How do I Carpe Diem?

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.

Ways to avoid Armageddon from an always moving mom to Seven

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.

 

Source: google.ca via Stacey’s on Pinterest

 

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.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. You did an awesome job with this post. Structure is very important in our house, without it we’d all be lost!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the last picture.
    Candi´s last blog post ..Fancy Nancy (and Taylor Swift)

  2. I agree with everything you’ve said here.
    diane robertson´s last blog post ..UltraSound

  3. This is so true. I have found that having a schedule helps so much for me too. I think it helps the kids also because they know what is coming up and what to expect for the most part. I also agree on the laughter thing. It is a necessity!!! Oh and I love the pinterest pictures. :)

  4. A most excellent and realistic post! There were, as you remember. many times when you making me laugh possibly saved a younger sibling–what a blessing! #3 is my favorite–not enough SAH moms embrace that one!

  5. I think you’re spot on! I’m finding, in this season of being pregnant {and nauseous ALL the time} that I have to literally seize the good moments with my family. My husband doesn’t get to come home to a clean house 90% of the time, because I can’t stand up w/o wanting to run for the toilet. But, on those days where I DO have energy and I CAN stand up, I clean like a madwoman… so he can walk in to a clean downstairs. And when we’re together as a family, the times that I can get off the couch, we’re making it a point to get out of the house.. go to a park, spontaneous picnic, the zoo… something fun. Those moments come so rare with this pregnancy that our family NEEDS to seize them so that we don’t implode.
    Rebecca {The Reluctant Housewife}´s last blog post ..Today I am thankful

  6. #5. I hate to say how much I love that one, but I do. It’s horrible but I’ll laugh at anyone, though I prefer to laugh with them.
    C @ Kid Things´s last blog post ..Chalk it up to Spring

  7. The things that help me could easily fit into your categories. I need to feel a sense of accomplishment each day. That means doing SOMETHING that doesn’t come undone by the next day. This fits into a “hobby” category or even in helping my children do a craft or something. Routine is also really important. I used to go to story time every week because it was something that gave my week structure. Now my kids school schedule provides a little bit of that. I have also found that There are certain times of the day doomed to disaster if I try to accomplish anything during that time. This time for me is after nap time and before dinner. It makes it hard to cook dinner unless I get something figured out earlier in the day. I also found that snacks to help my kids make it to dinner time eases the stress of that time. Also setting realistic expectations helps me a TON. This fits into NOT being a perfectionist. Some nights dinner isn’t ready, or the kids don’t get their hair done or any number of other things that DON’T happen during a day can be one of the biggest stresses for me, but I have found that if I am realistic about what I can/can’t do it isn’t as stressful. Setting realistic expectations with my kids helps a lot too. I have to remember they are kids, they will break things without meaning to, they will need me way too much, they won’t want to go to bed. If I look life with realistic expectations it is easier. I guess realistic expectations could also fit under attitude and laughter. When I have the right expectations it is easier to have a good attitude and to laugh about life. If I can’t find something to laugh about, then I try to create something. Like letting my kids slip ‘n slide on the kitchen floor to clean it.

  8. THANK YOU! Why didn’t someone do a post like this a long time ago? I love them all. Number 7 is the very hardest for me, and the most important. Some days are going to be bad and there is nothing you can do about it, but you can’t let it make every day bad! I’m going to try working on all of these suggestions more.

    Julia- loved your comments too. A therapist once told me that almost all unhappiness is cause by unrealistic expectations not being met. I have to constantly re-evaluate my parenting expectations (for both my kids and myself).

    Thanks again for the great tips. I know part of the reason we’re here on this earth is to help each other out and this seems like a great way to do it.

    PS- I love all the pictures/cartoons. Especially the pee alone one :) It seems like a luxury to be in the bathroom alone now!

  9. Hello Stacey, I love this post. I think a few things that I learned were that 1.”you can do anything for a little while”. 2. I tried to keep an eternal perspective, for instance if the floor was dirty with food or toys one day, the next day I could clean it up…etc. 3. This too shall pass…is one that i use now that my kids are older with the trials of middle school and high school. 4. Love and forgiveness go a long way. My children know that I love them no matter what. Inappropriate behavior not so much,,but the child is so much more important than any mistake they make. 5. (tied in closely) I am not perfect and neither is anyone else, but we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have and where we are in the moment.
    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face and heart:)

  10. Michelle says:

    I thought of something I try and do. Pick things that you really enjoy about being a mom and then try to “carpe diem” those specific things. It makes it less overwhelming.
    For example, I love it when kids say words wrong. My two year old son says “teeth Rex” (except teeth is teef) in stead of T-Rex. Sounds silly, but that really makes me happy. So my rule is I don’t try and correct small speech things like that. Of course they need to learn how to talk correctly at some point, but he will easily grow out of a little thing like that and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts! My husband sometimes tries to correct both the kids and he gets a firm reprimand when he does :) My 4 year old daughter says “Cinder-brella” and I’m not going to fix that until she goes to kindergarten!

  11. This is a wonderful post, Stacey. I think we share in a lot of the same thinking and ideas. It’s amazing what one hour a day (my run) does for me. I’m so much better for it.
    Runnermom-jen´s last blog post ..Scavenger Hunt Sunday

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