Last week I started a third online class. First, I am a firm believer that online classes, though “convenient” for stay at home moms are more work and more time consuming. I chose to take all online courses this semester because Pea’s JA has been more active so classes that require physical attendance are not a good choice for me right now. This is my first semester going back to school and also my first couple of months as a stay at home mom. I still need to find my groove.
This week I have been a big old tangled ball of worry. The Anatomy class I picked up is more work intensive than the other two. Writing is something I enjoy so the papers and speeches of the other two classes have been cake walks in comparison. Memorizing blood vessels and physiological systems are more like asking me to build the millennium falcon out of Legos; not impossible but not a walk in the park either.
I didn’t have time to write and post (which is a stress outlet for me) or to clean much this week. My focus has been on thinking about, doing, and yelling at the kids for distracting me from the homework I have.
So I was relieved when the daycare had a Parent’s Night Out. It’s three hours for 15 dollars from 6pm to 9pm and totally worth it. My kids love it. They don’t spend time in daycare anymore since I stay at home with them now so they were ecstatic about getting a chance to play with their old daycare friends. Being home when mom is stressed out is probably not so fun for them.
So I took a break to have dinner with a girlfriend. After dinner, I thought about the week and how I really spent my time. The beginning of the week was much worse stress-wise than the end.
During the beginning of the week, I spent my time worrying about the work I needed to complete before the end of the week. As I worked, the kids were going “Lord of the Flies.” I had to stop to flip out at them for the mess, then for watching the tv too loud, then for fighting. As I became more stressed, their fighting and bickering ramped up.
Mom is the heart of the home and when mom is not calm neither is the home. So I had to think on ways to calm myself down.
Despite the amount of work I have, I carved out an hour of each day for exercise. Exercise helps release tension while also increasing my day time energy levels and focus. It has the added benefit of helping me sleep better at night. (The only downside is that it is difficult to stay up after the kids are asleep to finish homework.)
I rearranged my routine. I found that changing my workout from the time when both kids are in school to after they’re home helped. (I have a treadmill and other workout equipment at home.) The quieter time, when they are both gone, which I used to use for writing was better used for studying. I had to prioritize and put my blog posting and social media on the back burner for a while.
I carved out time to spend with the kids. This may seem counter productive and if Hubs was home I would not have had to carve out so much time since he would be able to distract them. I spent a lot of time yelling when the bickering and noise got too much or the mess got too out of control during the first part of the week. In this case, my time was better spent on preventing the mess and fighting by spending quality time with the kids. Once I added an hour of mommy and kid time, interspersed with an hour or so of mommy study time while they relaxed after playing or “play cleaning” then the time I spent studying had less interruptions. The weekend went much smoother once I added scheduled play time.
*Play cleaning is what I call it when we make cleaning a game. My kids are still young enough to be helpful, though my oldest is starting to balk at helping. They compete over who does a better job cleaning the glass surfaces or who straightens up an area better. Over the weekend, we play cleaned, then I studied while they colored or watched tv, then we went outside for a bit, then I studied some more. My study time was much more productive since they were more relaxed and less crazy.
For me, the stress was obviously due to increased school work. However, it can be a big project at work or other things causing stress. When you take a little time to work in a little relaxation time, ie dinner with a girlfriend, and quality time with the kids, then completing the stress inducing tasks becomes easier over all (and you even have time for a quick blog post!)
Have you found yourself melting down as your kids melted down during times of stress of when you’re busy? How have you handled it? Any tips that make getting through those busy times easier for you that you would like to share in the comments? The semester isn’t getting any easier and I can use all the help I can get from my fellow busy moms!
As soon as I have a chance Mommy is taking a couple of hours off and indulging in a few of these activities!