Mental Health 12 months ago How I Do It All
When I took a recent poll on Instagram for blog topics, a very frequent question popped up which was “How do you do it all?”
Managing business, motherhood, being a good wife, a good friend and good neighbor and a good citizen all at once and you guys want to know…
How does she do it?
The quick answer: I don’t.
The last few years has been a true struggle for us and at the end of 2022, I snapped. The book, the baby, the brand… in the final weeks of the year I hit a rock bottom unlike anything I’d ever experienced. The burn out finally took its toll as my heart started having major episodes of SVT to the point of my doctor saying I need an ablation, to my period lasting a full 80+ days (yes, you’re reading that right). The mental stress of the past year (or two, or three) was finally taking its toll on my physical health and it was a true wake up call for me.
So, when you guys asked me “How I did it” the answer is that I can get everything done at the risk of sleep, stress and sanity. The true answer is that I signed up for far too much in 2022. I didn’t do it intentionally, but we ended up doing three major life things in the same year.
So what happens now?
I took a full two weeks of doing absolutely nothing to reset. To be honest, I couldn’t move. I’d never felt more exhausted in my life. Thankfully, my supportive husband picked up the slack. Thankfully, our businesses can run themselves for short amounts of time. Thankfully, I have a wonderful support system of friends, family and childcare that stepped up to the table.
Lesson #1: Know What You Need Before Everyone Else
Before I can be a good mother, a good wife and a good partner in business, I absolutely must make sure that I am taken care of first. For me, that requires a few things:
1. A full 8 hours of sleep. That means having a partner who will support me in this (thank you Grant). That also means setting myself up with other types of support. We now have our nanny arrive at 7am instead of 8am so that I can get an extra hour in the morning to start my day instead of jumping out of bed like a mother chicken with my head cut off with two screaming kids. It’s a major adjustment that we’ve had to make around the house but it’s also had the most major reward because I can function fully.
2. Working out only when I want to. During my time off, I realized that I had a workout scheduled 6 days a week which I thought I needed and wanted. In reality, it was starting to weigh down my schedule and become something that I really resented. Having some space to realize this was important and now I only schedule my workout a day before when I’m feeling up for it.
Lesson #2: Everything You See Affects Your Insides
A good friend recently described this best: She explained how every single thing she consumes (TV, Media, a view of your backyard) will drain into your gut, informing it as to what is happening in the outside world. Think of an IV on a slow drip in the back of your brain. Everything you are seeing with your eyes is the fluid that’s being dripped throughout your body. Be careful about what you choose to consume as it will 100% affect your normal balance and insides which will affect your health, your mood, and your overall wellbeing.
I personally steer clear of any horror films, articles that feel triggering to me emotionally, people that I don’t like seeing on IG because it makes me feel bad about myself. Anything that stirs up a negative feeling and triggers my “fight or flight” hormone is getting removed.
Outside of these lessons learned, there are a few things that I do on a more logistic level that I thought would be helpful for those of you who are feeling like you are in the pressure cooker:
1. Take something off your calendar
At the beginning of each week, I look at my calendar and I cancel three things (depending on how full it is). I always do this and I almost always feel better for it. Whether it’s a dinner plan, an unnecessary meeting, a workout I’m dreading, or something like getting your car serviced, I promise there’s something that can go.
2. Buy Gifts in Bulk
For some reason, birthdays and presents are always a last minute added stress that pains me. I feel like such a jerk when I don’t have a gift wrapped perfectly for a close friend or kid’s birthday. So, I buy in bulk and pre-wrap them in my garage. I have about 4 kid’s gifts and 5 candles that are wrapped so that if I need one in a pinch, they are there. I can’t tell you the peace of mind this gives me. I still try to get everyone something original, but there are here in case of an emergency and we’ve used them more times that I’d like to admit.
3. Delegate Like A CEO
I’m really bad at this because I fully believe that I can do everything myself and the only way for it to get done the “right” way is when I do it myself (argh). But, you are the CEO of your own life and CEO’s of major companies don’t refill the toilet paper or stress out over the pantry organization. Even though I still agonize over my pantry once a month, I’ve learned to ask for help from others.
Whether it’s asking your partner to be in charge of certain household tasks or enlisting in the help of a caregiver, I’ve learned to delegate more things around the house to others so that I can focus more on running our businesses. If you are a full-time mom, enlist in the help from your kids, family members to make meals, fellow mom’s at school, grocery store attendants (help with bags), honestly anything and anyone who can help ease some of the weight off your shoulders. Our class mom does a great job at texting us reminders about birthdays and special days at school. You can ask for help from anyone! Planning a dinner with friends? Ask one of them to make the reservations. Cut corners anywhere you can.
I currently run two full-time businesses and have two children (a toddler and an infant) and managing these things, plus having time with friends and Grant can be very challenging. We currently have two nanny’s who rotate. Nanny #1 comes from 7am – 3pm and Nanny #2 comes from 11am – 7pm and spends the night 1-2 times per week. This allows Grant and I the space we need to both work full-time and also feel present when we are home with our kids. We both work from home and to say that we’re always with our kids is an understatement. In fact, June just ran into the room playing and screaming with 2 of her friends who are over for a playdate while I sit here and write this post. Having an extra set of hands, sometimes two, in our home has been pivotal for both of us and we are so thankful and lucky to have this help so that we can work and rest well. This is what works for us right now. It might not be right for everyone but it’s been really great for us right now.
4. Say “No”
Just say “no” more times than you say “yes” and watch what happens. You know the saying, “If you want something done give it to the busiest person you know.” Don’t be that person! Sometimes I look up and question why on Earth I’m spending time labeling light switches in the store or replacing batteries
5. Value Yourself
If you were to give yourself an hourly rate, what would that be? I know what I’m worth by the hour so when I find myself doing a task such as changing the batteries out of the remote control, I ask myself if it’s worth my hourly rate? Is there something else I could be doing that is a better use of my time, energy and effort? Probably. Again, delegate the tasks that aren’t worth your rate.
6. Dates At Home
As a parent, it can be really hard to schedule dinner with friends or your spouse and leave the kids behind. I totally get it. Try planning a dinner at your house after the kids go down and invite friends over. Crank up that noise machine and pour the wine!
7. ORGANIZE EVERYTHING
If you come to my house and ask for a battery, there’s a bin for that. Need a phone charger? There’s a bin for that too. Drugs, plugs, pajamas, winter attire and extra toothpaste, I literally have a place for everything in my house. This took me a while to fully organize, but it now saves me an incredible amount of time and headaches on busier days when I need something. Do one area of your house at a time. I’d suggest starting in the kitchen!
I also keep “back stock” of things like toothpaste, razors and shampoo. Just purchase double each time you are in need and it will save you time on the flip side.
Also, organize your calendar. Everything we do goes on the calendar. From PO Box runs to dry cleaning pick-ups. I also set reminders for birthdays a week in advance so I remember to get a gift or make plans. If it’s something that is important to you, it must go on the calendar!
8. Time With Kids
Save the best for last. If you do not carve out quality time with your kids each and every day the entire ship will sink. The kids will feel insecure and clingy. You will feel guilty and like a bad mom. I have a new house rule that I play with my kids for at least one hour a day. Whether it’s play-dough, dollhouses, or rolling on the floor with Hugh, we carve it out because it’s food for the soul for everyone. This goes on my calendar just like everything else!
Phew! That was a lot. But it’s genuinely everything that I can think of that I do. What about you guys? Any tips to share? I’d love to hear how you manage your busy lives!