May
19

AIP Week One

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Last post, I mentioned that I was going to do the Paleo Auto-Immune Protocol. Shortly thereafter, I did start the program, but was derailed after a few days because I came down with the flu. It has taken me two weeks to recover from that. I re-started the program again this week and will be on strict AIP for 4-6 weeks, until I can begin re-introducing foods.

Here’s the menu I’m eating this week.  Because most of the AIP recipes online are for four people, and I’m doing breakfast and lunch alone and trying to combine dinner with the family, you will see me eating a lot of leftovers.  I will also be stocking the freezer for future meals to make staying on AIP for the 4-6 weeks easier.

You’ll notice that while I am sticking strictly to AIP, I am not sticking to low-carb.  I have decided to try AIP as-is for now, and later if I see I need to reduce my carbs, then I can do so.  AIP does restrict processed foods and all sugars, so the squash and the dates are the highest carb items I’m eating.  Overall, I do think I’m getting less carbs than I would be getting if I were eating a gluten-free diet that included grains or baked goods.

I’m also eating ferments at every meal.  Kraut, pickles, dilly carrots and other items.  At least 1/4 cup per lunch and dinner, and a little on the side when I have a savory breakfast such as the breakfast skillets.

 

Monday

  • Breakfast Skillet– ground beef, mushrooms, spinach, thyme and rosemary
  • Cauliflower Alfredo over spaghetti squash with diced, grilled pork.  The alfredo was made with coconut milk, nutritional yeast and chicken stock to stay on AIP.  Doubled with half frozen for later meals.
  • No lunch today, I slept in, ate a late breakfast and a huge, early dinner.

Tuesday

  • Leftover Breakfast Skillet with some cauliflower alfredo over the top.
  • Leftovers of an AIP dish I made on Sunday that I would not make again.  🙁
  • Taco meat (garlic, salt and onion powder only) wrapped in plantain tortillas with a side salad and black olives with AIP Ranch.  The tortillas are very good, I will be getting more plantains and making these for the freezer next week.
  • Strawberry Lemonade Ice Cream with no sweetener other than the fruit- kids liked this.

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Bacon and baked butternut squash pureed with coconut cream.  The butternut squash puree is actually already in my freezer from this Fall, so I am making good use of it for AIP.  I baked the squash until tender and pureed it with coconut oil and coconut cream from Wilderness Family Naturals.
  • Garlic Soup
  • Leftovers for dinner

Friday

  • Breakfast sausage- ground pork, thyme, sage, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt, fried into patties.  I found ground pork on a major mark-down because it expires soon, so I bought four pounds and will be putting cooked sausage patties into the freezer.
  • Butternut squash
  • Bacon wrapped dates and a salad
  • Leftovers for dinner

Saturday

  • Leftover sausage and butternut squash
  • Grilled steak with a big salad
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Paleo wrap with salad, AIP Ranch and smoked salmon on a picnic.



I'm KerryAnn Foster. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband, Jeff, and our two kids, a teen and a tween. I blog here at Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods). I blog about Paleo, beauty, health, family, homeschool and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond. I have over sixteen years of real food and natural lifestyle and health experience.

I am also an It Works! Global Triple Diamond Independent Distributor. I love that crazy wrap thing! I have been extremely happy with how the It Works Products have tightened up my loose skin and healed my stretch marks after losing 179 pounds and having a 10-pound baby.

Read about my journey to health through celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals.
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Apr
30

What if God Gave You a Do Over?

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Refining fire? Trial? No thanks, Lord, I’m perfectly comfortable where I am!

At times, I have laid in bed at night and wondered what I would do if I became sick again, what I would do differently, how I would have made the healing process go quicker, easier and not have to struggle so much. How would I handle a Do Over?

That time has come.

Today, my job is to praise God in this storm. I move forward, trying to be transparent and humble. So often, bloggers present a perfect front and what we really need is people who pull off the plastic persona and are real, raw and honest. This hurts. It doesn’t feel fair. But it is here.

A series of events has unfolded going back to the car wreck I was in in January that has pushed me back into old territory. Back into ground I had already covered. Backtracking is a painful, terrible, messy thing. It’s scary. It’s hurts to lose the freedom you’ve found and the normalicy you’ve gained after being so sick. So much of my life has changed since I became ill with celiac in 2006. As part of that process I’ve found strength I didn’t know I had, I’ve found a life I never imagined for myself. But like most trials, it’s two steps forward, one step back in a very long process. This time, it’s several steps back.

I’ve also developed new problems I never expected or anticipated. I am experiencing anaphylactic reactions to latex, a new problem, along with OAS to latex-related foods. Latex is EVERYWHERE. Your clothing, furniture and your computers most assuredly have latex in them. Even your food, as many places still wear latex gloves on food processing lines. Even unprocessed fruits and vegetables that get picked, packaged and shipped can be handled with latex gloves, provoking a reaction.

So this week, I go on the paleo auto immune protocol and go back onto my gut healing protocol- digestive enzymes, probiotics, Betaine Hcl and digestive clay. The same supplement protocol I used in 2006. Long term, I see myself on a version of the paleo diet as a life long maintenance issue.

I’m also taking steps to reduce my stress, allow my body to heal quickly, and be able to function in the meantime. We resume homeschooling in the Fall, we are in the middle of changing churches, a major house remodel, and more. We are eyeball deep in a season of change, and change is messy, difficult, consuming and necessary. Very, very necessary.

This is honestly the least stress I’ve had on myself in many years, but I still find myself working to reduce my schedule and taking time to care for myself. Daily prayer, praise, exercise and planning/cooking for the AIP diet are the cornerstones of that stress reduction. A positive attitude is necessary in all healing.

The Lord knew this was coming; it was no surprise to Him. And the Lord crafted just what we needed for this time. We have a home business in It Works that supports us and allows us to own our time with great flexibility, and medical practitioners whom we trust to help us through this. I am also making a conscious effort to look outside of myself. Focus on helping others during this struggle, to keep my eyes off of myself. I don’t know why I’ve been chosen to face this trial again, but I know my Lord knows why. My job is to trust His plan, and light the way for others who come behind.

What the Lord has planned for us is always better than what we had planned for ourselves.

Today, I will praise God in the storm.




I'm KerryAnn Foster. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband, Jeff, and our two kids, a teen and a tween. I blog here at Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods). I blog about Paleo, beauty, health, family, homeschool and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond. I have over sixteen years of real food and natural lifestyle and health experience.

I am also an It Works! Global Triple Diamond Independent Distributor. I love that crazy wrap thing! I have been extremely happy with how the It Works Products have tightened up my loose skin and healed my stretch marks after losing 179 pounds and having a 10-pound baby.

Read about my journey to health through celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals.
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Mar
03

From Chaos to Order – Challenge Six

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I’ve taken a bit of a break in the series because so many of you on the Facebook Discussion Group seemed to be still on Challenge Three as it was taking more time than you expected.  Today, we’ll pick up with challenge six.

 

Your Method Looks Great, But…

Kids.  Yes, you have kids.  I do, too.

I get it.  You don’t think it’s possible to ever get onto a schedule because you homeschool, you have small children, you have kids that come home at 2:30 in the afternoon and wreck everything you’ve done. Why bother?

Children are not deal-breakers.  They are deal-modifiers.  Women have been working with children beside them for many years.  The trick is to figure out how to make it work for your family while you still get your work done.

 

The Problem

I have written, and re-written and written this post again.  I don’t want it to come off as snarky or anything less than understanding.  I know what it’s like to be a mom with small kids and feel like you aren’t accomplishing anything and your life is passing by because for everything you get done, they create another hour or two’s worth of work. And as soon as you are done washing dishes, someone sits another dirty plate in the sink. It never ends.

So please don’t take this post the wrong way.  I’m trying to help you determine what works for you.

 

Mom’s Influence

As the mom, you set the tone for the home, and you also are the decision maker about what goes on in the home.  Outside of a child who is special needs, your guidance should control the children’s behaviour, not the other way around.  Turning that around can be amazingly tough work.

Mom, it is your job to teach the kids from an early age to not be destructive, but constructive, while limiting their ability to destroy anything indiscriminately AND giving them items they can explore (read: destroy) in ways that are both safe for them AND fill their need to be busy.  Toddlers, especially, have a huge need to explore, and a ton of energy to expend on it.

To that end, with younger children, I strongly recommend you limit their ability to ‘explore’ (read: destroy) the majority of the house.  A series of baby gates combined with a child-proofed, safe room with plenty of explore-worthy things that are easily contained or picked up is the way to go.  Plainly put, if they are making more of a mess than you can reasonably clean, then you need to limit their ability to make those messes.

Then keep them with you at all times when they’re in an area in which they could make a mess.

I’ve been known to fold laundry on a table higher than they can reach while distracting them with toys, leave it there, then quickly put it away once they’re asleep.  Things that didn’t need to be folded, like washrags, took up permanent residence in a bin out of their reach in the bathroom. I would let them ‘help’ me fold that, so they felt a part of the process and could explore it. Underwear and undershirts got stuffed into drawers after being sorted into piles and play folded with the toddlers.

In warm weather, feed them wearing only a diaper. Keep them out of every bedroom except the room in which they sleep, and have that childproofed. This is especially important if you have older kids have that toys on which they could choke, such as Legos. Take them outside to let them destroy in the sandbox, or on a water table on the porch, or the like.  Let them make LOTS of messes.  Outside.  Run around, get messy, burn the energy. In the winter, let them make LOTS of messes.  In the bathtub.  Take them to an indoor play area and let them run themselves out. Be sure you’re fulfilling their desire to both explore and to be busy in ways that are not overwhelming to you.  Let them wear themselves out.  Then put them in a sling on your back and get busy getting your work done.

I found it was far better to drive to an indoor play area and let them wear themselves out than to stay at home and try to work- in the grand scheme of things, I got about the same amount of work done, but we were both happier if they had had time to run themselves out first.

 

Reasonable Expectations

To that end, it is important that you have reasonable expectations as to what you can and can not accomplish with children in the home, and come up with creative solutions to minimize their mess-making abilities.  This will change as your children grow.

However, sometimes the problem isn’t working with a child’s natural tendencies, but of how the child is being directed as they grow. If older children are running rough-shod over mom, wrecking everything and the needs of the adults in the family are being completely ignored and the adults are wasted of their energy due to a litany of bad behavior, you need to start there, as no schedule will fix children who have not been taught kindness and consideration.  A schedule will be a tool to help THEM, not you.

If you have special needs children, you are best to use a routine and not a schedule, as your child’s needs can be unpredictable, and should take the priority.

However, if your children are just being normal kids and will allow you to guide the way, you have some options to make this type of a lifestyle work for you.

First, you can run the schedule while they are at school.  Or, if you homeschool, you can run the schedule during the day after school is done.  Or flip it- run the schedule in the morning and do school mid-morning and afternoon if that fits your children better.  When we return to homeschooling this Fall, that will be what we do, as I have a child who strongly prefers to sleep until 9am and her brain doesn’t function until 10am.  My schedule will run from 6-10, then resume once school is done for the day.

Second, you can run a routine instead of a schedule.  This works particularly well if you’re dealing with the time-suck that is known as a toddler.  Small children have no concept of time at all.  In order to accomplish this, double the amount of time you think a project would take as a guideline, and do everything as a routine instead.  We will cover routines very soon.  For now, get everything on paper, and instead of blocking out time, just work on the most important thing as much as you can until it’s done, then move to the next important thing, taking breaks as needed to care for the kids and handle normal meals and naps/bedtime.

 

Make A Mix

You can also mix routine and schedule, which is what I personally do to some extent.  I have a daily routine that I start my workday with for things that are done every day, then move into a schedule once the routine is done.  This allows me the flexibility of both methods, while minimizing the time limitations that having a family can give.

Yesterday was a particularly stressful day.  I live in a heavily-wooded suburban neighborhood and the neighbor’s garage caught on fire. Fire can VERY easily jump from house to house in this type of a neighborhood. We have a very tense few hours in the middle of the afternoon, waiting to find out if our house would be at risk, if we would be evacuated, and if our neighbors were alive.  I stopped my routine while we waited.  Once things were over (no one was home at the time, they were finally able to contain the fire even though the neighbors suffered a total loss), I was able to finish my routine before readjusting my schedule and moving on for the day.

Normally my routine covers the beginning of the day, but on days where it gets delayed due to appointments, sickness or emergency, I just pick up the routine when I can and move onto the schedule once the routine is done.  If there are no more hours in the day that day, I simply push those items back on the calendar and reorganize.

 

So the key to working this with children is to create a flexible routine with some scheduling towards the period of the day where their love cup is full and you can get things done.

 

I have made some videos for my It Works business about working your home-based business around your children.  But really the concept works no matter what you’re working on, paid business or not. These principles also apply to doing projects at home.

 




I'm KerryAnn Foster. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband, Jeff, and our two kids, a teen and a tween. I blog here at Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods). I blog about Paleo, beauty, health, family, homeschool and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond. I have over sixteen years of real food and natural lifestyle and health experience.

I am also an It Works! Global Triple Diamond Independent Distributor. I love that crazy wrap thing! I have been extremely happy with how the It Works Products have tightened up my loose skin and healed my stretch marks after losing 179 pounds and having a 10-pound baby.

Read about my journey to health through celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals.
Categories : Sanity Savers
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Feb
10

From Chaos to Order – Challenge Five

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In Challenge four, we went through our brain dump list and scheduled anything that had a specific date attached to it.  We also blocked out time for self-care, and set time according to our priorities, with margin built in. Don’t forget, if you’d like to join in on the discussion, join our Facebook Group.

 

Calendar Check

If you have any empty time on your calendar for the week, go through and assign it a priority- husband, kids, job, home, etc…  Don’t forget to put in adequate time for errands and shopping, meal planning and food preparation for every meal you fix at home.

All of your time should be blocked out to a priority except time for sleep and margin.  For me, that means my day is blocked out from the time the kids leave for school (because we have a morning routine that doesn’t change to get them out the door) until after dinner’s dishes are done, Monday to Friday. Weekends except some calls for my job are left free for family projects or in-home parties/events for my business.

If at all possible, leave thirty minutes on Sunday afternoon or evening open for a quick calendar exercise.  But I highly recommend you take the rest of Sunday off unless it’s an ox-in-the-ditch type of situation like laundry due to a stomach virus in the house.  Everyone needs a break, even mama.  Break out the paper plates on Sundays, eat leftovers and give yourself some desperately needed rest.  We love Sunday afternoons for family time and complete rest. Plan on completing your important work during the week, and take one down day each week to relax and recharge.  It isn’t lost time, it’s happy mama time because mama’s brain and body needs a break, too.

 

Well Begun, Half Done

Go through your brain dump list and look for the simple projects that are half-completed or more, except for things on your job.  Items already in progress that would take you less than 2-3 hours to complete and get off of your plate. Place those in your calendar, according to their category.  It is very motivating to get those projects in progress completed.

I create a category on my to do list that is called ‘scheduled.’  This allows me to have a place to store those line items, and check them off as they are completed. When I schedule things, I move them to that category.

I don’t recommend you do this for your job. I recommend you strictly work on projects via due date for your business, so you don’t accidentally miss a due date and have a problem with co-workers or your boss.  However, if your job is reasonably flexible or you don’t have any pressing deadlines, go ahead and work the half-completed projects first.

 

Consistent Work for Ongoing Projects

If you have a long-term project with weekly, monthly or quarterly hard deadlines, such as filing taxes, committee reports or teaching a class, schedule in the needed amount of time each week to get those things done.  If your calendar offers it, you can set that time block to automatically repeat weekly or monthly, as you need it.  I use Cozi as my calendar application and it works very well for repeat scheduling. I spend two hours on financials and taxes once a week to do the household budget, pay bills and to scan and record tax deductible receipts and work on the 2014 taxes.

If you are behind on this commitment, such as you know April 15th is coming for taxes and you have a lot to do to be ready, take that time block to consistently work on the project weekly (daily or monthly) to get caught up.  If you’re seriously behind, allot and extra hour or two each time or create a second time block during the week on a different day to work on it, as well.

After all, when it comes to doing your taxes, working on it 3 hours a week for the next three months sounds far more appealing than an 40 hour marathon that starts April 5th.  You’ll also be less prone to make mistakes from exhaustion (or your eyes crossing from looking at numbers) with the small, consistent bites.

 

Timing

Figure out how much time you’ll need to complete each project and add 20-25%.  If I think a single task is going to take an hour, I block out an hour and 15 minutes for it.  If I think a full project is going to take 10 hours, I schedule 12 for it over the course of the week or two. That allows for set up, clean up or something taking longer than you anticipated.  If you begin to notice you’re consistently over- or under-estimating how long each project would take, adjust accordingly.

If a project is going to take more than one day’s block for a priority, I divide it between days to ensure it gets finished before moving on.

 

 

Set It Down, Walk Away

It is SO freeing to know you can set a project down and walk away, even a big one where you’re really far behind, instead of burning yourself out on marathon sessions.  If you’re really behind, schedule two work blocks during the week instead of one, until you are caught up, then move to one block a week to stay caught up.

What normally happens?  People get behind and pull a marathon to get caught up.  But then they make themselves sick of it, and they allow themselves to get behind again because they have burnt themselves out.  It becomes a vicious cycle of dreading this HUGE project, avoiding it until the last minute, doing a marathon to get caught up, then letting themselves fall behind again.  This style of scheduling breaks this cycle.

You can do ANYTHING for one hour once a week.  Set the timer and get moving on it.  Blast loud music, sing at the top of your lungs, dance around the house, do whatever you have to do to convince yourself to make that one hour productive, then walk away from it until you have it scheduled again.  I will readily admit to blasting music and singing along while I scan and file tax receipts and do the deep cleaning, two of the necessary chores I hate the most. You will gradually move yourself out of burn-out mode and into consistently staying caught up if you are consistent and stick to your calendar.

 

Big Deal

Next, once your half-completed and ongoing projects are scheduled, sort everything remaining in your brain dump into categories named:

  • Big Deal
  • Important
  • It Can Wait A Bit
  • Some Day
  • Shopping Lists

So you have seven categories in all, as ‘Brain Dump’ and ‘Scheduled’ are also categories.  For each brain dump item, move them into one of these categories.  If you’re doing this on paper, you might want to place the numbers one to four beside them to help you sort before re-writing the lists.

Try to only place one or two items from each priority into Big Deal.  This helps to cut down on the amount of overwhelm you’re feeling.  Look at your list and really pick out what is most important, most pressing and start there.  Even though it can feel like it, especially on your job, not everything is top priority.  Pick the items with the closest due dates for your job.

If your program allows for sub-projects or headers within your categories, take all components of an item and group them together. For example, the living room remodel you are planning might be under ‘It Can Wait A Bit,’ and you might have ‘buy paint’ and ‘pick out new lamps’ both as part of that project in the sub-group.

For shopping lists, you can further break them down by store or project.  For groceries, I keep a running list of everything we normally purchase in each store, and check or uncheck it as we need it or buy it without ever archiving completed items.  That makes it quick and easy to add things to the shopping list and review it before shopping day.  But I also have shopping lists that require items to be budgeted in or future planning, so I have two types of lists going under the shopping category.

 

One Week of Work

Now that you have everything sorted, return to your Big Deal category and see if you have any remaining time in the week in which to begin scheduling out your top priorities.  If your Big Deal projects are something big, like ‘pack up the house to move,’ then you need to break that down into small increments.  Each bite gets its own line item and time allotment.  A good example would be:

Pack Up The House

  • Pack up non-essential dishes and small appliances in the kitchen
  • Pack up the out of season clothes for the kids
  • Sort through in-season clothing for Goodwill donations
  • Clean out the pantry and donate excess food to the food bank
  • Pack up the dining room china and serving dishes
  • Buy paper plates, cups, forks and spoons
  • Pack up the pictures on the walls
  • Pack up the knick-knacks

Now take each item in the order they should be completed in and schedule time for it for this week (don’t forget your extra 20%!) until your time blocks are full. Move the scheduled items to the ‘scheduled’ category. Once your week is full, leave the rest of the project in the Big Deal category and allow it to sit until next week.  Only consider scheduling time that is set aside for margin if you have too much work to possibly accomplish up against a hard deadline.

 

I Don’t Know Where to Start

If one week is too much for you, just schedule out today or maybe two or three days. Schedule it all according to your priority list. The point of this isn’t to overwhelm you and make you feel like you’re behind, but instead of help you see clearly what your priorities are, what your deadlines are and where your time and attention should best be focused.  It is a tool, not a slave-driver. Make it work for you.

 

Coming up, I’ll talk about making this system fit around kids with their unpredictable demands, show you how to back-engineer projects, do a daily brain dump, how to organize weekly going forward, and more.

 

 

Photo credit- From Chaos to Order by Sebastien Weirtz on Flickr




I'm KerryAnn Foster. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband, Jeff, and our two kids, a teen and a tween. I blog here at Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods). I blog about Paleo, beauty, health, family, homeschool and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond. I have over sixteen years of real food and natural lifestyle and health experience.

I am also an It Works! Global Triple Diamond Independent Distributor. I love that crazy wrap thing! I have been extremely happy with how the It Works Products have tightened up my loose skin and healed my stretch marks after losing 179 pounds and having a 10-pound baby.

Read about my journey to health through celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals.
Categories : Sanity Savers
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10248755515_17ac421dea_m

On Wednesday, we did a major brain dump onto paper.  Getting everything out onto paper does you no good if you don’t DO anything with it, so today we begin the process of doing something with everything we’ve written out. Don’t forget, if you’d like to join in on the discussion, join our Facebook Group.

 

Hard Deadlines

First, go through your brain dump list and find anything that has a specific date or deadline connected to it.  Move those items to your calendar, including time needed to prep for those items.  For example, if your child has an invitation to a birthday party on Saturday, you would place the party time on the calendar, and you would block out 15 minutes to RSVP early in the week.  If you could text the RSVP instead, do so right now. If you teach a class, mark out the time you’re in class, and appropriate prep-time in the days beforehand.

Mark these items off as you place them on the calendar.  They are now out of the way and you don’t have to worry about them until it’s time to handle them. They are officially off your plate, you just have to pay attention to your calendar to know what to do when.

 

Straight Talk for Moms

Next, you’re going to schedule in some time each day for self-care.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?  After all, when the airplane plummets and the air masks drop out of the ceiling, you have to put your own mask on before you can help others with theirs, even your own children.  You can’t adequately take care of your family when you’re totally neglecting yourself, and you’re setting one heck of a bad example to your kids in the process.

Let me be clear- this is not indulgence, this is self-preservation.  We’re mothers, not martyrs. Your children shouldn’t see your wrecking your own health for the sake of their whims or their fun. No child should think they have an expendable parent. Their mental health doesn’t benefit when you’re always strung out tired, irritable and cranky. They should see you seeking balance.

I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, and the cultural pressure is strong to make everything perfect for your kids and sacrifice yourself in the process.  But it isn’t Godly, nor is it the right example.  Unless your overwhelm comes from something like massive upheaval or illness of someone in the family, you are likely in this situation of being overwhelmed at least in part because you’re not taking care of yourself and giving yourself appropriate margin. And if you’re in massive upheaval due to family illness or emergency, you need self-care to help preserve yourself and your strength to see your family through this trial.

Schedule in your showers and bedtime. Food and time to prepare it comes next. Adequate sleep and regular, nutritious meals are your best ally to get you through overwhelm mode and out the other side. Even with eating real food, I try not to spend more than 30 minutes prepping any one meal.  There are plenty of real food dishes you can do without a ton of prep work.  If you can block out an hour or two when you come home from the grocery store each week, you can prepare things then to help cut down on that prep time even more.

I know a set bedtime is difficult if your children are small.  Many women fall into the ‘me time’ trap of staying up wayyyy too late at night on Facebook after a hard day with the kids to vent and commiserate.  I know, I’ve been there.  Mama, you’re only hurting yourself by not getting enough sleep.  Without enough sleep, you become impatient, irritable and you’re already in overwhelm mode before your child even wakes up for the day.  Every small thing becomes another irritation because your ability to cope is low, if it exists at all.

Consider setting a bedtime no later than 10-10:30 each night.  This allows your adrenals to rest and recharge, and gives you a better advantage to getting out of overwhelm mode.  Sleep is one of the most critical factors to getting out of overwhelm mode, and if you don’t’ get adequate sleep, chances are high you will not be able to overcome the issue and dig yourself out.

Block out enough time at night to get adequate rest.  If this means you’re up and down with a baby or toddler at night, you block out 10 hours for that.  Go to bed earlier if necessary.  The dishes will wait, I promise, and when you do get to them, you will have a FAR better attitude about it.  Many women have observed they feel more rested if they sleep from 10-6 versus 12-8.  It’s something about circadian rhythm and adrenals.

Showers are necessary– when you’ve had a shower within the last 24-48 hours, you just feel better.  Cleanish clothing, too.  Block out a little time before the kids get up or after they go to bed to shower, even if it’s just a very fast, 15 minute shower.  If your husband can watch them, 30 minutes.  Better yet, you take the shower while he puts the kids to bed if he is home in the evenings.

Don’t forget to brush your teeth and comb your hair while you’re in there, too. In the mornings, get a routine down where you comb your hair and brush your teeth with the kids.

While we’re talking about you, when was the last time you got a break from the kids?  Or had a date with the hubby?  Had sex?  Did something with that hobby you haven’t touched since your oldest was born?  Schedule in some margin time.  Give yourself a break.  If you don’t have regular breaks, you’re more likely to go back into overwhelm mode.

Yes, it’s hard when you have kids at home and have yourself pulled in a million directions.  But it’s going to be harder when your kids leave home and you realize you’re living with a stranger with whom you have little in common.  Make time to connect NOW, so you don’t wake up beside a stranger in ten or twenty years.  That’s part of having margin, and providing your own happiness.

 

Priorities

Next, look at your priority list, and block out time for your priorities in their order.  For example, if God is your top priority, you will want to block out time for your worship services and daily prayer or Bible reading.  If your husband, you would want to consider a date night or at least scheduling some time during the week for intimacy.  Then work your way down your priority list.

For my, our church times are blocked out, as is my time each morning for prayer and Bible reading.  I have time blocked out each week to spend with my husband. I block out any needed doctor’s appointments and other one-time needs that require appointments. I block out the needed time for self-care, meals and cleaning. Then the kid’s activities and school needs are blocked out and assigned to the appropriate adult.  My job is then blocked around their activities and time for my husband.

We will block out what to do during your job/cleaning/flexible times later in the week.  For now, just earmark time to each thing according to its priority.

 

Family Margin

Also schedule in some daily margin as a family.  Personally, my daily schedule stops each day at 7pm, which for us is the end of after dinner clean-up, so if anything got backed up during the day, I have adequate time and space in which to accomplish it, and I’m available for whatever the kids might need for homework or special projects.

If you homeschool or your children aren’t yet school age but don’t nap, I highly recommend you schedule in an hour of quiet time during the afternoon.  If your kids are old enough to stay in their own rooms and play quietly without supervision, do so.  If your children aren’t yet able to be unsupervised in their room, do quiet activities like reading to them or put them in a safe zone while you rest.

I strongly recommend you don’t run your schedule for 6am to 10pm each day.  Give yourself some flexibility to over-estimate or under-estimate the time needed for projects, allow for some downtime, and always have some flexibility should something come up.

 

Safe Zones

If your children are very small and require constant, complete supervision, turn one room in the house into a safe room.  Baby gate it off so no child can escape, put a mattress on the floor, a comfy chair and remove anything out of the room that your child shouldn’t have access to or you wouldn’t want to clean up.  Legos, crafts and crayons don’t belong in this room.  Soft toys, board books and things that are quick and easy to pick up are what goes in this room.  When you hit overwhelm as a mom, someone is sick or you just need a nap to keep from being impatient, gate everyone in and take it.  When it’s quiet time, use the chair to read to them, then let them crawl down and go play while you doze lightly or recharge your batteries with a good book you want to read.  The benefit is that you know the room is safe and you can read without having to keep one eye on them.

You should NEVER feel guilty for trying to meet everyone’s needs, including yours.  If you were up all night with a sick child or a family emergency, you need a safe place to nap where your child can play without worry.  This gives you that space to meet your needs and theirs at the same time.   Until your child is old enough to not pull a stupid if you have to nap, this really is a needed safe zone for every mom who does not have someone they can call on to help.

If this isn’t an option, consider finding a friend for whom you could swap child care on short notice when things get really tough.

 

On Wednesday, we will look at what to do with the rest of your brain dump list.

 

 

Photo credit- From Chaos to Order by Sebastien Weirtz on Flickr




I'm KerryAnn Foster. I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with my husband, Jeff, and our two kids, a teen and a tween. I blog here at Intentionally Domestic (formerly Cooking Traditional Foods). I blog about Paleo, beauty, health, family, homeschool and lifestyle for women in their 30s and beyond. I have over sixteen years of real food and natural lifestyle and health experience.

I am also an It Works! Global Triple Diamond Independent Distributor. I love that crazy wrap thing! I have been extremely happy with how the It Works Products have tightened up my loose skin and healed my stretch marks after losing 179 pounds and having a 10-pound baby.

Read about my journey to health through celiac disease, PCOS, food allergies, obesity, adrenal fatigue and heavy metals.
Categories : Sanity Savers
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