A Better Balance

For years I have told myself that I need better balance in my life. I wish I had a consistent, connected relationship with family and friends. It would be great to bake every week and make popsicles, snacks and smoothies always from scratch. I know I’m one in thousands that feel this way.

Although, my anxiety to change the course of actions or guilt when I choose to clean and catch up around the house instead of engaging with my daughter; might just all stem, in part, from a lack of balance. Most people just say that I, like a lot of moms, am being to hard on myself.

How do we alter each day to have the benefits of balance in life?

I used to work with someone that mapped out every single thing she did in a day when you asked what she did the day before. Right down to reading, driving home and brushing her teeth. It was always a huge list and made her sound like superwoman, to some. It seemed like she was competing for a title or needing some type of validation.

In all reality, there are 15 hours+ that I am awake each day. Having these types of things complete has an impact on our overall feelings of productivity and moving forward but I feel it’s mostly an adult being active and responsible for her life. Now add children to the mix and really become superwoman..

We shouldn’t get caught up in defining ourselves by tasks! Accomplishments, sure. Experiences, inevitably.

At the end of the day everyone has made their own way through in tiny or huge increments of choices, events and moments. I believe that we all create a balance within each days tasks, somehow. I want to achieve a better overall balance over a period of time, say over the course of a week or every month.

Now having a routine, and thinking about change, has mapped out possibilities in small slots of time to rework my day and maintain a better balance. So in these 5 minute intervals I need to schedule in these new priorities. By making each day of the week slightly different I could most likely fit in family, crafts, cooking new things, activities, chores and quality time with my family. It sounds a bit too ambitious now, but if I do it right and don’t sweat over the small stuff I think I can be flexible in making it work. Obviously when you have children even a routine is unpredictable, but here it goes.

I think the best way to start is to recognize the natural schedule your child is on and things you are already having to do. Such as naps, meals and programs.

7:30am: wake up
8:00-8:30: breakfast
8:30ish: potty time
8:45-10:00am: active play- walk, park, toys at home or play date, crafts
10:30: snack
10:30-12:30: errands, cleaning, library or Kindermusik (depending on the day of the week)
12:30-1:00: lunch
1:00-2:00: quiet time and reading
2:00-3:30: naptime; mommy tidies up, cleans, makes phone calls, writes
3:30: potty and snack
3:45-4:30: walk or play; depending on weather
4:30-5:00: make dinner; depending on my daughters mood- I put on tv so I can make dinner
5:00-5:45ish: dinner
5:45-7:00: play, read, family time
7:00: bedtime routine- toys away, warm milk, brush teeth, potty and a book, bath, little game while I dry and put on pyjamas, in bedroom we cuddle/talk about day/look out window to say goodnight, kisses
8:00: bed
8:00-10:30: mommy time to spend with daddy, make lunches, clean kitchen, set up for next mornings’ activities, computer work, shower

Monday: vacuum, floors
Tuesday: library, wash bathrooms
Wednesday: play date or outdoor activity, vacuum
Thursday: Kindermusik, meal planning and grocery list with flyers
Friday: groceries, dust
Saturday: laundry, vacuum
Sunday: cook snacks and as many meal items for the week, family time

Now to start writing in things that I would like to do. Brainstorm time…
• Call and/or visit family and friends: (apart from play dates) call one person every week to say hi and visit with someone once per month. Alternate/rotate between everyone.

• Search and put together busy bags or a new game: on a Monday, every three months. I could maybe involve my daughter in collecting items.

• Search and make new snacks/meals: Fridays I could search for ideas to use for following week. Make one new thing every Wednesday, with daughter.

• Exercise: Every morning after breakfast (9:30ish) dance for one song then stretch and floor exercises with weights, even pilates or yoga, with my daughter. 15-20 minutes total.

To help these new habits along I’m going to set reminders in my Mind jogger app. I think I’m going to set reminders for potty time as well. Some days I feel I’m failing my daughters potential for progress.

Do you alter your routines once summer is here? Or is it just about switching activities around and maybe eating outside?

I’ll be winging it and hope for the best. Although I strongly feel, and have witnessed, that children with regular routines or a type of structure each day are secure in what to expect and seem to sleep better which also aids in being active learners. (If my run on sentence makes any sense than great)
Hopefully this new found balance and altered schedule makes me a more relaxed, present, fulfilled woman which will trickle down to everyone around me.
Wish me luck.

Take care.

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Spring Treasure: First things First

So, for winter it sure is mild and rainy. Its scary, thought provoking and unstable what is happening with mother nature all over the world. Don’t get me wrong, winter is not my favourite season so I am quite glad that it’s not freezing and hard to get around.
Wednesday was the type of day, weather wise, that I look out the window with concentration on how I want my outdoor space to look and function. What needs to be fixed, what plans do I want to carry out, what are the priorities and which will I focus my budget and attention on first.
Also, there are cracks that shine a little “ooww… we can go to the zoo, lie in the grass, get ice cream from the caboose by that forest trail”.

This is MY internal road map to a Spring day dream and readiness plan.

As daunting as some of this weather is; I see it as inspiration and the perfect time to put together my game plan.
Usually February is the coldest month and I feel that I just want to be done with winter. But, this is also a great opportunity to lift spirits and use your time spent indoors wisely.

All that being said, here is a sampling of what I list within my road map and some suggestions to get the ball rolling on what you want to do when the hibernation period ends.

1} I have a folder that I keep a collection of pamphlets and/or magazine articles for products, themes, places, plant guides, techniques and really anything that catches my eye.
I like to look through this first to spark my memory and put perspective on what my real passions are going to be this year.

2} I place whatever I have chosen out on the table, then start to make a brainstorming list.
While jotting this list down I keep in mind my space, my daughter, potential gatherings, lifestyle changes, my budget, time allowance as well as how I want to feel while I am using this space.
So far, my list looks as follows:
Front yard
• mulch
Back yard
• make curtains for sunny side of pergola
• plant ground cover, possibly creeping Jenny or lemon thyme, at side of deck/house
• in veg garden: peas, tomatoes, zucchini, flowers
• a fruit bush
• a Japanese maple at back and grasses or bamboo along fence for privacy and drainage.
• choose a space for Sofia- get the sandbox with an umbrella picnic table
• fix grass patches- sod or seed ??
Activities
• Sofia chooses something to take care of and plant
• sign her up for Sportball program
• family camping weekend
( this list is huge, so I won’t bore you)
Me
• “date” my husband; have a once a month adult only date
• shop my closet and choose 5 clothing items to repurpose into something else
• purge and organize photography magazines into 1 book; just choose what articles I want to keep

3} Once you have your main visions down, take it all in. Go back to it a few times.
Fine tune, delete, add specific notes. You’ll want to also break it down into a timeline in terms of priority.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You could just number each point at the side or highlight in different colours and jot down at the top which colour represents what. You could span the projects out throughout the summer as well.

This really helps me to not miss something. Life is busy and full of surprises, so I make lists for everything.

Plus, as soon as the sun is warm, growth is poking through the dirt and it is mild enough for sweaters and raincoats; we will be spending every moment possible exploring outside.

In all honesty, I probably won’t accomplish everything on this list. Nevertheless, I will strive to. I will start with what’s important and from there I will live in the moment, focus and enjoy the life around me.

I hope this is helpful in recognizing and focussing your potential projects.

For inspiration and added guidance, check these out:
• Pinterest- search Dawn or carpediemmama
•http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/preschool-outdoor.htm
• search your citys’ visitor and local events page. We also have an Activities guide distributed each season that lists programs and classes held at the local libraries, markets and community centres. Maybe this is the year for Mommy to take that art class or dance lesson. Think about yourself, not just the kids.
• If you want a garden, but don’t have a yard; look for a Community Garden near you. They’re great!

FYI~ I will have many posts throughout this month and following through to the end of April within this Spring Treasure collection. Keep an eye out for a calendar of events for this season and what to expect for when these posts will start up again in September.
Thank you for reading.

Loving These; favourites cafe

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A favourites cafe ; CHEERS!

Grab a tea or coffee (beer or wine) and check out my Favourites Cafe.

“Loving these” will be a regular posting once a month, possibly more often if I am highly inspired that month. My favourites will consist of apps, books, food, places, products, crafts: you name it. It might even be one of your posts that I could desperately want to pass on.
I will also make it a bit more interesting by having Theme Months corresponding with holidays and/or seasons.
Since its a cafe; I’d also love to hear your picks!
Salud!

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