Being a mum is bloody hard work. Glorious, but hard.

Raising kids is a full time job and then some. The hours are long, the sense of productivity vague, and the goal posts just keep moving. There are a million things to remember, a million nappies to change, a million jobs to complete… and then the clock resets and it all begins again the next day.

And that’s just the half of it. Women are still shouldering the majority of domestic duties and we’re often working big hours outside the home. It’s a lot. It would be sooooo easy to lose our marbles in the midst of this chaos but it is possible to strike some sort of balance without striving for that impossible-to-attain superhero status. So let’s ditch the lady-wearing-a-cape stereotype and embrace the lady-juggling-lots-but-still-smiling kinda image. If we all do this, we guarantee we’ll all be a lot happier. The question is, do you dare?

Here are our tips for swapping the stress for success…

1. Get backup

The idea that it takes a village to raise a child isn’t just an old adage; it’s a piece of vital wisdom that we have lost sight of in our isolated lives. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve needed to call my mum for advice about anything from teething to getting poo out of the carpet. I’ve realized how invaluable my friends, siblings, and extended family are for the support and practical help I’ve needed to stay sane. Having honest conversations with your partner about parenting and domestic loads can stop us falling into that superwoman trap by sharing roles equitably. Join a mums group. Get insights on parenting forums. Eat lots of chocolate. Learn who and what makes you feel supported and don’t be afraid to use them.

2. Get prioritized

There are countless things that can compete for your attention, but if you’re not clear on what’s important to you, it can be easy to get distracted from your goals. Choose a few things that you want to achieve each week (study? a work project? getting the kids to actually do their chores?) and charge ahead. That way, you’ll do a few things well and not feel like you’re doing a thousand random things semi-well. Accept some stuff won’t get done, move on. It’s a valuable lesson.

3. Get organized

Oh I love being organised! A little bit too much. I pack preschool bags the night before, plan work outfits, have lists coming out my ears and countless meals in the freezer. If I haven’t planned ahead, everything feels off. I learned this the hard way: those early days of parenting versus work juggling saw me constantly late and frazzled, often sporting unwashed hair and mismatched shoes (to be fair, that only happened once!) Being organised helps me delegate, anticipate, and relax. We mums can face anything if we’ve got a clear plan.

4. Get self-caring

It’s easy to lose sight of ourselves when we’ve got so many plates spinning. We’re often lowest on the list of priorities, thinking we’ll get to the self-care when all the other jobs are done… meaning it almost never happens. A well-rested mum is the best kind of mum so slotting in time to do the things you love is essential. Read that book, have that bath, take that African drumming class, whatever! You’ll thank yourself later, promise.

5. Get perspective

Minor things can feel like life or death situations when you’re stressed. Reality is we need to remind ourselves what’s actually important in those moments. Getting to school late won’t be the end of the world, crashing the car in a rush probably would be. Your child’s not out to get you with that epic meltdown, losing your sh*t back at them is less ideal. Self-talk is important: remind yourself to keep your calm, to not take it personally, to choose words of kindness. Find those moments to be grateful. Kiss your babies when they’re sleeping. Remind yourself of the big world beyond you. Perspective can help you keep your cool and retain your sanity.

So best of luck juggling that busy life of yours, mama! It’s hectic, messy and overwhelming at times, but so rewarding, exciting and worthwhile. If you can transform your stress to levels of success, the beautiful chaos of motherhood will be even more joyous.

Author

Hannah Macauley-Gierhart is a mother, writer, teacher, editor, and fiction reader. The joyous bedlam of raising young kids sees her writing at strange hours, drinking lots of tea, and loving the chaos that fuels good prose.

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