Mom Motivation

Most days we find ourselves working round the clock. As mothers (and often fathers!), we are up at the crack of dawn getting ready for the day. We prepare meals, take out everyone’s clothes, and get everybody ready for their day. Chores are endless and there are only 24 hours in a day. Working mothers have two jobs, and any parent knows that being a mother is a full time job in itself, with constant overtime and no vacation days, sick days, or personal time. But it never ends there.

When do we find the time to do everything else? How can we squeeze in appointments, birthdays, play dates, cleaning out the closets, catching up with the latest best seller, or the hundred other things on our “to-do” list? Furthermore, how do we find the time (or energy) to focus on romance and keeping that relationship strong? And what about “Mommy time”? Does it even exist?

I am married with four children. I work full-time from home and then have other jobs I do during the course of the month. Approaching the end of every month, the crunch begins. I have end of the month deadlines that I often find haunting me in the final days of every month because I never found the time throughout the month to complete them. But after the crunch is over and it is the beginning of the next month, I wonder if it is lack of time or lack of motivation that led me to be behind yet again another month?

I have spoken to many mothers who say that they have no motivation to do anything that is not first priority, or I should say, what they consider to be priority at the moment. Helena works full-time out of the home. A single mother, she also does freelance writing to help with the bills. She has attempted countless ways to try to help her get motivated to complete her writing each month, which often falls to the wayside. Helena has asked me to help her get motivated to write her articles.

Renee also works full-time out of the home. Mom of two, she lives with her fiancé and has a hectic schedule with two very active boys. Renee loves to read, but finds it almost impossible to devote any significant time to the Best Seller List. She finds herself sitting in the car while waiting for baseball practice to end, tempted to open that book, but then the phone rings or another mother comes up to the car to chat. So she crawls into bed and manages to open a book (“I’ll just read a few chapters…” turns into an all-nighter) she spends the next day dragging and drained from a lack of sleep. There is no ‘happy medium’.

That online master’s degree program that Jenna signed up for last year looked like the perfect solution to allowing her to complete that degree she has always dreamed of. The benefits of an online program that we have today, while seeming to fit perfectly in Jenna’s life, are being met by the demands of her two toddlers and husband. Jenna really wants to get this degree in motion, but is not motivated enough to get the ball rolling due to being so busy with the kids.

We ALL have good intentions, and the motivating factors behind these things (and others) should be enough to keep us going, but we are often too consumed in the demands of the day that we cannot get to complete what we set out to complete. How can we get motivated and stay motivated?

Here are some things we can try, hoping it helps!

The Buddy System – Exercising, dieting, even spring cleaning, can often be easier to do and stick with when done with a friend. I was most successful in my weight loss goals when my aunt (who was living in the apartment upstairs from me at the time) and I dieted together. We would share recipes, celebrate our successes together, head out grocery shopping (for healthy foods and finds, of course) together, and help each other through our pitfalls together.

Group – Join a book club, and the other ladies in the club will help get you motivated to catch up on your reading. There is more accountability and strength in numbers, and it will be more fun if you can be involved in the discussions and can discuss the books from your own viewpoints if you read the books!

Enlisting the help of your spouse/significant other – Whether your partner is your accountability buddy or if he/she helps out in some of your other chores so that you can complete the tasks you are seeking motivation for, having your spouse/significant other on board with you in your goals always makes things that much easier. As a matter of fact, the whole family should be on board to help out where they can, and having stress lessened in one area can help you manage in other areas.

Reminders / Calendars / To-Do Lists – In the age of technology, I have finally become better at keeping track of things, due to the reminders I set up on my laptop and my blackberry. As I learn of deadlines I need to make, I put them into the calendar feature. I give myself a few days notice to remind me, and the notification is clear enough to remind me. So when I have an article due on Tuesday, I set the reminder alarm to go off on Sunday, giving me two more days to complete it. Unfortunately there is always the option to click the “snooze” button (same problem I always had with alarm clocks each morning since I was younger!), so I cannot be guaranteed to get it done immediately, but at least the reminder is fresh in my mind at all times.

As mothers, we must remember that we are human first, not machines. We are often our biggest critics, and if you can continuously remind yourself that you are doing a great job, it might be motivation enough to keep you going! Good luck!

I originally posted this on Naptime Stories on February 27th, 2010

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