Over last summer I was giving thought to doing some freelance writing, but suddenly found myself in huge crunch mode. My son Seth, now 5, was off the month of August, and I fell behind in various projects. Once he started pre-K in September, I got involved helping him transition into his new class, exploring after school pursuits, etc. Never a dull moment as a multi-tasking mom! That said, I recently thought….why not write a piece that would offer tips on "getting it all done." While I'm far from the expert on this subject, and feel like I never get it all done, the following is my two-cents worth. Hopefully these tips will resonate with other multi-tasking Moms out there.
This is one of the hardest things to do when you're not sure what to tackle first. As a big idea person, entrepreneur and writer, I am adept at overwhelming myself. But, you need to prioritize to accomplish your major goals. When creating your "to-do" list, look ahead with an eye toward the life you aspire to lead in 2-5 years. Work at it now, even if you take small steps. Try not to get caught up entirely in minutia because there's always an endless amount of it in our daily lives.
2. Cut Yourself Some Slack
I recently attended a moms retreat at a place called Peace Village in upstate NY. Their focus is teaching meditation and how to incorporate it into your life. Periodically during the day at Peace Village, beautiful music plays for one minute intervals, and you are supposed to stop in your tracks and take a silent pause…no matter what activity you're engaged in. I can't say I've been able to adopt this practice at home, but I see the merit. There's a lot to be said for creating moments of rejuvenation in your day. Even if you just stop whatever you are doing, stretch, take a deep breath or look out the window, it can help clear your head and be inspiring.
3. Keep it Real
The faster I try to get things done, the more pressure I put on myself. Since I have a given window daily while my son is in pre-K, I am constantly looking at the clock, while I type fiercely at the computer. As my son says, when he talks about his favorite film, "Cars," I feel like I racing to win the Piston Cup, except there is no real end in sight. Instead of trying to work at lightning speed, it is more fulfilling to accept what you are able to do and not set unrealistic expectations. Racing the clock only makes your mind race, and it's not very gratifying at the end of the day.
4. Take Care
If you're like me, you have moments when you wish you could clone yourself. But, since I am only one person, I need to take care of my body and soul. I go to the gym (not as often as I'd like, but at least I'm there), try to spend time with friends, get occasional reflexology massages (my favorite) and indulge the bargain shopper in me with jaunts to TJ Maxx. These are pursuits that in a perfect world would make their way into our lives, but it doesn't happen that way. We have to carve out the time and allow ourselves to find happiness. You deserve it. Discover what gives you pleasure, and work it in to your routine.
5. Make a Connection
I am a people person, and as such, working from home is not easy for me. I bought a lap top and will sometimes write at the local library, but it's not enough. I crave camaraderie. So, eight years ago I launched a networking group for enterprising women in New York (ww.ibwc.org), and most recently, co-founded Motherhood Later….Than Sooner (www.motherhoodlater.com). It is the only on and offline resource/community for 35+ moms in the U.S. I began the NY chapter over three years ago, when my son was an infant, because I recognized the need to share my parenting experience with peers. It proved so helpful, that today, I have made genuine mom friends from it, and our children are growing up together. So, don't isolate yourself. It's not always easy to get out of the house without a specific agenda, so look for groups in your local community to join. Take a class. Frequent a library or coffee shop. Find a destination, and make it your place. Strike up a conversation. Meeting new people keeps life interesting, and I've heard that people with good friends live longer.
Robin Gorman Newman wears many hats. As an author, she has written How to Marry a Mensch (decent person) and Meet a Mensch in New York. As a love coach, she lectures, coaches singles privately, and founded www.LoveCoach.com, where she dishes socializing advice. As a media personality/relationship expert, she has appeared on radio and television worldwide, including The Today Show, CNN and Good Day NY. As an entrepreneur, she runs a public relations practice, RGN Communications. As a work-at-home mom, her latest endeavor is Motherhood Later….Than Sooner (www.MotherhoodLater.com), the only on and offline resource/community in the U.S. for those parenting later in life. She lives in Great Neck, NY with her mensch-in-the-making young son and mensch husband.