As all mothers know too well, being a mom to a 2-year-old is both a joy and a challenge. They are the most adorable things when they’re happy. But they’re the most obstinate adversaries when asked to do something they don’t want to do.
Luckily, hours of reading mommy blogs have taught me that one of the most important things you can provide for your little explorer is boundaries. How many is up to you, but there should be basic rules that they can work within. It helps guide their little decisions and creates stability and certainty for their evolving minds.
So I decided to set some basic parameters for myself. No TV before 9 pm on a weeknight and 7pm on a weekend. Must go to sleep before midnight. Must drink 8 glasses of water. Must work out every other day. Must play with baby 1 hour per day.
And that’s it! It seems super simple, but once I restrict my activities to the must-do’s, I am much more productive. I do have lists upon lists of my work priorities, but at the end of the day, if I’m working all the hours that I’m supposed to be working, then things will get done. The actual order, well, that can be fluid based on which client/partner pushes harder.
1. Create boundaries for yourself that you can be happy with. Just high level parameters that help you make decisions on what to do next (e.g. can you sneak at your Instagram for a quick minute? Or should you read through your many industry newsletters for that quick minute? Which you know ends up being 5 minutes and not 1 minute).
2. Be your own mother. Remember that last time you ate way too much junk food, and had a terrible stomachache afterward? If your mom were there, she would have taken it away and given that, “you should know better” look. Well, your mom isn’t with you at work (thank goodness, haha), so you’ll have to manage yourself. When you feel the urge to do something naughty, just get up and head to the water cooler for a refill.
3. Make lists. And my reason for suggesting lists is not so you can stay organized. Yes, that is one of the side effects of having lists. But my key reason for loving lists, is I get to cross off the items. At the end of the day, when I see all these lines and check marks next to items that I had completed, I feel actively proud of myself. And that is motivation for me to start all over the next day.
4. Pat yourself on the back. Look, we’re too old to get participation certificates from our favorite teacher. But it does feel nice to be recognized for all the hard work we put in. and sometimes we’re the only ones that can provide that little, “you did good” pat. So go ahead, reach around and give yourself that pat – but only if were able to cross off some items on that list!
5. Get back on the wagon the second you realize you fell off. I remember this tip from a healthy eating article I once read. If you ate 5 pieces of chocolate, and are starting to feel a bit guilty, then you should stop at 5. You shouldn’t say, "F-it, I’ll be good tomorrow," and then eat 10 more pieces. So if you just couldn’t wait any longer to find out who got voted off last night’s Survivor, then you should turn off the TV after the final torch is put out. Don’t keep watching to find out who the new Bachelor is. One lost hour is better than 2 lost hours.