smooth running household and how getting systems in place to manage what needs to get done was going to be beneficial for her and her family as a whole.
For my client she was able to delegate the meal planning and shopping list to her husband who was very happy to take on the role for her. She has successfully made it through the first half of the year, achieving all her goals and doing very well at uni and I expect her to continue in the same pattern for the rest of 2016.
While for this client we used a mind-map for her year, I use a new mind-map every month to help me plan what is going on for my family. I’ve been using this technique for so long now I don’t know how I’d be able to cope without it! When I know what is going on it helps me reduce my overall level of stress and when I’m less stressed I’m happier and then I’m going to be a better mother to my children!
This leads us onto the second part of tackling overwhelm – mindset.
As I mentioned managing what’s going on in the household will reduce your stress. You won’t be spending excess energy on things that either aren’t a priority or is actually the responsibility of someone else. A stressed out mother is an ineffective parent so it serves your children well to manage your stress levels!
Many mums have a reluctance to ask for or accept help. I was like that, particularly with my first child. It took becoming a single mum for me to truly realise the importance and benefit of having other people around me help me. For me at first it was practical, I couldn’t cope doing everything on my own with a toddler and a newborn while still emotionally raw from my separation. But as time continued and I let more and more people help me I realised the immense benefit it had.
If you are feeling overwhelmed right now, I would almost guarantee that you’re not letting enough people help. And I mean help in a practical sense. If you’ve got friends offering to look after the children then say yes! If someone is offering to take out the garbage or help you with your laundry then say yes! If you’re able to hire a cleaner then do it!
Outsource what you can, take the pressure off yourself and reduce your stress levels so you are happier, more in control and a better mum.
The other flip side to saying yes is learning to say no!
Do you have to take up the extra responsibility at your child’s school? Do you need to take your kids on all these wonderful adventures each week or would one or two be enough over a month? Do you have to have catch up’s or playdates with people who you don’t hold to be true friends?
When you say no to the unnecessary things, it allows you the freedom to say yes to the things that are meaningful, the things that really count!
Feeling overwhelmed is incredibly common and is one of the most frequent things I work with my clients on. If it is something that is a problem for you and you’d like to create a plan to overcome it then I invite you to join me for an introductory coaching session where we’ll work together an map out a month, 3 and 6 month plan for you to achieve what you need to achieve.
Find all the details about signing up for coaching session here. Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s speak soon!