There has been a lot of chatter lately about whether or not to subscribe to the attitude of Carpe Diem. Recently, I had a commenter that asked me a very valid question. What if I want to Carpe Diem, but I don’t know how? How can I find that Carpe Diem attitude when every day is a monotonous struggle?
It’s hard to smell the roses when the roses smell like a poopy diaper.
I can tell you how I Carpe Diem. I have found many things that work for me. But everyone is different and I would absolutely love this post to be the beginning of a conversation. So if you have something to add to my list, please feel free to do so. Alternately, if you think I am full of hooey, I’m happy to listen. You could very well be right.
1.Schedule and routine. I found that I need Monday to feel like Monday and Friday to feel like Friday. I need things that will differnetiate the days. When my four oldest were all little and all home, I would spend weeks feeling like every day was Saturday. I don’t know about you, but I only need one Saturday every week.
So I made myself a schedule. Monday was laundry day. Wednesday was outing day. Friday was eat-out day, and each day followed a routine. I learned that we all did better with a routine in place. It went somethiing like this: Get up and eat breakfast, watch cartoons, get dressed, do an activity, play outside,(weather permitting), have free play, do a chore and then have lunch, blessed nap time, another activity and a chore, prepare dinner.
I also found a lot of value in having structured activities for the kids. Free play all day long made us all a little crazy.
2. Find a hobby. I recently had a conversation with my sister-in-law about this very thing. She told me that she was having a hard time finding a hobby. I totally understand. It sounds simple, but sometimes it’s really hard.
I suggest trying a bunch of different hobbies until you find the right fit. Excercise can be a hobby. You could try scrapbooking, I hear that it’s fun. For a time, my hobby was creating farm animals out of pipe cleaners. Don’t laugh. I had quite the collection. I have happily settled into writing as my hobby. It’s relaxing and a great way for me to vent about some of the frustrations of motherhood. And while I don’t have as much time to write as I would like, I have found a separate identity from just being the Mom.
3. Have scheduled and regular “me time”. To me this is crucial. I think many women feel that if they need time away from their children and spouse that it means they don’t love them enough. I think it’s the opposite. When you take time to care for yourself, you are a better mother and wife.
Go wander the store alone, if it suits you. Go to a movie. Have a girl’s night. Find an excercise class you like. Yoga is my best friend sometimes. But do something that takes care of you.
4. Attitude. I say this one with a grain of salt. I do believe it is important, but there are things that can hinder it. If you suffer from any form of depression, anxiety, PPD, SAD, then it can really take the wind out of your sails and you end up just surviving from moment to moment, day to day. If that’s the case, then seek help. There is no shame in it. It will only make you a better mother and allow you to enjoy your children.
That being said, a good attitude can go a long way. You’ve heard the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. It’s the truth, plain and simple.
5. Laughter. Seriously. Laughter can take a frustrating situation and make it relax. My 9 year old is often my medicine. He will bust up laughing and remind me not to take myself so seriously. I can’t imagine who he got that trait from. *wink wink*
6. Let go of perfection. I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. As I sit here typing this post, I am frustrated that the house I cleaned beautifully yesterday looks like I never lifted a finger. Dang kids. A perfect house or perfectly groomed children can drive you crazy. Let go of some things. Let go of loading the dishwasher correctly and let someone else pick up the slack. Let go of having well-dressed children and let them do it on their own. Nothing brings a smile to my face faster than seeing a child in public who so obviously dressed themselves.
7. Realize that not every day will suck. Just because you have a crappy day, doesn’t mean that tomorrow will be the same. Allow yourself some bad days. It’s ok, we all have them. Some trips to the store are mass chaos, and some are smooth as jelly. Be willing to relax and go with the ebb and flow of life. Don’t wish this phase of motherhood away just because it is hard. The next phase will be hard for totally different reasons.