Take a moment to think about mothers. All they do for their babies, toddlers, kids, and adult children. It's not about the time it takes. It's about the emotion behind it; how much moms truly think about and care for their offspring. It's all-encompassing, overwhelming, and if you're anything like me, you try not to think about the immensity of your love too much.
Being a mother is the real magic in this world.
And it's easy to get lost in that magic. But to be the best mother to your children, you need to feed your own heart. Whether that's through a creative outlet, work, or a belly laugh with friends, you are important too.
So how do you find the time? Is it even possible to find a day where every second isn't taken up? I caught up with Michelle Brandriss, founder of Name Bubbles, the world's best waterproof name label company for her tips on how to capture that precious time for yourself.
1. Get ahead before bed
Michelle: Pick out outfits, make lunch, and pack bags before bed. Not just for the kid's but for yourself, too! It saves the stress of feeling rushed in the morning and can allow you to catch some extra time for breakfast and a cup of coffee to yourself. It can be the difference in making sure your family starts the day off on the right foot. A good night time routine makes for a happy start of the day. Just imagine those few glorious minutes to yourself before the rest of your family wakes up.
2. Clear clutter with containers
Michelle: Let's face it, it can sometimes feel impossible to be a minimalist and have kids. The life-changing magic of throwing everything out is not realistic for all of us (as good as it does sound). Instead, try clearing clutter with containers, for anything and everything in plain view. Having a dedicated place or home for items forces everyone to clean up after themselves and means less clutter and cleaning to do! Labeling the outside of those containers isn't a bad idea either.
3. Make meal planning matter
Michelle: Preparing and planning meals every Sunday for the week saves the daily scramble to figure out what's for dinner each night (and eliminates the temptation for take-out). Even if you don't have time on Sundays to prep, you can cook the meals throughout the week and organize them into labeled bins and containers in the refrigerator. That makes everything easy and accessible. And, hot tip, cook a little extra each day for office lunches or a scheduled left-over night.
4. Take command
Michelle: Create a family command center to tame the chaos. Having a way to handle and display all the important information such as schedules, mail, bills, and school flyers in one place will help keep everything running smoothly and everyone will be on the same page.
5. Notes, notes, and more notes
Michelle: 1. Write it down 2. Write it down 3. Write it down!
Planners, lists, and calendars will help you tame that endless loop in your brain that asks, “did I forget something?!", and it'll help you get it all done. You can delegate and schedule activities, including scheduling out some time for YOU.
Michelle knows the value of a mother who has truly filled her cup. Here are her answers to our classic Motherly questions.
The key to making sure my mornings run smoothly is...
Michelle: It's all about prepping the night before. This was a big lesson I learned during my son's daycare years, and it hasn't stopped since then. My son is now ten, and we still have a night-time routine before going up to bed. Is the homework signed and in his folder, does he have his agenda, are there any after school activities? If we forget to pack-up his backpack, have his glasses and mittens in position, we are going to have a mad scramble for the bus. Trust me…as kids get older, it's just different, not easier.
The superpower I discovered as a mom is...
Michelle: When my son was in first grade, a classroom mom had stayed up until 4:00 am making a craft project for all the kids. She also had two very young children who needed to be cared for, dressed, and out the door in the morning. While I was impressed, I knew that it wasn't me and never would be.
So, the superpower I've discovered is one of self-realization…I am not perfect, I need sleep, I laugh at inappropriate times, I try to be flexible, learn from my mistakes, and above all else, my capacity to love another human being is infinite.
The life hack or tip that has changed my life...
Michelle: I wish I had an amazing seed of knowledge to pass along to other women, but most of my life hacks are time-saving tips like dry shampoo, big sweaters, and boots (that way you don't have to worry about matching socks). If you can, and this is a new one for me, learn to love your natural hair color.
Oh, and laugh as much and as often as you can.
The quote that inspires me on the hard days is...
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."- Mother Teresa
Michelle: As I've grown, this quote has really taken hold. Maybe I have a deeper understanding of compassion and how my words and actions impact others. I've begun viewing the chores and un-fun work I do at home (dishes) and at the office (insurance) differently. If I have the mindset that work is not only for myself but for the people I care about and the ones I love, everything becomes a lot easier.