Staying 'Sane' while juggling it all.

First of all I feel like I need to break that title down... staying sane? I'm not so sure I can fully give advice on this but we can at least aim for 80% of the time. After all, all the best people are a little crazy. I don't have it all together 100% of the time and that's ok.Point 2. I have 'It all', I'm not boasting or showing off and it has taken me a long time to realise this. 'It all' is what we decide 'it' to be, 'Having it all' I believe is unachievable if we are basing our judgement on what others are doing or have. I have two gorgeous girls, a devoted hubby, a great career and lovely home so on paper I have it all but society and social media can create an environment where we want more, strive for the next big thing instead of finding joy and settling on the then and now and appreciating what we do have. What I found hard settling on for a long time was the balance, it always sat uneasy with me with either children, career, home or husband being the 'winner' and everything else falling by the wayside. This would leave me uneasy, comparing to others, seeing pretty pictures of children happily playing in the park while I was grabbing a coffee in work because a full lunch would mean I wouldn't get out at a decent time to bath them before bed. What I have come to realise is that my kids are happy and loved, they get all they need (I'm not talking about material wants) and we need our jobs, for monetary reasons, for self development and for the kind of people we are. Our house isn't a big house with a long windy (tarmac) drive leading up, with stunning views and a west wing but our home is beautiful as we DIY'd for 7 years, through a wedding and maternity leaves and our home is shelter to our wee family, I would like more storage, bigger bedrooms (and an extra bedroom, still in talks) and a large kitchen with an island but we 'need' none of it. So that is why I feel I have it all, it all is what you make it... you don't need to be Beyonce to have it all.

Now the question I get asked loads! How do you do everything and stay sane (or not loose your shit but I didn't want to add that in the title and it's normally asked from other mothers, workers, life jugglers in the midst of a stressful time).

The truthful answer is I loose my sh*t too, life can be manic (in good ways too) but sometimes 'it all' can feel so demanding and hard that leaves you feeling touched out and emotional, I'm a very emotional stressed person. I've got better at realising when it all feels too heavy and I need to take a step back. 

So here's a few things I rely on a lot.

  1. The 'whatever goes' friend.

You know the one, you can spill your mind to, remove your filter and say it without feeling judged. Then they can provide a little rational, nod in agreement or tell you to catch yourself on and then in return you can be the ear when they need it (it's always great for you feeling less alone too). They don't say 'a problem shared is a problem halved' for no reason. A good chat on the way home from work or when I get the girls to bed can be my solice and clear the fog to see clearly again. I joke many times that a good friend saves my marriage, I get to rant my irrational rants and clear it without Colin being at the other end. It's a win/ win situation! 

2. Find 50/50 at home

I think it goes without saying that women take on more, household chores, children's appointments, activities, birthday presents, events, plans for work... and everything in between. I'd sit down at night and my head would be spinning, once I heard the dishwasher beep and it near sent me over the edge as another thing to add to my mental list for that night but it was my own fault. I didn't speak up and took it all on myself, the controlling part of me labelled it all as being mine. I needed for Colin and I to be partners in the more formal business sense to achieve what we needed to do in the home and with the girls. I also needed to let go of control and let go of being fussy and checking things are done the way I'd want... Who cares if Bella and Annie are dressed more like Bobby and Andy, they have clothes on and that's great.

3. Determine what's non-negotiable.

Kids being fed and bathed, bills paid and food in the cupboards is the priority. Floors hoovered, pillows puffed up in the sitting room and clothes put away in the right place with the right coloured hanger (wish I was joking) is not needed for survival, don't get me wrong I hate things spiraling and I find things so much easier with organisation but I sometimes need to take a step back and reassess what is necessary and what is not. Also 'good' is good enough. 'Perfect' is what you make it, striving for a vision of perfection will leave you feeling disheartened and not enough. I have also learnt that the 'to do' list will never be complete, that's life and when things keep getting added it means we are living and moving forward and not back. 

4. Make time for yourself.

A facial, a hour on your own for coffee, getting your nails done, writing, a magazine and an early night or even just a walk alone. Sometimes these need planned, scheduled in before things become too much as a non-negotiable and as important as feeding the kids... refueling yourself and caring for yourself will make you a better version of you for home and work. I sometimes find that after talking in work all day and then talking and being Mary Poppins with the kids at home I crave silence with not even the TV on to just gather my own thoughts.

5. Drive through coffee.

As silly as it sound this has balanced me on many occasions, when I feel like I can't come up for air and everything is spinning around me, the kids are having tantrums over the colour of their spoons and the house looks like we have been burgled. I walk away. The kids get strapped into the car, the music goes on and we sing (or they sleep if before 2pm), I take a drive, get a coffee and have 15 minutes away from devices, the house, the mess and the girls normally settle. It can be enough time to just balance yourself before getting it sorted... more times than not when I have walked back in things don't seem as bad. I do this in work too, I try to be balanced at all times so would rather take 10 mins than have to take weeks to fix things that were said in the heat of the moment.

6. Plan your day

Along with the non negotiables I plan what I want to achieve in the day. I rely on this for work and at home. I wasn't always this organised but realised it helped me to stop procrastinating and focus on what I needed to do and also have a sense of achievements in days that you can think 'what the hell did I do today'. I don't over plan as that will lead to disappointment and try to prioritise the musts and what isn't a necessity to do (hence the reason my blogs are so sporadic, sorry about that).

7. Learn how to say 'No'.

I struggle with this one on a daily basis though I am getting better. 'We must organise a coffee date and get a catch up', 'can you sign up to this', 'will you support my business and do some free advertising work'.... I said yes, yes, yes to ensure I pleased everyone until I near dropped, until I couldn't even catch up on the laundry, until I couldn't log off to speak to my hubby at night and until I didn't even have the time to support my own little business, until I couldn't get a minute for myself. I took a step back and realised it is ok to say no, I have 3 days off work per week and I have made that sacrifice in work, financially and by squeezing all of the work into 4 days to spend more time with my girls, when I say 'no' to others I am actually saying 'yes' to them. Life is passing me by and I am taking nothing for granted, before my cup empties I reassess and ensure that those I spend time with (my girls and friends) and the creative work I get involved in helps to top up my cup, revitalise me and inspire. That  doesn't mean it all has to have an output that solely rewards me but things that don't feel task driven.

How do you look after you in the craziest of days? Please share below, I've not nailed this one just yet.

Anna xx