The 10 Reminders You Need as a Busy Working Mom
Last week, I forgot to wear deodorant. I know, I know. How does one forget to put on deodorant??
Something about the hustle of getting ready quickly in the morning while the kids are waking up and the baby needs to nurse, causes me to forget one of the most important steps. And what’s worse is that it wasn’t the first time. In fact, it’s become a bit of a habit!
So I decided to put a reminder for myself on a post-it note on my bathroom mirror where I couldn’t NOT see it - DON’T FORGET DEODORANT!
…I haven’t forgotten it since.
If a visual reminder was all it took, I started thinking about what other things I would like to remember that a simple post-it note could help with.
A Reminder to Check-In
I’ve been trying to start a morning practice of asking myself - how are you feeling and what do you need?
It’s my way of meditating since I can never seem to truly commit to a meditation practice. In theory, asking these two questions will help me take some deep breaths, tune out the outside, and listen to my intuition. But I have been inconsistent at best and mostly because I just can’t seem to remember.
So today, I’m creating another post-it reminder to tape up right outside the shower.
No two mornings look alike for me right now with a baby who is learning to sleep. But I do always shower at some point in the morning, and so it’s as good a place as any to check in with myself.
It’s Easy to Forget
As a working mom, or just a mom(!), you are busy. So many schedules and tasks and concerns take up your mental space each day. It’s easy to forget about the things you want to do. The goals, the practices, the habits that you have or want to create for yourself don’t have much of a chance of taking hold with all that other stuff to think about.
So instead of just using notes or post-its to remember that tonight is swim lessons, or this weekend is George’s birthday party and you need to get a gift; why don’t you remind yourself of the other things that are equally as important?
Things that will help you relax, stay grounded, and focus a bit on yourself…
Grab a post-it, put an alarm on your phone, or write yourself a note. Make it visible. Make it consistent. See how you feel with a gentle reminder to focus on you.
1. Move your body
As I ease back into strength and stretching exercises, I’m trying “Movement Mondays” right now. I can’t commit to more than that, but at the very least I want to spend some time focused on my body every Monday night after the kids are asleep. This could be a reminder to stretch, to do a sun salutation, to take a walk, or to do a full-on sweat session. Decide in advance what this reminder is going to be for you so you know what to do when you see it.
2. Take deep breaths
So simple. So easily forgotten. For me, this means 7 breaths with my eyes closed. It’s a great one to do during a stressful transition like getting home from work or when you usually feel tired, like during that afternoon slump. It’s a shortened, yet still effective form of meditating.
3. Drink water
Whether this is already a habit for you or not, it’s a good reminder. My go-to when I’m starting to feel irritable or short on patience is to drink a full glass of water. It instantly makes me feel better.
4. What do you need?
Asking yourself what you need is a really powerful question. It forces you to take a quick audit of how you’re feeling and forces your mind to think of solutions. Don’t answer “I don’t know”. You do know. Maybe you need to take it slow today. Maybe you need some girlfriend time. Maybe you need some extra space or some help. Ask.
5. Check-in with your girlfriends
Friendships, especially with other mom friends, are so easily put on the back burner. Even when I don’t feel like I have the energy to call or meet up with a friend, I always feel better after I do. I make this reminder a priority. It can be as simple as a text message or Voxer message telling your friend you’re thinking about her and hope she’s well. Or it can be a catch-up phone call or an invite to hang out or go for a walk. Make your friendships a priority and don’t forget about them.
6. Get outside
Isn’t it crazy that sometimes you can go for days and not spend any significant time outside? I’m currently reading There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather and it is really forcing me to think about how much time I spend outdoors. Being outside, whether for a walk, to sit on a park bench, or to garden really does wonders for lifting spirits, grounding you, and putting things into perspective. This one is easily forgotten but should be a constant reminder.
Whether it’s a quick list of what you appreciate or are grateful for today, a journal entry, or a plan for your day, I strongly recommend doing a few minutes of writing as often as you can. Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper where you can see them, process them, or take action on them goes a long way toward making life easier. I find this one to be a great phone alarm and for me it goes off in the morning.
8. Turn on music
A good playlist is meant to be enjoyed! Don’t forget to listen to things that suit your mood. Pump up the good jams when you’re happy. Play that moody music when you’re feeling introspective. Check-out of all the thinking and just listen...for one song. You won’t regret it. Set a reminder.
I don’t need a reminder to do this. I love hugs. They make me relax, make me feel better, and remind me that all is right in my life. But maybe that doesn’t come naturally to you. Put a reminder somewhere so you remember to give someone a big hug this week. A friend, your kid, your partner. Use it as a way to relax and to connect.
Do you sometimes forget to smile? It seems crazy that you would need to remind yourself, but it can be an easy one to forget. When you’re stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, smiling doesn’t come naturally. Have you ever heard the quote, “Your joy can be the source of your smile. But sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”? Enough said.
One Change at a Time
Now, you might be tempted to start putting post-it reminders all over your house, your car, your desk. You’ll want to remind yourself to do all of these things. But that’s just going to lead to overwhelm and disappointment.
So instead, look at the list and see if any of these are also personal goals or habits that you’ve been wanting to implement. Start with those. I’m assuming that might be 1-2 ideas from this list.
Give yourself 3 weeks to get used to seeing those post-it notes or phone alarms and taking action when you see them.
If they’re working for you, if they are helping you feel better, then keep going and add another 1 reminder if you have the capacity.
And if a particular reminder is causing stress, drop it. It’s not for you. Try a different one.
This is not a directive. This is a list of ideas to choose from. And it’s all an experiment.
Which reminder are you going to try this week?