One of my favorite hotels is the Four Seasons. The moment I walk into the lobby and see the amazing floral arrangements, inhale the eucalyptus on the refreshing towels or sip the cucumber infused water, I am transported to a new stratosphere, a million miles away from my reality. Unlike the resort, as a busy mom, I go through at least Ten Seasons a year, when I’m transported to a place of chaos and life is overwhelming.
What seasons make me feel overwhelmed?
- April: Pasquale's birthday
- May: Marcello's Birthday, Mother's Day, End of School, Summer Camps
- August: Back to School, Nico's Birthday
- November: Holiday planning
- December: Holiday planning, End of Semester, Arianna's Birthday
Over the years, I’ve applied these practices to "lessen the pressure", so that I can be encouraged by the changing seasons.
1. Prioritize. Keep a running list of all the things you want to accomplish. Then, prioritize what is the most important thing to do, down to the least important. One of our favorite family books is The Three Questions because one of the answers Nikolai is in search of is, “What is the right thing to do?” Prioritizing helps us focus on the right thing to do and the right time to do it. You can practice prioritizing with your children too! For years, we would give our children a very "short list" when coming home. #1: Take your junk (out of the car). #2: Put your shoes away. #3: Wash your hands. Over the years, our "short list" has matured and as a result, has helped our children learn how to prioritize.
2. Be present in the moment. You cannot control what will happen in the future, and you cannot undo the past. Before you know it, babies walk, talk and sleep through the night, toddlers feed and clothe themselves, school aged kids read and write, and adolescents drive and go off to college. All too quickly, these chapters pass and fade into distant memories. So as much as possible, try and disengage from things that distract you (texting, social media, keeping up with the Jones, etc.). Distractions can lead to feeling overwhelmed and you miss the mark on who is most important. The next time you feel overwhelmed, check your surroundings, do a personal inventory of how you are spending your time, take a deep breath and be present in the moment.
3. Do just enough. Once you identify your seasons that cause you to get overwhelmed, learn how to do just enough. Nothing more. Nothing less. Over the years, I’ve driven my husband, children and myself crazy with this “pressure” that I need to outperform what was done in the past. Nonsense! When you do "just enough", the seasons can be enjoyed, and without as much drama. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or procrastinating, I look forward to the seasons and as the children get older, they help create the birthday poster boards, bake Christmas cookies and appreciate the seasons as something to look forward to, not get overwhelmed by.
Outside, seasons change four times a year, but inside our homes, the seasons are constantly changing. Let’s enjoy the seasons by learning how to prioritize, being present in the moment and do just enough.
Niccole Maurici, University Park mom of four and former certified personal trainer, is the co-founder and creator of the StrongestMom.com website and fitness videos, which promote values important to moms: encouragement, support, positive thinking, and dedication. To learn more visit our website strongestmom.com.