Addressing balance in the demanding world of motherhood
In order for our body systems to work in harmony with the healing power of nature one of the first things we need to address is balance.
Let’s break this down into a 24hour day, 8 hours rest, 8 hours work and 8 hours play... I’m a mumma with a demanding task list, let’s see how we can modify this utopian ideal to fit our reality.
Ideally we typically want 8 hours sleep... hmm I’m a mum of three I know how hard this is to achieve, I said goodbye to a full nights sleep about 6 years ago... so if you don’t rest enough your bodies stress response increases, it’s hard to heal, to loose weight and to produce the right amount of hormones when you are constantly in fight or flight mode - your adrenals go into overdrive. Ok so if sleep is broken what can we do?
Lets refer to this section of our day as 8 hrs rest now it doesn’t have to be in one block... so if you’re lucky enough to get 5 hours sleep... (hopefully for everyone’s sake you get more) you have 3 hours left of rest that you need. That’s right this cannot be a luxury or you’re heading for burnout - trust me I’ve been a regular at that station!
Ok so other ways to incorporate rest into your day... meditation... even moving meditation or mindfulness activities.
Having a shower, massage your body and send each part of yourself gratitude and love taking time to wash away any negativity. Shower meditations are a life saver for me when it’s hard to find alone time.
Hand washing dishes - yep a mundane part of my everyday that I’ve turned into a rhythmic meditation time to reflect. No longer scrubbing with frustration but taking time out for my mind body connection.
Taking advantage of breastfeeding breaks with your little ones, this is innately designed for us to slow down and connect with our children, a chance for oxytocin inducing eye contact, go slow mumma these days go by so fast.
Simply unwinding with a good book or a show you like, this is time to rest, use it wisely with something that fills your cup not just numbs your mind while you scroll on your phone.
Taking time to journal or write about your dreams and desires could also be a great way to end your day.
How much rest time do you get?
Is it filling you back up or numbing your mind to cope?
Next let’s look at 8 hours of work. Do you have a job outside of the 24 hour job of mothering? If so how much of the time you spend from leaving the home to getting back in the door are you grinding away? Can any of this be categorized as play?
Socializing with people who’s company lights you up is a great way to boost your play hours but if you are not enjoying the connections, really that’s just adding to your work load. Think about how much energy you send into your work hours - I know in this day and age so many of us are working to get by but then have no time left to enjoy what we’ve been working so hard to achieve.
Then we need to consider the other workload that feels never ending, the running of a home, with the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping, the taxi driving, the bathing and dressing the refereeing and so on... how much of these activities spark joy?
Can you get a cleaner in to take some of that load off? Can you get your food shopping delivered? Can you make these everyday moments more interactive and playful?
How can we enjoy these moments when we’re mumming it? I love sing a longs with the kids in the car, I enjoy cooking while listening to podcasts, let’s fill up our cups with more restful activists and more play in our days so that we can enjoy the time with our children. Then see bathing and dressing become a love infused play session that puts a spark back into both of your eyes.
What else counts as work hours? Anything that you have to do that doesn’t bring you joy or rest... so yes that includes interacting with people who drain your energy, so choose your circle wisely and don’t feel ashamed for declining invites to prioritise something more playful or restful.
Now for 8 hours of play!
What do you do for fun?
Do you have a hobby? How much do you get to do that? Can you schedule more time for that?
It seems daunting to me to include 8 hours of play, why is it so hard to give ourselves pleasure? We let our dutifulness to our work load and our struggle for more rest sacrifice our time in play. How does this fulfill us though?
Our 8 hours of play is more likely to be scattered into moment size pieces. How beautiful does it feel to look at our day with fragments of fun dispersed amongst our work and rest?
What parts of your day bring you joy? What can you do more of? How can you make the boring bits more playful?
Playing high vibing music can lift you into a playful state of mind, pop music on in the morning instead of the news. Listen to music from a time when you felt really happy and loved.
Laughter! Laughing with your kids, with your partner and your friends. Laughing increases your endorphins making you feel happier... relax enough to listen to your children’s stories - my kids alway make me laugh! Ask you partner about something funny from their day, call a friend to share a moment from your day that sparked a chuckle... if you struggle with a human connection for laughter, (don’t worry I get it sometimes we need a people break!) Watch a funny show that you enjoy or listen to a podcast from someone you find entertaining.
Spending time with your partner, make it playful - you’re both tired, you’re both in need of rest and more play. Different reasons still keeps it valid. So often we can fall into a competition of who needs more play, who needs more rest. I get it. You’re together for a reason, hopefully you enjoy each other’s company or at least there was a time when you made the time to focus on the other’s company. Take time to get back to that, to really see each other again. This doesn’t need to be a dinner out or time away from the home, although it’s nice, life gets busy and you don’t want to delay these moments. Invite your partner to help you cook, to watch this funny video you found online, to share an old in joke you found funny at one time long ago... open the door for fun.
So the 8-8-8 rule of balance doesn’t seem as daunting now, what do you think? Is it achievable or do you need to make some adjustments to make it work for you?