“Mom Guilt” is real
As I write this article, my two kids (ages 2.4 years and 9 months) are taking a nap. If you’re anyone like me, you’re probably reading this as you’re breastfeeding or as you’re carrying your sleepy baby. If you’re anything like my old self, you’re probably reading this in the wee hours as you’re making sure your phone or laptop’s volume is set to zero. And if you are, I advise you to bookmark this page and read it in the morning.
GET. SOME. SLEEP.
Lately, I feel like my life has revolved around that lovely five-letter word: SLEEP. It’s when the kids are sleeping that I get most of my work done. I’m lucky enough to have help, so someone can look after them if I ever have to work while they’re awake. But it’s hard! When they’re asleep, I can relax knowing that I’m not “wasting time I could be spending with them.” When I’m working while I know they’re awake in the next room, I can’t help it—“Mom Guilt” sets in.
It took a while for me to learn that Mom Guilt is real and that I shouldn’t let it dictate my life. But it’s really difficult to change our mindset that we’re the worst if we’re not doing every little thing for our babies, isn’t it? The compromise I found was to master time management. If I made the most out of my free time, then I’d get more stuff done faster. And that leaves me with more time to play with my kids.
I’d like share two time-management methods I’ve learned that really help me get by.
Remember when we were in school and our days were planned out according to what subjects we were discussing? If it’s Math time, we had all our textbooks, notebooks, calculators and rulers out, and we were focused on nothing but numbers. Then the bell rings and we pack away all that stuff and it’s time to focus on English—so we bring out our corresponding readings and notes for the subject. Once you graduate and get thrown into the "Real World," there aren’t any teachers or bells ringing every hour or so. It can get even messier if you’re a freelancer like me with no boss to tell them what to do! You’re in charge of your time and it’s a method called Time Blocking that can help.
I use this technique as a way to handle my weekly schedule and adjust accordingly. For example, the earlier I wake up, the better because my time for self-care and family is before 9AM. This is when I work out, read a chapter of my book, play with the kids, etc. When 9AM hits, I have to be at my desk checking on my projects.
Click here to learn more about Time Blocking.
The Pomodoro Technique
Big projects can seem so daunting that you don’t even want to start. The brilliant thing about the Pomodoro Technique is that it breaks down your tasks in 25-minute increments so you stay focused! After 25 minutes, you get a 5-minute break to drink water, go to the toilet, stretch your legs, answer a text message from your friend, etc. Personally, after I finish three Pomodoros (or three 25-minute blocks), I give myself a 15-minute break. This helps me tick off most things on my to-do list!
I also use an app called TIDE that has great sounds that mimic cafés or libraries to help you focus. Click here to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique.
Another tip is to keep your to-do list short; maybe five items at most. If you can spread out your projects throughout the week, you won’t feel like you’re not doing anything because it’s already on your calendar and the time simply has to come for you to even think about it.
It’s always best to have 100% of our undivided attention for the kids. As I hear my kids laughing in the next room, I know I’m done writing this article and I won’t even have to think about it for the rest of the day. I have one more task to finish, but I’ve blocked my next few hours to play with my boys until their bedtime.
I’ll set the timer for that once the boys are asleep. The more focused I am, the faster I’ll finish and the earlier I’ll get to sleep myself. Say it with me, moms and dads: SLEEP!
I hope this helped in any way. Have a productive and peaceful night!
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