As a parent of a disabled child, I sometimes feel like I’m drowning. Ok, a lot of the times I feel like I’m drowning.
Juggling doctor’s appointments, physical therapy sessions, petitioning insurance companies to cover Callie’s equipment, multiple practices with her inclusive sports teams, and all of the big emotions that each of those experiences can sometimes feel very overwhelming. And that’s on top of all the normal day to day household management!
I’ve spent the last few years really focusing on creating simple rituals, hacks, and time management strategies that I can use to control the chaos, be more organized, and really set us up for the week. The less stressed out I feel—the smoother the week goes!
Here’s my top five rituals as a Mama I do to set us up for the week:
I carve out an hour of my Sunday afternoons to review my calendar. I know ahead of time what doctor’s appointments we have, what sports activities are on deck, when the prescriptions need to be picked up from the pharmacy and ensure that my husband and I are in sync for who needs to do what that week. I also look ahead to the next week and start anticipating any adjustments, pre-planning, or schedule modifications I need to do. I make sure that each day, I’m carving out time to focus on self-care and plotting out when I’m going to get a workout in. Those workouts get treated like any other appointments–I make sure that I make time for them and show up! As a mama, I need to make sure my tank is full so I can feel my best and be able to take care of everyone else.
Sundays are also for meal prep days. I have to have access to healthy options in a crunch and if I don’t make time to prep nutritious meals/snacks….you know I’m going to default to the easier option of ordering from Door Dash. Here’s what I make each week:
Breakfast: Precut fruit for smoothies, Egg Muffins, Protein Pancakes
Lunches: Chipotle Chicken Bowls, Ground Beef with Veggie Medley, Steaks with New Potatoes
Snacks: Protein bites, Greek Yogurt Dips, Veggies with Almond Butter
Generally, it only takes me about an hour and a half to make the week’s options and then I know I’m set up for success. Each option gets put into it’s own individual glass container (we got rid of using plastics!) so all I have to do is grab one and throw it in the appropriate lunch box each morning.
Outfits for the Week
I just started doing this process and can already tell that it’s helping me so much. On Saturdays, I lay out my outfits for the week….and Callie’s too! This gives me time to steam or iron anything I need to instead of doing it at 6AM when I’m frantically trying to run out the door for work. I take everything that I’ve picked out for the week, and it goes on a separate roller rack in my closet along with the corresponding shoes and accessories. There’s no more stress in the morning of “What am I going to wear???” and I know that I have the right outfit for each day’s activities—presentations, clinical visits, meetings with Callie’s counselors or modeling team. Decision fatigue is REAL for a parent (especially a parent of a disabled child) so anything I can do to take away as many of the tiny little decisions as possible to reduce my mental exhaustion is a win. My energy now can go to more important things like focusing on those big audacious goals or spending quality time with my family.
Make a To Do List
Making a to do list isn’t a revolutionary idea. But I approach it a little differently—I break the tasks into “Need to Accomplish” and “Long Term Goals” for the week. This way, I’m tackling the mundane things that I need to tackle each week—picking up the dry cleaning, calling the vet, and scheduling Callie’s haircut but I’m also moving the needle each week on our larger long-term goals. I can stay aware of where I should be spending my time and it highlights areas where I can outsource things (hello Instacart grocery delivery). I also have started incorporating a “theme” for the week—it might look like focusing more on stillness, or getting outside more, or giving back. I try to find ways to weave that unique intention in as I check things off my list!
Detoxing Your Space
There is nothing nicer than an email inbox at zero and a home that’s tidy. I’ve found for us; we thrive in a clean and organized space. I’m a firm believer that clutter in your space equates to clutter in your mind! I spend part of the weekend clearing out the “mess” that can accumulate through the week—both digitally and in real life. Everything gets a wipe down, the laundry gets done, email inbox is cleared, the junk mail on the counter is tossed, dishes are done, and everything is put in it’s assigned place. A less cluttered space helps me more at ease, relaxed, and excited for the week ahead.
From one busy parent to another……I hope some of these hacks help–let me know if you try them!!