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Self Care

the new “to do” list

February 23, 2021

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Every so often, I find myself thinking back to the days before I had Jack and wonder, what the heck was I doing with my time?! I had so much more time! Then I let my thoughts wander to how I spent those days and I release the judgment. I acknowledge I was still incredibly busy before becoming a mom, I just had more choice in when and how I spent my time. I did not have to coordinate my time with my husband and negotiate childcare. I did not have lingering “mom guilt” if I chose to do things that would take me away from Jack. Damn that “mom guilt”!

In the first year of Jack’s life, I was trying to be “Super Woman” and do it all, which of course I couldn’t do. Going back to work after maternity leave was the biggest ass-kicking (mentally and physically) of my life and it took me time to adjust to the new demands of being a working parent. It has been a slow, mindful process to work my way out of that “Super Woman” train of thought and realize no one is asking me to be everything to everyone all the time. Finding a way to honor my commitments to my family and work is a weekly practice. The biggest practice of all is remembering to honor my commitment to myself and prioritizing me.  

Whether or not you have children, pets, or anyone else who depends on you for full-time care, you are still met with the challenge of balancing your time. We have unique needs and demands from work and family and, as women, we often find ourselves on the bottom of the priority list. WTF is that all about?!

In an effort to shift myself back to a higher priority, I have started creating a new type of “to do” list. I do this practice on Sunday nights before I go to bed. I find it helps me sleep better knowing how I have created space for myself and my priorities for the week.

Here is a typical list.

  • Eat to fuel my body and give me energy. Treat it to dark chocolate when I want and without guilt.
  • Move my body out of love to give me energy, mental clarity, and strength 3-4x this week.
  • In the evenings, I will wind down with hot tea Monday through Thursday and wine or whiskey on weekend nights.
  • I will list 7 tasks/priorities for Settle Up, which also includes yoga classes and Beautycounter. Hitting 4 out of 7 means I had a successful week.
    • Why 4? I work my Settle Up business in the evenings and on weekends. I am building in grace for myself in case I need to prioritize rest or time with Jack and Zach.
  • Spend a few nights without television before bed. Read a book instead.
  • Tuesday and Thursday evenings are device free with Jack and Zach.  

Notice this list does not include groceries, chores, or other household related commitments. Yes, those lists exist elsewhere and they are still important and this “to do” list is how I am prioritizing me and my well-being. These are the things that are meaningful to me this week and I know if I follow this list, I will be feel more fulfilled, balanced, and confident.

The other critical element to this new “to do” list is to have grace. If I do not achieve each of these items it does not mean I failed. I will revisit it next week and acknowledge which area needs more attention than I gave it the week before. Acknowledge the miss then release it. I am not “Super Woman.”

This list may look different every week and will be different depending on the season of life you’re in. If you’re a brand new mom maybe the items on your list are:

  • Take a shower!
  • Ask for help to get some alone time to sleep or practice self care.
  • Tell my body ‘I love you‘ and ‘I’m proud of what you can do.’

If you’re contemplating a career shift, your list might include:

  • Journal out the the things that matter to me most in a new role/job.
  • Share your resume with someone to get input and feedback.
  • Meet with a mentor to discuss all of the above!

If you’re pregnant, you might consider adding:

  • Tell my body ‘I love you‘ and ‘You are strong and capable of anything.’
  • Start gathering items for the hospital or home birth.
  • Create space to connect with my partner and share goals for our first year of parenthood.

You get the idea! I hope this helps you identify where and how you can create time to prioritize yourself, even if this specific practice does not speak to you. The intention is to create space to do what brings you joy and balance, and to release the pattern of being on the bottom on your own priority list.

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