The Importance of having Structure and Routine with inbuilt Flexibility as a Working Mum

When it comes to the night-time routine with putting our kids to sleep, hubby looks after our eldest and I take care of the baby. As of late, hubby has been struggling big time with an injury so he’s been on bed rest and I took care of both boys last night.

I ended up falling asleep with them at about 8pm and so of course I woke up at 3am wide awake panicking that I didn’t put my alarm on for my morning run.

So I got out of bed to charge my phone downstairs and not long after that I hear my youngest start crying and my eldest say “what happened!” quite a matter of fact.

When I turned the lights on, both kids were blinded by the light but I was blinded by the sheer fact that my eldest face and hair was covered in vomit. It took me a few seconds to figure out who’s vomit it was.

My poor baby had an upset tummy.

Hubby being a light sleeper came to the rescue and in the early morning hours, we found ourselves showering the kids who were defiant and putting a load on in the washing machine only to find that the vomiting episode came as a series.

So while the sheets got washed and put in the dryer, we carted the boys downstairs to watch telly and keeping them vertical with our fingers crossed.

I left my hubby and still went for my run with my crew and planned to pick up supplies for the family on the way back.

The Importance of Structure and Routine

Driving to our meeting spot, the rain got heavy.

Torrential. I could barely see through the window even though my windscreen wiper was going at 100mph.

I texted Nyree “We’re crazy!”

Next minute I’m running, listening to Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre and feeling amazing.

The thing is, when you have kids and you’re a working mum, life is constantly throwing you curve balls and you can either get hit and complain about it and give up or you can get hit, realised it hurt and focus on a new strategy to anticipate the unexpected.

That’s the importance of having structure and routine with inbuilt flexibility as a working mum. Have a plan but know that nothing ever goes to plan so have a plan B too.

After the run, I popped into Woolies, grabbed the supplies I needed and went home to be a full-time mummy.

My Saturdays morning is when I work on my business, fat chance that was happening today.

However having structure and routine for the majority of the time helps me stay focused on my business, holds me accountable and also allows for wiggle room on the off chance it doesn’t go to plan, like today.

At first, some clients are apprehensive about having structure and routine. Ashley was against the idea of structure and routine because she thought it would be too restrictive.

However after I told her that it’s quite the opposite, she gave it a try.

Having structure and routine is quite liberating and frees up your energy and time from constantly thinking about the future when instead it allows you to put certain things on AUTO-PILOT.

She wakes up to journal, meditate and exercise all before her son wakes up and has the rest of the day to pursue her passion projects and studies.

Why having inbuilt Flexibility is not only Important but Necessary

Once we become mums, our lives are forever changed because we put our children before our own needs.

As a result, we’re in a constant tug-of-war between prioritising their needs and fulfilling ours. This ultimately puts us at risk on the road of chronic stress and burnout.

What I see is more effective is doing the opposite.

What use are we if we are not role models of what it is to be a happy and healthy working mum?

We want to teach our kids that happiness is an inside job and that begins with prioritising ourselves. That isn’t to say we neglect our children, in fact, we actually have more to give.

Having structure and routine is a way we honour prioritising our needs and having flexibility around this is how we can fulfil our children’s needs at the same time.

Here are 5 Ways to Adopt a Healthy Balance of Having Structure and Routine with inbuilt Flexibility that Prioritises You:

  1. Decide your office hours, the number of hours you work every week and block out this time in your calendar so you have a visual representation of your working week, you can do this also with your study commitments. Once set, commit to this and be intentional with the time you do have.
  2. Create appointments with yourself in your calendar for your meditation, exercise and other activities you know that helps with your mental, emotional and physical health – these appointments are non-negotiable.
  3. With the time you are with your children, declare that you will be 100% present and they have your undivided attention – this means no mobile phone so their love cup is full and can learn to appreciate the need to have focused attention when you have allocated time to work. I find timers are particularly useful when your children are old enough.
  4. Have a journal/notepad that you can write in always at a arms reach away, when ideas and thoughts come to you when you’re with your kids, write them down for later. Don’t spend energy remembering things that will distract you from being in the moment.
  5. When planning out your week, decide on your minimum and maximum hours you want to dedicate to work and set S.M.A.R.T goals so that you feel confident and on fire by the end of the week. Sometimes we can set unrealistic goals and set ourselves up for failure if we’re not working towards well thought out realistic goals in the season of life we’re in.

Recently my favourite quote is

Change your pace, not your purpose.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed or stressed and don’t know where to start, apply for a stress assessment and we can arrange a time to chat about strategies on your next step forward.

If you are listening to this blog post as a podcast, click link in the description for links or visit www.merlyhartnett.com

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