My top 5 challenges when trying to find time for myself

Writing blog posts has become a real challenge. Why? Simple reason...I can't find time for myself.

Don't get me wrong, I have a wonderful husband who does a lot of things for the house, our kids, and our pet. He and I take turns to do household- and other family-related duties. But, there is simply no time to rest or for ourselves.

It's very difficult to find time to do other things than the usual family-related responsibilities. All of the planning and organization in the world appear insufficient to make certain that I stay on schedule (i.e., do all that needs to be done daily) and protect time for myself. 

Moms should have at least 15-20 minutes of "me" time daily

According to Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett (author of "Hidden Feelings of Motherhood"), Moms need time to decompress, especially between afternoons and evenings. Furthermore, the author also indicates that about once weekly, Moms need a longer block of time to get out and do something for themselves. 

Of course, I know that I am the only Mom facing this problem - especially when you have small children. So, it's not surprising that most of the issues that "eat" my time are directly or indirectly related to my responsibilities as a parent. 

What do I during the weekends? Could the weekend help me deal with my challenges?

The weekends are supposed to be there for relaxing, enjoying time and having fun. I wish I could say that we spent our weekends doing all these things. Unfortunately, it is usually not our case. Yes, of course, we do try to do fun activities during the weekends, and it's true that some weekends are a little relaxing - but, most are not!

So, what are we doing wrong? how can we make our weeks better? 

My tips to deal with the Laundry

In our house, it takes days to get the laundry done. For some reason, I have never been particularly organized when dealing with laundry issues. For instance, I usually wait until the weekend to do the laundry and spend part of my Sunday afternoon (or evening) folding drives me crazy!

Often, the unfolded clothes would stay, all wrinkled, in the laundry baskets for days. My biggest challenge is without any doubt the folding part of the job. Other times, I leave the clothes in the washer machine and forget to transfer the wet clothes to the dryer.  When I finally remember to transfer the clothes, it is often too late...I ended re-washing the load. 

Why do I find myself in this situation? 

I often have to deal/do other things during the weekend, including shopping, family/children activities and, of course, work-related responsibilities. It takes days to get the laundry done. Then, when you think that is done, you realize that the laundry baskets are full again. 

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to be a little bit more organized and efficient with my time. I dislike the idea of spending part of my sending folding clothes. But, the task needs to be done whether I like it or not. So, after trying different things, here are some tricks/tips that I am currently using to be more organized with the laundry.

Tips to Help me Deal with the Laundry

1. A laundry basket or hamper in each bedroom. This has been a good financial investment - although it may not work for some people, it works well in our house. Of course, my kids forget sometimes to empty their hampers. But, the important issue for me is that all the laundry is in a hamper - so, all I need to do is to empty the hampers when they don't do it.

2. Do the laundry 2-3 per week. This is essential! The weeks that I don't do at least one laundry load in the middle of the week, I am in big trouble.  

3. Use the "delay end time" function of the washer.  With this function, I can control the time when clothes would be ready to be transferred to the dryer. 

4. Set an alarm (with my iPhone) to tell me when the washer cycle is done. Our washer and dryer are in the basement, so even though both machines have a sound alarm when cycles are completed, we often don't hear them. But, if I use my phone's alarm, then I can easily hear the ring!

5. Wash less by forcing my son to re-use pants, tennis clothes and pajamas. Other members of the house understand that clothes don't always need to be washed after used only once. But, my 8-year son still needs to work on this.  

6. Fold laundry near bedrooms. Let's face it, most of what I wash every week are clothes, towels, and bed linen. Most of these items usually need to go back to bedrooms, so by folding clothes near bedrooms, I tend to place them right away in drawers and closets.

My Life as a "Tennis Mom"...I love it!

I have become a "tennis Mom" - and I love it! 

My 8-year old son is spending 7-8 hours weekly training and playing tennis. Since January 2017, he has participated in several local and regional tennis tournaments and is really loving that. 

I have to say that I was initially reluctant to the idea of him participating in tennis competitions. I mean, he was only 7 years old last year when he participated in his first competition! He had just recently started to train seriously (if we can use the word seriously for a 7 years old!) when his coach suggested to register him in an interprovincial 4 stars competition.

My husband and I talked with my son and let him make the decision. He was excited about the idea of participating in a tournament even though he knew that his chances to win a match were very low. From my side, I was very concerned and scared that he will not want to play tennis anymore after losing his first match (possibly without winning a single point).

But, I was totally wrong. Yes, he did lose all his matches (although he did win a couple of games in one of them), but his reaction to these loses was so mature and realistic for his age. He was very proud of himself and the points that he won, he knew that he needed more training & more importantly, he was not discouraged and actually said to us "so, when is the next tournament"! I really admire my son because I am not certain that, myself, I would have reacted so maturely at his age. Let's face it - he was only 7 years old! 

It's admirable to see how young kids, like my son, could be so dedicated and focused.

I keep thinking that having play dates with friends, going to birthday parties or simply playing video games (even though I like this one less) is more interesting than being at the tennis courts for hours (sometimes under difficult weather conditions!). But, since that first tournament last year, my son has decided that tennis is his sport and that he will be committing 7-8 hours per week to training. 

As parents, I feel that our main role is to provide a strong emotional support to him. Tennis is a very important part of my son's life, but IT'S NOT HIS WHOLE LIFE! His school work, piano lessons, video games, playdate with friends, and family time should still play a fundamental role his life. They are actually essential to ensure that he has the balanced life that a child of his age needs. 

Over the last year, I have learned that the best way to help my son to perform at his own best is by showing him unconditional support 100% of the timeMy son understands that if he wants to improve his performance at tournaments, he needs to train even during the days that he would have preferred to stay home playing video games or watching TV. Thus, it's so important for me to show emotional support and understanding not only during matches or tournaments but also, and especially, during training sessions. He needs those weekly hours of training if he wants to succeed and achieve his goals. 

"Whether you lose or win, we will always be proud of you"

As a tennis Mom, you always need to have the right words to support and encourage your child. There is one particular sentence that my son uses as a motivational mantra:

 "It's not over until is over" 

It's a simple, but a very inspirational sentence that my son heard one day from a TV show. I believe it was a TV show that he was watching in between two tennis matches.

While being realistic about the outcome, we feel that as parents it's our role to help our son identify the things that he did well in a matchWe applaud his hard work, professionalism and positive attitude. We encourage him to be proud of his effort and dedication even when he loses a match. We also feel that it's important to provide him a supportive, but realistic feedback.

I am grateful that my son is giving me the opportunity to be a "tennis Mom". It's a new phase in my life and so far, I am enjoying it very much! 

Yes, of course, our weeks and weekends are now totally different than they used to be. But, who cares, my son is enjoying the experience of playing competitive tennis and that it's all that it counts for me.

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