Mom life can feel very repetitive and busy, yet mindless and invisible. Here’s how I’ve stepped off the mom hamster wheel and gotten back to doing what really feeds my soul.
Laundry, dishes, cleaning.
To be honest, the tasks that make up my day are cyclical and boring. They are important, but they feel invisible. They are needed, but they are also thankless.
Sometimes, it’s easy to feel that everyday, I’m stepping back on the hamster wheel to do the same exact things again and again, and yet never feeling totally caught up. And that can feel very defeating.
Wake up, make breakfast for kids, clean up, help kids get dressed, brush teeth, prep lunches, find backpacks, shoes and socks, load kids in car, drive to school.
The tasks are relentless.
They don’t stop.
And they’re never fully “done.” Because after today’s lunches are made, the lunch boxes will come back and I will need to do the same task again. The job is cyclical.
The mom hamster wheel is necessary, but it’s not all there is. Sure, these tasks need to get done. But how can I get away from feeling like every second of everyday is devoted to this impossibly-long-yet-mindless list of daily to-do’s?
I’ve started instituting a few simple hacks that are shortening my time on the hamster wheel each day, so that I can get off and enjoy the parts of my life that really matter.
You know, focusing on the important things.
And not just the urgent things.
Here’s how I’ve stepped off the mom hamster wheel:
1. Do a load of laundry every day.
My friend Julie does this, and it’s awesome. The concept is simple. Do one load a day, and it doesn’t accumulate. The tough part is actually doing it (obvi), but I find that when I dedicate certain snippets of the day to laundry, it’s more likely to get done.
For example, I try to put a load in before I leave to take everyone to school in the morning. I switch the laundry at some point during the morning, and then fold it after school, while the boys do their homework. And put it away before dinner. (This happens maybe 1 day out of 3, but #goals.)
2. Get up early.
I don’t do this everyday, but when I do, it changes the entire day. This can be anything. Get up and exercise. Do your daily devotions. Turn on your favorite music and fold laundry. Be alone in your thoughts. Let yourself center, and focus on what you want to get out of the day. This daily practice helps me clear my thoughts, and feel less scattered through the day.
3. Create space on Sundays.
Every Saturday night, I turn off my cell phone, and I don’t turn it back on until Monday morning. As a result, Sundays are my most restful day of the week, and I love them.
They are quiet. I feel that I listen more. I sit, I ponder. My mind isn’t filled with the busyness that the Facebook notifications, text beeps, email buzzes and other notifications create. It is quiet and peaceful. I also use the day to meal prep and do things around the house that don’t require a screen or Google. This past Sunday, I washed our couches, reorganized a closet and sewed some buttons on a dress. It’s crazy to write it out, but it was actually really relaxing and enjoyable. I highly recommend #screenfreeSundays!
4. Make all lunches for the week on Sundays.
This is one of my favorite hacks. Every Sunday afternoon during the school year (a perfect task for my screen-free day), I take a whole loaf of bread and make about 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then I put them in plastic baggies and place them in a clear bin in the fridge. With 3 kids in school, this lasts me just over 3 days, but the point is, I don’t have to do it every single day. It takes me off the hamster wheel for 15 minutes more each day. And that’s priceless!
5. Keep a bucket list.
This is a bigger list of important things that you want to do. Not the urgent things, but the important things. I’ve been wanting to volunteer in my oldest son’s class. He keeps asking me, and I know it will make him feel special. It’s not something I have do to; it’s something I want to do. Baking my easy Key Lime pie, surprising the boys with a pizza night out and camping in the backyard are a few more on my list for the near future!
How do you create space in your week and step off the mom hamster wheel? Share your tips in the comments section, or over on the Facebook page!