Being a stay-at-home parent with an infant, especially one that is mobile, often means that taking care of yourself gets pushed to the back burner. I know, for me, that is definitely the case. Roly Poly is almost a year old and is still waking up twice at night to breastfeed, so I try to get as much sleep and relaxation as I can. I also seem to find little motivation during the day to take care of things like clean the kitchen, throw in a load or two of laundry. Not only that but I spend a majority of my days feeling like I just need to get to the end of it.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve definitely been feeling very, as I call it, “blah”. No real motivation to do anything, not feeling particularly happy but not really feeling sad or upset either. Just existing. And I hate it. I hate waking up feeling like I’m just biding my time until I can go to bed again. I want to really enjoy playing with my daughter, I want to feel like I’ve accomplished something other than just existing.
Since I decided to stay home once we had Roly Poly it has been a struggle trying to find ways to motivate myself to get up and do things during the day. Before, I was working two jobs, or going to school full time and working. There was never a shortage in things that needed to be done each day or to be prepared for the next day. So when I had time to just sit down and relax I could really enjoy having nothing to do for a couple hours. Now, it seems that’s all I have – nothing to do.
So in trying to make my days more productive and to get out of my perpetual state of “blah”, I have been accumulating a list of things that help me get up in the morning and reach the end of the day feeling accomplished.
1. Wake up before the baby
I’ve found in recent months that when I get up before Roly Poly, even just 15 minutes before she does, I am able to take some time to just wake up. I don’t know about you but I don’t just roll out of bed ready for the day – especially when I’m still getting woken up several times a night for breastfeeding. It takes me a little time to get my bearings and prepare myself mentally and physically for the day ahead.
2. Eat a good breakfast
There are so many mornings that I am just too tired to put in the effort. I’ve already gotten my daughter out of bed, changed her diaper, put her on the potty, made and given her breakfast, I’ve already run out of energy.
And it certainly doesn’t help that Roly Poly wants me to hold her 26 hours a day. But, just like the last two points, when I take the time to put together a healthy breakfast of something more than cereal my day gets off to a much better start.
3. Do some kind of physical activity
Whether it be a short yoga sequence, some simple stretching, or a full on workout, I always feel better when I do some kind of physical activity each day. As a morning person, I like to be productive earlier in the day so sometimes this happens along with #1, and I do it before Roly Poly is out of bed for the day. But for the most part it doesn’t. I’m not the best at doing this one – it honestly rarely happens, but when it does those endorphins make me feel so much better about life. For the most part my physical activity is a yoga sequence and some stretching before bed. It helps so much to stretch out my sore muscles after all the physical stuff I end up doing with my little one. (And if you are one of those parents of infants, I don’t care what Pinterest says, you don’t need to go out of your way to work out. Just playing with your baby – picking up, putting down, getting on the floor, chasing them, them chasing you – gives you an incredible workout. Just look at those arms!)
4. Read the scriptures
Now I have to admit, I am absolutely terrible at remembering to do this. I am also prone to thinking about it but putting it off, telling myself that I’ll do it later or before I go to bed (I never do). When I do make the time to read my scriptures my day is infinitely better. I seem to have more energy, I am more excited about leaving the apartment and finding something fun for Roly Poly to do, and I have so much more patience. Making the time to include my Heavenly Father in my day always make it so much better.
This is another one that I have a really hard time keeping up with. I’ve never really made it a point to make this a part of my daily routine. But in an effort to be a better mom and wife I’ve been trying really hard to incorporate this. When I take just a couple minutes to thank God for the things I have I know that my day is going to be great.
Doing these 5 things has had an incredible effect on my life. When I do them each day I feel much happier, I enjoy playing with my daughter even more, and I am more motivated to tidy up (organize, clean, what have you) our apartment. It’s amazing the difference it makes adding just a few extra things each day – that can take as little or as much time as you want them to. My suggestion is that you give it a try. Do each of these things every day for a week and see how it affects your overall mood and outlook on life. I’m not perfect but when I do them I can see the difference immediately.