“How do you do it with 4? I struggle with 1 (or 2)”. That’s the question I’ve been hearing a lot lately, especially this past week after my last article.
First of all, while my life might be busy trying to raise 4 four kids, run a business, get my online business back off the ground and teach full-time, I have a lot of support from family and friends, and I recognise there are a lot of people in a much more difficult situation than me.
When we die, our lifeline flatlines. When we’re alive, our lifeline goes up and down. Notice how that connects to life. Life is full of ups and downs. ~ Jay Shetty
I don’t pretend to be some messiah who has it all figured out, one who has faced the greatest of odds. There are billions of people who are in a much more adverse situation than I am. I’ve just lived through a challenging period and I feel like I can shed some light on how I am dealing with it, in the hope that it can help others, even if only in one small way.
Create routines. I personally love and need routines in my life, and more than anyone, so do kids. It’s one of the first things I learned as a teacher. When the busyness of life skyrocketed, the first thing I knew I needed to do for my kids wellbeing and my sanity was to create routines.
Refine those routines. Once we established those routines, we have continued to perfect them. And we will always continue to perfect them. There are always little ways that we can better our routines and become even more efficient.
Outsource. As we improve our routines, it becomes clear which routines can be outsourced and outsourcing them becomes a no-brainer. I’ve already hired a cleaner for $50 per week every week. She leaves the house cleaner than I ever could. Even the air feels clean! I’m not rich but that’s an expense that I can justify as being worth it.
Take time for yourself. Everyone said this to me. “Make sure you take time for yourself”. “Make sure you look after yourself”. “You need to look after yourself so you can look after those kids”. This was a difficult one to absorb until someone told me to let the kids see me asking for help. This shocked me. I had never thought of that. But they explained that it’s good for kids to see you ask for help because it demonstrates that you should ask for help if you need it, and it demonstrates how to ask for help when you need to.
Take the help that’s offered. So many people told me that they would help out if I needed it, especially in regards to looking after the kids if I needed a break. I really appreciated this but in my head I wondered if they really meant it. Would they really say yes if I asked, and if they did, would they be willing to do it again? Looking after four kids, even for just one night, is hard work. On the Saturday just past, it got to the point where I just had to ask for help. I just needed a night off. Thank goodness my parents, or any one of those angels who offered to help, were there for me when I needed it.
Remember why you’re doing it. When life gets uber-busy, you get super-stressed and you feel like you’re starting to drown, remember what’s most important and why you’re doing it. You’re doing it for your kids. And what’s most important is that you look after yourself. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t be there for your kids.
Just like a lifeline, life is full of ups and downs. And I’d much prefer that then the alternative that is a flatline.
How do YOU do it? What suggestions do you have (big or little) that could help me, and many others, to make life a little easier?
Leave your answer in the comments section below.
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