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Monday, November 18, 2013

Finding Your Inner Motivation

When my alarm goes off-- strike that--- when my 2 year-old screams "Woo-Hoo, Mommy!" at 5:30 AM, I am tempted to stick him in front of mindless television and hit the snooze button on the couch.... but, I don't.  What drives us to get up every day and do the mindless tasks that we have to do as mothers? What makes us do the dishes one more time, fold the laundry, and make the beds? So many mother's say "I just can't get everything done."  Of course you can't get everything done. No one can.  Which inspired my first e-card creation:

Sometimes I call upon my spiritual side when I am changing the umpteenth poopy diaper and scrubbing crayon of the walls; I remind myself that every small act as a mother will be recognized by God and how we treat the "least among us" matters most of all.

If it's hard enough to get up and do our necessary tasks, how does one stay motivated to do unnecessary, though important) other tasks? How do I get up and work out after a night of interrupted sleep? How do I find the time to make homemade presents and send Christmas cards? How do I scour every inch of my house all the time ?(o.k.... just kidding on that one)

I have a few strategies to share on how I maintain my will power:

  • Keep your stress level appropriate for you--  I taught a stress management class once, and I always impressed upon my students that stress isn't necessarily a bad thing.  For example, if you have 10 things to do on a Monday, you get them done, but on a Saturday when you have one task... by 5 PM, you still haven't done it.  Too little stress is actually UN-motivating.  However, if you have too MUCH stress, well, that's a typical mom.  Your perfect level of stress gives you your best performance. If you find your optimum stress level, you'll have a perfect balance:

  • Wear the right clothes.  Sounds simple, dress for success they say.... but dressing for working out, running errands, or cleaning the house helps too.  When I wake up in the morning, I try to put on the clothes that I know I should wear. If I don't put on my sports bra, I just don't work out. As simple as that. 
  •  Trick yourself.  I don't know if this makes me a highly-evolved person, or just extremely dumb... but I am a master of self-trickery.  I give myself goals, rewards, and even (minor) punishments. For example, on days I don't work out, I don't usually give myself dessert after dinner.  If I fold and put away all the laundry before bath time, I will let myself skip another chore so I can relax and space-out on the internet when the kids are abed.   I'm pretty darn good at sticking to my own internal-system.
  • Set little goals. After my son was diagnosed with an extreme dust mite allergy last month, my first thought was to burn down the house. Seriously. Dust? I've already admitted I am not exactly the best dust?  So, I am slowly scouring every inch of my house. And I mean slowly.  At first I set a "room" a day goal of thorough cleaning (and I mean moving furniture thorough).... then I realized that cleaning with kids is a joke, and I had to slow down the pace. I did do 3 rooms in one week, and so far 1 room this week.   Where do I find my motivation? Well, my son's itchy eyes, cough, and constant sniffling helps.... and THIS:
House Dust Mite (ZOOMED IN)

  • Try not to be extremely hard on yourself.  I know some women who go to the gym HOURS a week or do extreme dieting-- that is not me.  I want to enjoy life, but stay healthy. I try to make simple, healthful choices; I don't eliminate sweets or work out very long.  If you look at a lifestyle change (like gluten free or extreme fitness), you won't want to do it. It seems too hard (and honestly, those big changes ARE too hard for a lot of moms, including me).  I'm too tired to be perfect with healthful eating all the time. I need some sugar and caffeine just to survive. 
  • Make sure your goals are in alignment with your family. Many moms will attempt to fit working out, cleaning, errands, and more into their daily schedule---meanwhile children get left in childcare longer.  I'm a firm believer that it's important to take SOME time for yourself every day, but you can't sacrifice being a parent for that.  Some chores and errands can WAIT.  Don't spend all your free time dusting your picture frames when your kids would rather have you sit and read a book!!  I work out WITH my kids too--they've learned all the different indoor cardio moves, and they love that I don't leave to go to the gym for an hour.
So I leave you with a poem that I have seen circle the internet before, but it reminds me of priorities in life, and keeps me ultimately motivated to be a loving mommy:

I hope my child looks back on today
And sees a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking,
But children grow up when you’re not looking.
Tomorrow I’ll do all the chores you can mention
But today, my baby needs time and attention.
So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep,
I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep.

Easy Rule #4087- Find your internal motivation and strength-- it's there behind the little voice whispering "Eat the whole pack of Oreos."

Easy Rule #5222- Be grateful you don't have a microscope to assess the cleanliness of your house.  Good enough is good enough. 

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