This is how my brain functions on a daily basis:
By late afternoon/evening I’m planning the next day. Not by specific hours and minutes, because we all know life happens (especially with kids), but by chunks of time. Expect the unexpected.
Here’s how I visualize a typical day:
Morning: Rise and shine to the sweet sound of children. As you cringe to the reality of having to peel yourself out of bed, convince yourself it’s going to be a great day. Give them breakfast. What’s on the menu? Can I prepare it the night before (aka healthy pancakes)? I smile at the thought of a fresh hot coffee in hand… which after microwaving it 5 times, then left unattended, it inevitably becomes stale iced coffee. Mmmmm.
After breakfast: Play. What’s the weather supposed to be like [us New Englanders have to ask ourselves that daily]? Outing- friendly? Where should we go? Make sure to be back for lunch around noon. If crappy weather, which indoor activity can I excite my toddlers with? Play dough? Arts + crafts? Peppa Pig figures? Dress up? How can I get creative with what’s laying around?
Lunch: What’s for lunch? Do I have the groceries I need? (often no, even though I’m at the market daily). What can I make with what we have?
Naps: PLEASE. Please. Please. Dual naps. This dreamy scenario is fading fast in my household. If one doesn’t nap, what can I do with her to maintain my sanity, and hers? Workout while she plays activity on iPad, or watch an educational youtube video? Do an activity where I’m super physical and can run around with her? A fun craft she can dive into while I dive into work + emails? Win-win. Dishes, laundry, dust? Booooo.
Dinner: What’s for dinner? What’s in the refrigerator that I can muddle together? How can I hide the spinach in their meal tonight?
Ultimately, I’m flying by the seat of my pants. Hoping for a moment when they’re eating lunch to throw my yoga mat onto the floor and get in a 10-minute grind, or jump onto the computer and check/reply to emails.
By seeing my day as whole, acknowledging any major activities or appointments, then breaking it down into segments (and having plan A and plan B) really helps to give me a level of mental balance when I wake up that next morning. I already feel prepared to face the day.
Reality check: those days when one wakes up with a fever, or one is having a “meltdown” kind of day, or when they won’t nap, it’s easy to feel completely on tilt. Defeated. Overwhelmed (to say the least). Many days turn into chaos, and I have moments where I want to scream or hide in the closet and have a moment of silence away from the clatter. Refocus. Readjust. Take the reins. You’re still in control of your day.
Don’t expect too much out of yourself or take your plans too seriously. Just have a general idea of how you’d like your day to go, and try to stay structured in making that happen. Whatever happens outside of that plan – so be it. But the day is still yours. You own it. You’re really the only one who knows what your family needs, and what you need. Follow your intuition and what works for your lifestyle.
Once the kids go to bed it’s my time to focus on work and plead with my body to find energy. Sometimes the creative part of my brain is lost beyond reach and I have to opt for a veg-out sesh. More often than not, I take that opportunity to dive deep into my bed sheets… another happy place. Whatever works for you – do it. It’s all about balance, in every facet of life.