Time is one of our most precious commodities. It is so valuable because it is often quite limited as Mama. Because of this, we may feel as though we are pulled in a million ways all at the same time, in every direction, and we are left spinning. Is it any wonder that our minds are constantly buzzing with the overloaded and invisible job of motherhood.
Stress and overwhelm can feel like constant companions as those invisible threads dictate where we go, what we do, and ultimately drain our energy. And so our self-care can end up feeling like another thing we are ‘supposed’ to do, and suddenly we pop because we can’t take on any more.
No magic wand will suddenly take away the to-do list, but we can manage it so much better when we relieve ourselves of the stress and strain of constantly thinking about all we are doing –nurturing, teaching, feeding, and caring for our household.
So, how can we do this?
We can plan ahead!
Planning out our weeks and months so that we are not blindsided by the mental overload or find ourselves constantly firefighting.
What is the Benefit to Planning Our Month?
Much of what we do is on autopilot. We feed the kids, make the school lunches, iron the uniforms, water the plants, fill up the car, take the chicken out of the freezer for dinner. We do the same things every day because they are the tasks we need to do to get through the day successfully. We are ticking off that list.
But being on autopilot means our minds may be overloaded with the additional stress of all the other things that sit at the back of our minds, such as ordering the skip to clear out the shed before the summer, paying the fees for swimming lessons, booking a smear appointment, planning that play date you said you’d arrange two months ago. It is inevitable that certain things, no matter how important they are, will be pushed to the back of the list but continually gnaw away at us until they are done, adding stress to our everyday lives.
So why should we plan?
Well, planning will:
Reduce the stress of motherhood.
Ensure things don’t fall between the cracks.
Guarantee we won’t feel rushed to get things done.
And we will feel in control of our weeks and months.
How To Plan Our Weeks and Months
It often seems like quite a daunting task, but it will genuinely change your life once you get the hang of it.
Rather than thinking of it as an extensive list, see your weekly or monthly plan as a roadmap of how your days will pan out. The idea is to get it all out of your head so that firstly your mind is no longer clogged up with that list, and secondly, so that nothing will be forgotten.
What do we need to plan out our weeks and months?
Not much! All you need is a planner and a pen. Having your plan available to hand is a good idea so that you can routinely check it and juggle it around if necessary.
I use the Mama Moments Planner, which is in its fourth year of production (and currently 50% off!), and it allows me to actively maintain my monthly plan and ease the stress of figuring out just when everything will get done.
You could use a wall planner or a planner on the fridge … find what works for you!
So how do you get started?
1. Firstly, brain dump everything you feel needs to get done in either a week or a month. Is there a birthday party on the horizon? Do you need to book a dental check-up or an eye appointment? Get an idea of what you need to include in your monthly or weekly planner. It can take some time to get used to the idea of including everything, and at the beginning, you may forget certain things, but they can always be added as you go along.
2. Now add in the events you know are forthcoming including:
Fixed events such as school holidays, birthdays, breaks etc.
Recurring events such as piano lessons, meetings, checkups etc.
Special events such as recitals, presentations, family get-togethers etc.
Self-care time such as booking a nail or hair appointment, a massage or a getaway.
Add in family time such as date nights, movie nights, holidays etc.
3. Choose a specific day to plan and create the space to plan. Sundays are a great day to get your planner in order as it sets your week up nicely but choose a day that is beneficial to you.
4. Don’t forget to track your menstrual cycle. Remember that leaning into the various phases of your cycle can help you manage your weeks far better.
5. And why not add in meal planning while you’re at it on a week by week basis. Reducing that daily 5pm stressor of what you’re going to feed the kids!
Essentially, when planning your weeks or your month, you are looking at getting everything out of your head so that you can visually prepare yourself for the weeks ahead. It means taking the stress out of knowing when things are going to happen, avoiding forgetting those significant important dates, and being able to plan ahead without expelling any extra mental energy.
Planning your month in advance is an absolute game-changer. You can take that step back to see what’s coming up for you and your family in the month and actively recognise the times when you are giving back to yourself by including your self-care time. Intentionally setting aside this space for self-care, medical appointments or beauty appointments means these things will now actually happen (so important!).
In time, as you get more comfortable with planning your month, you can review your goals and easily manage your weeks. You will likely not only reduce your stress but improve your productivity!