My husband and I have two kids - four and a half, and two and a half. Before we had kids I used to work as a senior project manager at the marketing department of a Private Bank, where I was responsible for number of different international markets. It was an interesting job that gave me the opportunity to travel, work on interesting projects and meet new people.
Once our son was born, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to return back to work. I was 34, and at that point there was nothing more important to me than simply be a mom and be there for our kid(s) every step of the way. So my husband and I decided that I will not go back to work. Having said that, anyone that knows me well enough, knows that I am very ambitious and have certain goals that I want to achieve in my life. One of this goals was to start my own business as event planner......with the encouragement and unlimited support of my husband I decided that now is the time to do this!
My son was still my priority, but working on realizing this goal of mine gave me a great balance between diapers and still using my brain (I am sure that every mom out there knows what I am talking about;). A lot of people couldn't understand why I didn't go back to work, or why I am starting my own business when I just had a baby.......but to me it all felt right! I am extremely good at planning and managing my time......yes, even with two children!
Soon after, I got pregnant with our daughter, and once she was born things got a bit more complicated! But it was still important for me to continue with both - being a mom, and building up my small business. So I just had to make sure that I get even better at planning and managing my time:)
In addition to being a mom, and running my small business, I am also extremely passionate about health, healthy and stress-free lifestyle.......so again with the unlimited support and encouragement of my husband in the beginning of this year, I (we) started the Slow·o·lution blog. Things got even a bit more complicated, and a lot of times I get asked "how do you do it all?", "where do you find the time and energy to do it all?".
The truth is, that it is not easy.....even less so because I put a lot of pressure on myself! When I commit to something that I am passionate about, I want to give it a 100%. Although I am very passionate about all the things that I do, it was still a lot and I realized that there are times that I am getting stressed out, which in turn is affecting the kids in a negative way. So along the way I had to learn (and still learning) a few important lessons that I want to share with you:
- planning and managing my time is the key to an almost stress-free life. I can't stress enough how important is to have a plan for the week - it makes me so much more effective, and productive. Usually Sunday evening when the kids are already in bed, I will plan the week ahead - plan the tasks that I can do for the days when the kids are not in kindergarten, and the rest on the tasks (and client meetings) for the days that they are in kindergarten. Meanwhile, I even take it a step further - I plan my tasks (especially on the days that the kids are in kindergarten) on hourly basis. This really helps me to limit myself only to what is really realistic for that particular day.
- on the days when I am with the kids, I give them my attention 100%! A wake up call for this was last year when I was "playing" lego with my son - I didn't realize it at the time, but apparently I was on my phone the whole time because at one point he told me "mommy, we wanted to play together, and all you do is look at your phone.....". That made me realize that I will be much more effective, and a lot let frustrated if I concentrate 100% on what I am doing at the moment - be it playing with the kids, answering e-mails, working on a project, or writing a blog.
- the importance of "ME" time - I talked about this in detail last week (www.slowolution.com). There are many reasons for "me" time, but I think that as a mom we need to find some time just for ourselves to release some of the tension, and the buildup stress from the day.....there are many different ways to do this, we just need to figure out what works best for each one of us.
- simply let go - along the way I realized that it is perfectly ok not to do to everything that is on my To Do list for the day; or it is perfectly ok to take a much needed 15 min nap! I realized that a lot of times I am putting more pressure on myself then it is necessary, and instead of just enjoying the moment I was stressing out about unimportant stuff.
- the importance of prioritizing - not everything is equally important, and if I want to be effective with the limited time that I have, then I need to focus 100% on what is really important. Very often without realizing we are "wasting" a lot of time on things that are not really that important.....so I learned that if I want to be effective, I need to prioritize!
- accept the things as they are - I think that this is a big step towards a less stressful lifestyle! We can't control situations, people, outcomes, etc.....so it helps if for the things that we have absolutely no control, we just accept them as they are!
I think that every parent, be it stay at home or working full time, will agree with me, when I say that having little kids could be extremely exhausting and nerve racking! So one or another way, we all get stressed out, we all snap at times, and we all get frustrated......but I think that it is extremely important on one hand to learn from every situation and try to do it better next time! And on the another hand, to find a way to release the stress. The most effective way for me to manage stress is go for a run or meditate (TM), and when I have calm down to discuss the situation with my husband. So in addition to everything else that I do, I make the time to work out on daily basis (even if it means getting up at 6am), and also for two 20 min TM meditation sessions a day.
Although it is not always easy, and at times I feel like I have no time to breath, I feel very blessed and fortune that I get to be living my dream - not only to watch my kids grow, but to be able to grow as a person with them; to work on the areas that I feel so passionate about - events and health! I think that it is so easy to get lost in a situation, the frustration or stress at the moment that we easily forget how blessed we are! One thing that I started not long ago is, when I feel the frustration or stress building up in me, I try to stop for a second and put things in perspective! Obviously sometimes it is easier said than done, but I think that it is all about training our mind how to deal with such a situation one step at a time. We have to constantly try new techniques until we have figured out how to keep our stress levels in check......we are all different and there is not just one solution for everyone!
The truth is that to me life, especially being a mom is work in progress - I try to learn from every situation, and be a better version of myself the next day!
Stay healthy and stress-free
Photo source: © Cécile Gall / cecile-gall-photography.com