Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with the rest of life? All the stuff that needs to be done in addition to being a mom and homeschooling your kids? I can promise, you are definitely not alone. But you don’t have to live in overwhelm.
My children have graduated from our homeschool and I still struggle. With increased hours working, I look around and feel a weight on my back. So much I need to do. And I end up feeling exhausted before I even start. Did you know one definition of overwhelm is “bury or drown beneath a huge mass”? Sometimes I literally feel like that. I’m a drowning woman in the middle of my own home, schedule, and life.
So I’m not writing this as an expert, but as a fellow working woman, wife, and mom. As one who feels like she is sinking at times. But I’m also writing this as one who wants to continue growing and learning, as person who believes we have choices.
We don’t have to stay beneath the waves.
Ladies, we do NOT have to live in overwhelm. Yes, there may be overwhelming circumstances at times, but it doesn’t have to be our lifestyle. So let’s tackle this together.
Related: An Intentional Year: Set Goals
1. Begin with a brain dump.
And I’m not talking about losing your mind here—your kids can help you do that. I’m talking about decluttering your brain.
Write down everything you need to do. All the things floating around in your head. Appointments, plans, chores, wants and wishes. Everything. Don’t sit and analyze it or get sidetracked with how you will solve a problem. Just get all of the stuff out of your brain.
And don’t worry if the list is long and jumbled and crazy. Because I’m guessing that is exactly how it feels. Now you at least have it on paper and you don’t have to worry about forgetting any of it.
2. Determine your priorities
We can’t do it all. Shocker, I know. Cross anything off your list that doesn’t have to be done right now. You can even make another list of those things—the things you would like to get done, but can wait. Think about what absolutely needs to be done for you to live out your priorities.
What are the most important things? What will have the biggest impact on your home? On your life? Try to discern the difference between what feels urgent verses what really is urgent. What are the things that will help you live life the way you want to? In a way where you can feel at peace?
3. Categorize your list based on your whys.
Your list will determine your categories. Look for the “whys” behind the list. For example, I need to clean out my pantry and freezers right now. But part of my “why” is that my husband and I are committed to eating healthier. Along with that comes making a meal plan and doing the grocery shopping for the week. So my category might be Getting Healthy. I could add getting up early to walk or run each morning, but let’s not go crazy here 😜
We are more motivated when we have a compelling “why” behind what we do. And by working through categories of tasks, we can hopefully discover a why that will motivate us to follow through.
4. Make a plan.
For the next week, write down the top three things you want to get done each day. Don’t try to tackle your entire list in one day or even one week. When we create a doable plan we will actually do it. (Y’all that was so profound I had to highlight it 😂)
Seriously though, we all know we need a plan so why don’t we do it?
I find perfectionism is actually paralyzing. We don’t want to do anything if we can’t do it perfectly. We don’t want to work on any of the list if we can’t finish the entire list. Well sister, we have to let it go.
So make a plan, but keep it simple. And find peace in the fact that getting something done is so much better than getting nothing done perfectly.
Related: An Intentional Year: Make a Plan
5. Then just do it.
I know, “easier said than done” as the saying goes. But ultimately we make a choice to act or not act. Yes, the children will get sick sometimes, the dog will make a mess (and hopefully your kids are old enough for you to teach them about life and have them clean it up), you will be interrupted…multiple times. The idea here is to make forward progress. To just keep swimming. Because when we swim, we won’t drown.
Perhaps you need to gain some forward momentum—to take that first step. You know Newton’s first Law of Motion:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.
The best way I have personally found to get moving is to set a time for 15 minutes. I learned it from FlyLady years ago. She often says “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” So go choose one thing on your list, set a timer, and get going.
Maybe you need some motivation like a reward (ice cream, anyone? Oh wait, I just remember by category “Get Healthy”). Perhaps you need some accountability—a friend you can check-in with to share how it is going (with the added bonus of being calorie-free). But I want to encourage you to find something or someone to help.
And then do the work.
We Can Do This, Together.
The path to living without overwhelm may be a bit bumpy, with twists and turns and hills (probably made of laundry). But it is a road you don’t have to travel alone. Know your fellow homeschooling moms are traveling it with you. Our messes may look different, but each of us is dealing with some kind of mess.
And if you think you are alone, be sure to look for me. I’ll be hauling something out to the trash, I’m sure.