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Click Mom Takes Back the House to read the introduction to the series and all posted installments.
WELCOME TO WEEK ONE—GROUND ZERO!
If anything is cluttered, it’s my mind.
It started when I was pregnant with the twins, so I called it “pregnancy brain.” But, even after they were born, it just kept happening. I had a mind like a steel trap before and, now, I can barely remember how old I am, my phone number, and one time while I was leading worship at church, I even blanked on “Friend of God.” That may not mean anything to some of you, but let’s just say that that song has to be one of the most oversang tunes of the Praise & Worship Music movement…and I seriously couldn’t remember the lyrics.
So, now I’ve dubbed it “mommy brain.” It’s actually the God-given ability that happens to mothers which helps them to multitask better. In fact, its more like a superpower—just call me “SuperMom”— until something slips through the cracks or misfires.
Then, I discover I’ve put the cheerios in the fridge and the milk in the pantry. [Insert eye-roll emoticon here]
Time to take back my mind and decide what’s important.
To take back my mind, I’m developing realistic bedtime routines to help me unwind and good health habits to keep my mind clear and my body from feeling less sluggish throughout the day.
But first, C.O.F.F.E.E.
I never needed a morning cup o’joe before kids. I was more of a social coffee drinker. Now, I need it everyday. Sometimes twice. Does anyone know how to hook me up with an IV? Throughout the day, I drink a shot of Young Living’s NingXia Red to support my energy levels. You can read about my love affair with Young Living essential oils and their products here.
Go to sleep on time and fall asleep faster.
To save money, I got rid of cable TV and HULU+. I watch one or two episodes of an interesting show on Netflix or Amazon Prime (no pesky ads either way). I select the sleep timer on the TV so that if I fall asleep, the TV doesn’t light up the bedroom all night.
Books actually make me sleepier, though—positive reads or a good fiction novel. I’ll take ‘em anytime.
Dock the smart phone.
I have a Belkin dock for my iPhone that looks pretty sleek on my bedside table and allows me to see the time or notifications, if absolutely necessary, without having to actually pick up the phone to look at it—which could encourage more social media surfing and wasted time. Also, I turned off the social media notifications. I am NOT at the beck and call of social media. It is my tool, not my master!
Take my vitamins.
I am currently taking prenatal vitamins and have always been very good about remembering to do so. It’s after pregnancy and nursing when I forget. So, I keep a child-resisitant vitamin/supplement dispenser bedside that helps me remember when I’m docking my phone.
Set a positive alarm.
Instead of using a ringtone alert, I use a song. I usually end up rocking out to it while I start to get dressed. Here are a few of my favorites to wake up to:
- “Yahweh” / Israel Houghton & New Breed*
- “Best Day of My Life” / American Authors*
- “Happy” / Pharrell Williams*
- “Wanna Be Happy?” / Kirk Franklin*
- “The Best Is Yet to Come” / Michael Buble*
- “Love on Top” / Beyonce*
- “Alive” / Hillsong Young & Free*
- “Our God Reigns” / Israel Houghton & New Breed
(The tunes with an * can be streamed for free if you have Amazon Prime.)
Do a bedside brain dump.
I use a small notebook bedside to jot down any “To Dos” that are worrying me. It’s called a brain dump. I used it in college on the back of a test sheet before I read the first question. It allows your mind to just dump down everything that you’re thinking you need to do or think you’ll forget. I fall asleep better if I know that what I was worried about forgetting is written down in a consistent place.
I don’t have a lot of time to journal—and to be quite honest, it’s not on my list of priorities. Buying one that has the dates prewritten always gives me the hives because I know I can NEVER live up to that kind of pressure. I do have time to write a line or two after my brain dump for posterity’s sake. I’m starting to have a quiver-full of posterity over here. Here are the two journals by Chronicle Book Publishing that I keep bedside:
Drink more water.
I’m a Coca-Cola addict, I’ll admit. But, I found this great cup by OXO that is insulated, holds about 20 oz, and has a great silicone flexible straw that gets ALL the way down to the bottom.
When I told my OBGYN that I was starting to drink more water because of this cup, his snarky reply was “Does it light up, play music, give you money?” No…it was just easier. Besides, it really doesn’t matter why; it only matters that it works. Dehydration, even at its earliest stages, can decrease energy, inhibit focus, and wreak havoc on your body in general. I drink half my body weight in ounces every day. Or at least I try to. Which leads me to my next point…
Don’t drink too much fluid at bedtime.
Drinking too much fluids before bed, even water, leads to a full bladder that interrupts my REM!
Input something positive everyday.
If you’ve read anything else on my blog, you know I’m a HUGE Joyce Meyer fan. She has spoken into my life through her books, podcasts, and TV programs more times than I can count. Another favorite? Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts. These women have apps on iTunes that give me a daily shot of spiritual inspiration to kickstart my morning. I love bedside devotionals. I read one when I go to bed and one when I wake up.
Control the background noise.
On really hectic days, I’ve listen to calming stations on Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon Prime. Stuff like spanish/classical guitar, Miles Davis, Relaxation radio (existing genre on Pandora), Diana Krall, Pearl Django, etc. The EEs have started asking for the music so they can use their ballet moves they learn at dance class.
Make priorities and stick to them.
I made a list of 10 persons/activities in my life that are important to me and the lifestyle that I want to cultivate & nurture. As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t have time for the priorities I’ve listed, I don’t have time for anything NOT on that list. I’m learning to say “no” to the activities that suck the life force right out of me. If you’re curious about the beginning of my list of priorities that involve relationships, check out my post “My Kids Come Third: A Blessed Mom’s Priorities.” If you have trouble saying “no,” I highly suggest reading the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. Life-changing stuff.
Pray & read the Bible.
Even though this is on my list of priorities, it’s important enough to have it’s own bullet point. I have to remind myself to push the busy-ness aside to pray and read God’s Word. In the shower, washing dishes, folding laundry, with my children, when I’m lying in bed in the dark and can’t sleep, driving around town. I’m a SuperMom-Multitasker after all. Then, I set aside time when the kids are tucked away safe in bed to pray and meditate. I read the actual Bible. I can read all the third-party stuff, but nothing rings truer and is less tainted with opinion than the actual Word of God and hearing His Voice for myself. These are a few I bounce back & forth, including a children’s ONE-YEAR which I adore.
Schedule my priorities into my calendar/planner.
I take a look at my list of priorities every single month and make appointments that correlate to those priorities. For spiritual edification of my family, I schedule a Family Devotion Night. For my spouse, I schedule a time slot for a date and contact the babysitter. For my kids, I schedule a play date at the park. For myself, I schedule a pedicure, massage, or a few hours at the library. For my best friend, I schedule coffee or movie night. When it’s on the calendar, I have more respect for it. I’ve actually made time for it and it becomes sacred. I create a reminder in my calendar/planner (or on my smartphone) to schedule appointments for my priorities at the end of every month for the following month.
Download a coaching app.
To keep doing these things day after day, I need a reminder. There is actually a great app called Coach.Me that is available for iPhones (not sure about other smartphone platforms…they-who-shall-not-be-named). Coach.Me is less of a to-do app and more of a “habit-building” app. It’s social in nature—you can have friends who give you thumbs up for having goals and cheer you on when you complete goals or reach a streak.
When I had my son, I had such a hard time remembering to take off my makeup at night before I went to bed. Moms of newborns, ya feel me? I just put cleanse my face every night as one of my goals. The app reminded me every night at an appointed time. There were nights I still didn’t do it, but the point was that I had something nudging me to remember without a patronizing OVERDUE badge on the icon. I either did it or I didn’t, but it sure was gratifying to check it off and get a streak going!
Schedule my “thing.”
Once a month, I schedule some time for myself. I’ve already mentioned that above when I talked about scheduling my priorities. But also, in addition to that monthly appointment, I find something that helps me unwind after a long day once I get the kids to sleep. My vice is a good hot bath with all the trimmings–essential oils, epsom salt, baking soda, candles, music, book/kindle, facial mask, etc. It’s kinda MY “thing.” And it WORKS! It clears my mind and relieves my stress better than just about anything else. Find something like that for yourself. It may be yoga (or other fitness application), baking, crafts, sewing, knitting, etc. Just make sure you find your “thing” and do it often. Use Coach.Me, if necessary.
Any other suggestions for taking back your mind and making priorities? Share them in the Comments below.
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