Print Friendly and PDF

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives—Annie Dillard


Oh, I wish I had more time.

But, I don’t have enough time.

I would have done this if there were 28 hours in my day

I have both said and heard these words (or a version of them) many times in my life. Most of us would gladly receive more hours in our days. Yet, the reality is that no matter who you are, no matter where you live or what you do, this number is a constant. We all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and 8,760 hours in a year.

Given this constraint, the real question is what can we do in these limited number of hours to make the most of our life—especially as mothers.

Before I had kids, my life felt pretty full with everything that filled up my day. I often wondered, how will I fit kids in my life without really giving up my life—my time for myself and for others?

FEATURED VIDEO

Then, when I was pregnant with my second one, I wondered again how will I fit another child into an already full life?

And yet as I look back at the last three years, I feel incredibly grateful to say that yes being a parent and having a rich, soulful life is absolutely possible.

As a mother, I exercise more, eat more home-cooked meals and feel more fulfilled professionally than I have in the past. Yes, this also means I have attended fewer events and yoga classes. I have gotten better at saying no to or leaving early from social engagements. I know a little less about what’s happening in the world and my house is messier than ever.

You get the point. It’s about making intentional choices based on what’s important to me at any given stage of my life.

I think about these issues a lot, as a mom of two young children who has previously worked as a mindfulness coach.

Here are some of my guiding principles to make the most of my time in my day—

I clarify my values

This is my core foundation of being very clear on what is important to me. Over time I have learnt that some of my values will always remain the same but there are many that change and that is okay.

I manage my energy

When I think of tasks to be done, I like to think of what truly fuels me, what’s energy neutral and what’s depleting. Then I like to think of the right balance between the three at any given point. Are there activities that really don’t need to happen or perhaps not as frequently? For example, I love to cook but I don’t like doing the dishes so I choose to do more of the former and less of the latter to ensure I am spending my time to optimize my energy.

I prioritize compassion

Once I can do the above two effectively, it’s time for saying yes and saying no with awareness. It means saying yes to reading a book or a writing in a thank you card at the end of the day but saying no to doing dishes or watching TV. It means leaving early (with kindness & gratitude) from a social engagement so I can take an afternoon nap.

I assess in big chunks of time

I also like to look at my life in chunks of weeks or more. The way I spend every hour of my time on a Sunday or Monday may not align fully with my values but when I look at it in large chunks, things seem much, much better.

I find small nuggets of time

And despite the above, the magic often happens in small chunks – 10 mins of exercise or meditation, 5 extra minutes of cuddles before bedtime, blog ideation in the car and writing in three sessions over a week. If I expect to have hours and hours to do what is energizing, I am in bad luck.

I buy time

Yes, there is the obvious one of outsourcing what I don’t like and can afford to pay someone but there are also more creative ways of buying time. Recently, we started a swap with a dear friend where we watch the kids one Sunday morning and they watch the kids another Sunday. It’s a lovely adventure for the kids and we adults get a break to spend time doing non kiddo things.

I avoid overwhelm

There are times when I feel like I am chronically time-starved. To me, that’s a reminder that I either need to lower the quality or the quantity of the tasks that I have signed up for. Maybe we can do a simple meal one night or not make plans for a Sunday afternoon hike. Perhaps I need to take a day off from work. (Yes, please!)

I watch my words

Finally, it’s about how I talk to myself and to others about my life.

If I keep saying oh no, I am so busy, I have no time, this will be my reality of exhaustion and overwhelm. If I tell myself, I am spending my time in ways that matter and my life is full and abundant with beautiful and challenging experiences, I feel better!

I’d love to have an extra hour in my day but until then I am grateful for these rich, luxurious, sometimes crazy, chaotic yet incredibly meaningful 24 hours in my day.

Join Motherly

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Thanks for subscribing!

Check your email for a confirmation message.

Is there anything cuter than adorable hairstyles on kids? We love when little ones look put together and a chic hairstyle is the icing on a cake.Mamas have upped their game and are delivering trendy, inspo-worthy looks beyond basic ponytails.

We get that creating no-fuss hairstyles (preferably ones that don't require toddlers sitting more than 10 minutes) isn't exactly stress-free and shelling out cash for a stylist isn't something we'll spring for. But we're all about easy styles that we can practically create with our eyes closed. Say hello to getting out the door faster! To be fair, there are a few here that are a tad complicated, so you'll want to screenshot them and share with your mama friend who is a master stylist.

FEATURED VIDEO

To help you nail the best kid hairstyles, we've compiled a list of 41 cool hairstyles for little ones from Instagram:

Pigtail buns

This classic style never gets old. If you're concerned about it being too light, loosen it up a bit by adding volume at the roots.






Criss-cross braids

Add a touch of style to a traditional braid.






Top knot

When rushing and don't have time, just throw up their hair in a top bun.



Side braided ponytail

After a few hours on the playground, braids tend to end up on the side of their heads, so why not create it into a style?



Cornrows

We're not going to front—cornrows are tough to create. But if you can get it, it's a style that will last weeks. Need help? Check out these YouTube videos.






Waterfall braids

To add a little more pizazz to a regular braid, braid hair on the side and loosen it a bit at the root.




Triple buns

A bun is probably the easier hairstyle a mama can create, but throw in a dash of style by adding two more bun. Create the look by securing buns from the top of the head to the nape of the neck.








Bun + bows

Add a bow for instant fun.









Lifestyle

When the Coronavirus (COVID-19) started making headlines in early 2020 the expert advice was simple: Don't panic.

This week the CDC warned that the outbreaks of the virus will very likely happen in the United States, but it's important to know that officials still don't want parents to panic, they just want us to be prepared.

"We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad," the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, told reporters during a news briefing Tuesday. "It's not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen," Dr. Messonnier said.

FEATURED VIDEO

It is totally normal to read this and be concerned mama, but there are several things we need to unpack before we let our anxiety overwhelm us.

Here is what you need to know about the Coronavirus response in the United States:

Top doctors are preparing for this

As the virus has spread rapidly overseas America's top doctors have been monitoring the situation. In not quite two months' time 80,000 people have contracted the illness and fewer than 3,000 of those people have died.

In the U.S., 53 cases have been confirmed (most of those were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan or people who caught the virus while traveling overseas). There have only been two cases of person-to-person transmission on U.S. soil, according to the CDC.

The CDC has more than 1,000 professionals working on the response to this virus, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, epidemiologists, veterinarians, laboratorians, communicators, data scientists and modelers.

"CDC staff members are working with state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments and other public health authorities to assist with case identification, contact tracing, evaluation of persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19, and medical management of cases; and with academic partners to understand the virulence, risk for transmission, and other characteristics of this novel virus," the agency states on its website.

And while there have been delays in implementing Coronavirus testing measures in the Unites States, experts are working to resolve issues and make testing more efficient. As the New York Times reports, the health and human services secretary "told a Senate panel that federal and local health departments will need as many as 300 million masks for health care workers."

In other words, the experts in the United States are preparing to fight this virus and they want the American public to be prepared, too.

This could impact school, work and daily life

That's why the CDC is telling us to get ready, not to cause panic or anxiety but just to set the expectation that life could be disrupted by this virus. "Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, communities, schools and everyday people to begin preparing," Dr. Messonnier said Tuesday.

She says schools may have to close or otherwise adjust to an outbreak and students may have to start doing tele-schooling online. She also wants businesses to start preparing to hold meetings remotely rather than in-person and to encourage telecommuting during any outbreak. Community activities like sports and church may also have to be canceled or modified.

As the New York Times reports, "Scientists don't know who is most susceptible to the new coronavirus. Children seem less likely to be infected. Middle-aged men seem to have been disproportionately infected, according to some studies."

This could be really disruptive for families

It is true that the scenario Messonnnier is outlining could be really disruptive for families. No one wants this to happen, but if it does have to happen it's a good thing we are getting the heads up.

Here are some steps you can take to prepare for possible interruptions to daily life:

  • Talk to your workplace about any plans it has for operations during an outbreak.
  • Speak to your child's school or childcare provider about how it plans to operate in a worst-case scenario.
  • Ask your doctor for an extra prescription of any medications your family needs, just in case an outbreak makes going to the pharmacy not possible.

Here's how to protect yourself + your family from the Coronavirus

The CDC does not recommend that we all go buy face masks. Face masks are only recommended for people "who show symptoms of COVID-19...[and] health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)."

Instead, here's what we can all do to avoid the illness, according to the CDC:

  • "Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe."

We know this is serious and kind of scary, mama. But please, don't panic. Know that pandemic experts are working to keep your family safe. According to the CDC, the "National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their collaborators are working on development of candidate vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19."

On Tuesday, President Trump said the coronavirus is "very well under control in our country" and "is going to go away." The health experts who work for the government are doing everything they can to prove the President right, but they do want the public to be ready in case it doesn't go away as fast as he (and all of us) would like.

News

For nine months, your mother was all you knew.

Before I held you in my arms, your mother held you and never let you go.

Before I sacrificed time for you, your mother gladly sacrificed her body.

Before I consoled you when you were upset, your mother consoled you with just the beat of her heart.

Before I comforted you when you were restless, your mother comforted you with just the sound of her voice.

Before I could do anything for you, your mother gave everything for you.

Your mother is the reason I hold you today.

Before you were even a twinkle in my eye, you were in your mother's heart. Your life, your safety, and your very existence depended on her. Something I'll never be able to repay.

FEATURED VIDEO

It will take a long time for you to understand the weight, the depth and the immeasurability of your mother's love for you. But someday, when you have children of your own, you will understand what I now see so clearly.

So, I'll hold you tight. But I'll hold your mother tighter because my love for you grows the more I understand the measure of a mother's love.


This essay was previously published here.
Life

What would bath time be without rubber duckies? Probably not as much fun—but also a whole lot cleaner, according to a study published in the journal Biofilms and Microbiomes.

That's because it turns out those squeaky toys are far from squeaky clean thanks to “potentially pathogenic bacteria" in four out of the five bath toys examined by researchers.

For the study, Swiss and American researchers looked at the biofilm communities inside 19 bath toys collected from random households as well as six toys used in controlled clean or dirty water conditions. They found that all of the examined bath toys “had dense and slimy biofilm" on their inner surfaces. What's more, 56% of the real-use toys and all of the dirty-water toys had fungi build up. ?

FEATURED VIDEO

Although the researchers note exposure to bacteria and fungi may have some benefits, the strong existence of grime in bath toys is still concerning. They note, “Squeezing water with chunks of biofilm into their faces (which is not unexpected behavior for these users) may result in eye, ear, wound or even gastro-intestinal tract infections."

Besides tossing all your bath toys, what can parents do?

The researchers say more experimental work is needed. But, for starters, it doesn't hurt to remove water from the toys after usage or give them a good, regular dunk in boiling water. The researchers also said they would like to see more regulations on the polymeric materials used for many bath toys.

There is, however, one simple solution—it just comes at the cost of rubber duckie's squeak. “In fact, the easiest way to prevent children from being exposed to bath toy biofilms is to simply close the hole," the researchers say of toys like this water-tight duck. “But where is the fun in that?"

[A version of this post originally appeared April 13, 2018. It has been updated.]

News
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.