"Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective - doing less - is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest." -Tim Ferriss
There have been days when I feel very unproductive. Days when I couldn't seem to get anything done in any area of my life as a SAHM. Housework wasn't getting done as it should. The kids seemed to be a little off because they were bored and arguing with each other more than usual. I wasn't sleeping well. I wasn't working out or eating well. And of course, there wasn't time to write to you! Everything was backed-up and on hold. (And I mean everything.)
Then I started thinking, where am I going wrong? Since I'm sort of the Cruise Director around here, there might be something I'm doing to keep me in a rut. Here's my list. (Seriously, this was written at 4:17 am on the tail end of a very unproductive streak in my life. I'm talking bad day.)
Yuck. I know. So it's during rough spots like this that I tended to fall back into the old habit of not doing what's needed. (I'm very good at spinning my wheels.) If I were to do a little time diary, I'd quickly figure out that I'm wasting a lot of time doing a whole lot of nothing that matters. So, what's a SAHM to do?
1. Get real about what you're struggling with. Like my little confession list up there, I just got down on paper what I was and what I wasn't doing with my time, and realized that putting off the basic stuff like playing with the kids, getting enough sleep, and eating well affected my entire day (and week).
2. Talk to other SAHMs. On one particularly rough day, I called my friend Brooke and asked her what to do. She was so cool about it, and she said, "Realize that today isn't going to be a perfect day. You've got to change things up and throw the schedule out the window. Get all the kids ready and take them to the park. They've got to blow off some steam." And I did. I didn't think about it; I just got everyone diaper changes/potty breaks and left. (It ended up being a LOT of fun for all of us and totally saved the day.) Thanks again, Brooke!
3. Do something needed, beginning with the kids. So the next day, I began the day with snuggle time on the couch with a good book with the kids. (Remember The Softer Side of SAHMing?) They are why I am home, and I know when I get in a rut (and they're crazier than usual) it's because I'm not just sitting down and playing with them. So, I just started with one simple thing that I hadn't been doing before that would make a big difference now. In my case, it's spending time with the kids first, before dishes and errands and getting people ready to go on a Cub Scout Camping Trip.
4. Get into being home. I found ways to bring fun and passion into being a SAHM. I sang along with Adele while I loaded the dishwasher with the kids. I spent the 2:00 lull in the day chasing kids and tickling them instead of downing a cup of coffee. I made up a treasure hunt for the kids during nap time instead of yelling at Hulu. These little things helped make life at home easier and a little more productive.
Well, there you have it. What do you do to correct-course when you begin to get in an unproductive rut? (I know other SAHMs have been through it, too!) Share your wisdom in the comments below! And if you know of another SAHM that is going through the same thing right now, pass this along to her!
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