This past week, I’ve been caring for my two children with the help of my in-laws while my kitchen is renovated in the city. Being in my third trimester, I’ve had to strategize the day accordingly in order to reserve my energy and still be able to parent effectively while my husband remains in the city to oversee the project and continue to work. So, how do I do it and continue to work as well? I always refer back to OPAL. Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go.
There are always going to be days where I seem to have way to much on my plate despite my best intentions to plan ahead. These are the days that include endless demands from my children, seemingly endless work emails and deadlines, and of course, making sure to take time to address my own needs as a mother and this time around, a pregnant woman.
So, this week, this is how I’ve utilized O.P.A.L. to set myself up for success:
- I reserve time in my schedule for my work obligations and other appointments.
- FOOD: Snacks and quick breakfast foods are placed in a bin where they know to go if they happen to wake up early or get hungry before meal times. At the beginning of each week, we talk about what these foods will include. Usually, it comes down to 3 choices of Lara Bars, dried berries, and roasted plantain chips.
- ACTIVITIES: In the morning, the kids have the choice of either drawing or reading while I blog, email and make work phone calls.
- NAP TIME: Scheduled for the same time each day
- QUALITY TIME: Every afternoon, I’ve set aside time to bond with my son with a quiet activity, and the morning, with my daughter.
This varies between WORK and KIDS.
However, the kids always come first so what I do to prepare them for my workday is I fill them in on how the day is planned. My son and daughter both are familiar with how my workday unfolds with regard to blogging and training clientele, so what we do, is we plan activities for them during that time. Perhaps one day it will be reading quietly, another working on an art project or spending time with their grandparents. This planning together helps them understand that their well-being is my first priority. Of course, if things come up, work takes a back seat, but at the same time, my children know that in order to live, I need to work. So, we work together always.
In order to make some of my most well thought-out plans work at least 50% of the time, I need to act upon them. This not only includes following through with work, but following through with my children. This means honoring promises made and also holding them accountable for their activities so that I can honor my work appointments. I find it important for my children to know that while they are my first priority, they need to learn patience as well. As a mother, it is always on my mind to jump to their every request, but taking these moments to pause are important for me as well to be able to follow through in teaching them to wait when the time calls for it.
*Sigh* This is my biggest challenge. I’m one of those people who sets out to conquer the world on a daily basis and expects just that. Letting go for me doesn’t mean letting go of my goals and aspirations for the day. It means trying my best and letting go of the result. Sometimes this means letting go of the fact that all of the items on my list my not be finished, but that the ones I do finish are done to the best of my ability. It may mean that I need to let go of my best intention to stay patient with my children and not carry the guilt of borderline losing it during a very packed day. Sometimes, it means that I just say, “My best today may be my worst tomorrow and that is ok.”