Balancing Babies, Books, & Buddies

 

Hi friends!

Happy Monday! I hope you accomplished whatever it is you set out to accomplish over this past weekend. For me, its been a combination of books, baby, and hanging with some friends!

The thought of combining a social life with motherhood, along with schooling and some me time for sanity,  can be super overwhelming.  Some of my friends like to be busy all the time – always looking for something to do. Other friends of mine prefer to have more self down time, and just relax during their down time. I find myself to be a weird combination of both:

Ill get into the zone on something and not want to stop. Ill put things off at times but then once I get into whatever it is: studying, cleaning, organizing, rearranging, whatever it is – once I begin the task its SO hard for me to stop until its complete. I remember rearranging my room as a little girl (and honestly all the time as a teenager and adult too) and being SO exhausted from going hours on end, but I WOULD NOT be able to stop and go to bed until it was done. Id stay up till 3:30AM on a school night so I could get every little detail perfect before I fell asleep, so I could wake up to a complete finished project crossed off my to do. It made me feel SO good mentally.

Now that motherhood has entered the picture, and I’m back in school finishing my certifications, I’ve had to balance books, babies, and spending time with my friends with (attempting) not to burn myself out. I swear motherhood is one big day with naps – I couldn’t tell you the last time I slept for more than 4 hours consecutively. thats insane hey? #coffee

This blog post is going to be about how I manage my time and mental energy balancing books, babies, and buddies!

 

Practice Practice Practice.

it has taken me along time to realize and practice my self discipline. Managing all that life has for you can be SO time consuming. It takes insane self disciple to get out of bed everyday at 5:00AM (yes, even on weekends, sighhhhhh), put on my cup of coffee, and get myself mentally prepared to take on the day.  Practicing getting up earlier everyday has allowed me to get into a habitual routine – and now, I don’t even set an alarm. My body just knows its time to get up and start the day, and even when I try to sleep in, I usually cant anymore.

 

 Purse Sized Weekly / Daily “TO DO”s

I find keeping a huge calendar with me at all times to be too much. Being a mom means when you go basically anywhere, you’re bringing 47% of everything you own with you. seriously, its ridiculous. Before kids, I could grab my phone wallet keys and peace out the door. Now, getting ready for a coffee run is a marathon and a half. I seriously DO NOT WANT to bring anything with me thats unnecessary (probably don’t have room even if I wanted too!) I have my bigger sized notebook and desk calendar at home chilling, but I find these smaller sized weekly “TO DO” calendar super super convenient! because its so small, I actually find myself using it. Its easy to take with me, and fits super easily in my bag.

I try to plan my time a week in advance. ill go through, and add in anything I have to attend first:  appointments, meet ups with friends, etc. Then I will go through the same week and add in anything due for school or my goals for when I would like to submit anything that week. Next, ill write in the main topics for my classes that id like to focus on that day, so I can break down all my main subject areas into a daily section – that way, I can keep on clear track of what I need to accomplish daily in order to stay on tract throughout the week. This way, I also know if there are certain days I need to accomplish more work if I have something on another day that will take up too much time.

Daily “TO DO” list – Staying on Top

Because I usually have my weekly to do filled in ahead of time, in the morning I will wake up and look over the previous day to see if there is anything I didn’t accomplish that I need to bring over and schedule into today.  I usually do this first thing in the morning, after I’ve put on my coffee and grabbed a snack.  Ill sit down at the table and prioritize what needs to happen first that day, and what could *possibly* be moved over if I’m not able to do everything ( because some days babies won’t let you ). Sometimes I’m able to stay SUPER on top of this list – going ahead of my plan and finishing tasks I don’t have scheduled for another day to two.  THIS IS SUCH A GOOD FEELING. I really try to keep on deadline or ahead, because this way I know if theres a day I’m not feeling it, or Lilys being a suckboob, I know Im not falling behind and don’t feel guilty for taking a day off from the books.

Studying

After graduating high school and attending three years at SFU, there is one real thing I have learned about studying. STUDYING TAKES EFFORT AND IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. I know students who can study by reading the textbook over once and manage to somehow soak in all the information – this is NOT me, I repeat this is NOT ME. it’s taken me years to learn what studying habits work for me and what wastes my time.

I used to be a huge cashcards gal, writing out every detail on the back of hundreds of cards. yes, its studying, but by the time I finished writing out all my cards I usually ran out of time to actually STUDY and learn them. I would write out the whole course but not actually absorb any of the information.

ways that I personally succeed with my learning: 

  • I write notes in my own wording – instead of copying every complicated word or jargon down into my notebook, ill write out the basic of it: ill use words I understand and ill put the main points down so I get the big picture. once ive done this for a main chapter or section, ill go back and add in all the additional facts and terminology I need to know. I find this a good way to actually learn the information instead of passively reading or writing down a word or phrase that has no significant meaning to you.
  • Do your own research – this sounds boring but its actually SO helpful. If I am studying the topic of baby positioning for example, ill watch youtube videos and search my own images to get a better understanding before moving forward with another topic. This helps me often see the bigger picture and put together some of the pieces of information when I may not understand the relation.
  • Draw Pictures – diagrams and making your notes more unique by drawing useful images help me absorb and remember the information better.
  • Highlight but don’t over highlight –  when I was younger and going over notes with a highlighter – I usually had over half the page scribbled on. As I’ve gotten better at recognizing key information, I have learnt that less is usually more. Sometimes ill look at the chapter highlights or main learning outcomes, and only highlight points relevant to any of those.
  • Review Consistently – Sometimes when a course requires you to know an over abundance of information, it can be super overwhelming and hard to remember it all from start to finish. If you’re starting to study on Module 1 and end at Module 12, you’re probably not going to have the information from Module 1 as fresh in your head. To avoid this, I try and make sure while I’m moving forward with my studies, I check back to the previous modules and connect the relevant information. This also helps avoid last minute cramming (but lets be real sometimes it works LOL)

Consistency is KEY

This sounds obvious, but I really cant stress it enough. Especially after having a child, our life really works better around consistency and routine. Having lily on somewhat of a routine has allowed me some “expected?” time to do my other duties. For example, I know if I keep lily up in the early evening, she’s going to zonk herself out and usually sleep in till about 6-7AM. If I get up at 5, I “?know?” that ill have a little bit of time for myself in the morning before she gets up. This alone time for me is SO important. It gives me a minute to breathe and allows me to get in some super productive work first thing in the day.  There are some days I wake up feeling like a literal zombie, but I also know that once I’ve dragged myself out of bed, get my coffee in me and get going, I will feel so much better and accomplished. Ive found motherhood to be a little spark of motivation when it comes to productivity – because when I have time to do something I really have to take it because that opportunity may not come again for a while!

 

Knowing my Goals and Reasoning. 

I think knowing your reasoning for doing anything is beneficial. Thinking about why or what you’re doing gives you some sort of internal explanation for why your working so hard at whatever it is you’re working on.Working on myself, my career, and my business is so important for not only lily but myself. I was someone before I became a mom, and I have every intention of staying in tune with who she is. Putting energy into something other than motherhood has allowed me to do just that. Not only am I making a sustainable future for my daughter, but Im giving her something even more important: a happy mama.

 

Unplug for Quality Time

Online schooling, social media, Netflix, etc.  So much of our time is spent looking at a screen or connecting socially. I used to think taking a minute to “scroll through IG or FB” was a restful break, it isn’t. Our minds are constantly thinking, analyzing, and producing emotions when we look at social media. We cant control what we see on our feed, and sometimes it may be something that arises unpleasant feelings in us. Taking a few hours a day to unplug is SO nice. If my phone is around me, I usually find myself scrolling on it habitually. When I want to actually “relax” ill go plug my phone in upstairs and spend quality time with my daughter.

 

……. Everyday

not a day goes by that I dont get down only hands and knees and play farm with lily on her playmat. We go for walks every single day, rain or shine. Every night, I read her “The Going to Bed Book” and I tuck her in with her favourite stuffed animals.

Every . Single . Day 

My time and energy is allowed to be focused on other things. Its okay to take a few hours to get done what you need to get done, to better YOU. But what I refuse to do is miss out on any opportunities for memories with my baby.  Everyday I make sure to spend QUALITY time with her, teaching her, watching her grow, loving her and cuddling her.

School is a priority for me, and thats OK

ME time is a priority for me, and thats OK

Taking a night off every once and a while to chill with my friends is a priority for me, and thats OK too.

We as humans only have so much energy to give. If we burn ourselves, the quality of our energy goes down. Taking some of that energy and putting it towards yourself instead of your child is OK, its actually necessary. If you’re giving 100% of yourself to your child, how are you able to fulfill your own happiness?  wouldn’t you rather give your child 80% but have that 80% be QUALITY.  take your 20 mama, recharge and refresh – its SO important.

 

Babies AND Buddies

I will tell you this: find friends who love your child without strings attached.  Having a lot of friends may be nice, but having a few close friends that genuinely love your child is a blessing in itself. When I fell pregnant, I lost a lot of friends, but thats okay because quality over quantity.

My best-friends are going to be aunties to my daughter. Im an only child, and I feel so blessed that this life gave me a select few people whom are family to me. Find friends that WANT your baby around. My friends know when they make plans with me that lily is usually automatically tagging along. They don’t mind, they love her! we plan things we can all do together and we still have so much fun. No, its not the same as when we were 19 hitting the bars, but a new, mature and gracious love of a friendship that makes me realize the importance of true genuine connection.

Talk to Your friends about THEIR life

I know its hard when you’re obsessed with your baby to talk about anything else, but your friends are there for you; you need to make sure they know you’re still going to be there for them. ASK THEM how they are, ask them about their job. I know your life is your baby now, but the world is turning and they’re living too! make sure they know you’re the same friend to them you were before you had your baby.

Plan for Nothing!

I used to avoid wanting to make plans because I was lazy and didn’t want to get all packed up. Now I’ve come to this amazing realization : you can plan to do nothing. My favourite thing to do now is just have my friends come over and chill. We talk, go for a walk, and just hangout! its so much easier for people to come to you once the baby is here: again, SO MUCH STUFF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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