Do you ever think there’s not enough time in life? I think that must be the thing I say the most. In fact, I probably say it every day. When your day is squished between 9 and 3 and nap times are the only time you have to get anything done life continually feels very busy. When are you supposed to fit in cleaning? When does the cooking get done? And you can basically forget life admin. Making clay models with the kids? Looking after yourself? What’s that?!
It’s the thing we do the least but probably the thing we should prioritise way more than we do. But what goes so we can? I don’t yet have the answer to that because if I don’t do something that “should” be done (like the cleaning) the old mum guilt kicks in and then it’s impossible to relax and enjoy the me time.
I am 100% a morning person which, unfortunately, and sometimes annoyingly, can make me very anti-social in the evenings. And surely when the kids have gone to bed is the time you switch off. However, I find by the time I’ve done the usual jobs – finished tidying the kitchen after the chimpanzee’s tea party, got Poppi’s lunchbox ready for the next day, cleared the heaps of laundry from my bed – I’m done for and the thought of starting anything for me is such an effort.
However, the other morning, for the first time in a while, I was able to get out on a bike ride and take some time to capture my thoughts. Self-reflection is something I really value. It helps me grow as a person and therefore as a mum. Taking a moment to reflect on what I’ve been learning recently – be it through what I’ve been reading, who’s been influencing me, what my behaviours have been telling me, what my children have been challenging me on – opens up the opportunity for me to do better. As a natural perfectionist, this is something I am obviously keen to do, but also something I feel is important.
In therapeutic terms self-reflection allows us to ground ourselves. When life is so busy and our heads are spinning and we feel like we’re constantly chasing our tails or running on a hamster wheel, it can help to take any chance we have to bring ourselves back down to Earth and figure out what the heck is going on!! Another trait of being a perfectionist is liking things to be under control. When life around is spiralling self-reflection brings a sense of stability.
So what did I learn? Well, that can be another blog! But I will leave you with a 10-minute challenge (because if we can’t dig out 10 minutes in our schedule it really is too full)…find a quiet place with no distractions (impossible? Maybe, but work at it and you’ll find it)…imagine your thoughts as a load of balloons with strings hitting the ceiling and bouncing around. One by one, try and grab those strings and pull them together. What is going on for you today? What are you learning about yourself right now? Being present in the moment is all the rage these days, but there is some truth in it. If we don’t capture the moments they slip away and as much as it pains me to say, they don’t come back. Our children will only take their first steps once, they will say that one-liner that has you in stitches, but if you’re too busy wondering what’s next, you’ll miss it. We live in the present, but so often we find ourselves living in the past or the future. Ask yourself this; “what would past xxx (fill in your name) and future xxx have me think right now in this present moment?” Be that person.