How could I have a blog for families without a parent’s checklist? It’s about time that I cover this crucial topic. The challenge was, who to ask?
Yes, I could have written it.
But there’s nothing like a fresh perspective from another mother. A mother that has been through the parenting grind, just like me, who gets it and actually practices what she preaches.
Here she is, the lovely Lisa Borden (@lisaborden) with advice for all of you – including me, can use!
Although much of a parent’s checklist applies to everyone if you are a multi-tasking parent, you likely need signs, signals, alarms, and life forces to interrupt your day in order to take care of yourself. I hope that the following checklist of questions might help you to make your days as healthy, productive, stress-less, and efficient as possible.
Are you Hydrated?
Nothing like starting a parent’s checklist with your body’s basic needs! It’s always time for a large clean glass of water. Bonus: get ahead on your hydration by Water Falling first thing in the morning!
Have you eaten recently?
Or, if you’re like me, have you eaten a piece of dark, fair-trade chocolate recently? Take a break and nourish yourself well. Fast food can be good food … eat according to The Kind Food Plate and make sure your food feeds the mood you want.
Have you stood up recently?
Most of us are guilty of being sedentary for way too long. Try this right after you’re done reading this: an exercise snack from The Wellness Intelligence Collective, an exercise from Get Up … or … get outside and take a quick walk. A little intermittent movement will fuel you and help you flow … stress-busting and will leave you feeling refreshed, more grounded, and ready to be back on “duty”.
Have you donated or given some of your time?
Your time is your most valuable commodity. Nothing will remind you of how valuable your time truly is more than giving it to those who could really use it. Give. And then give some more. It feels good, makes the world go round, and what you put out there, comes back to you. Imagine if we all shared just a little bit of our talent or experience with another … every day!
Have you asked for support?
Whether you feel most supported when speaking to your peers or to a professional, anything that makes you feel stuck is worth talking about. Virtually or in-person, build your community. Exchange ideas. Connect others. Refer each other. Asking for help is a sign of strength, and nurtures development.
Are you getting enough sleep?
If you can’t remember the last time you slept a truly full night (it happens to us all), set the intention now to make it happen tonight. Close the blinds, shut out all lights (every device included), and hit the sack. We are all busy, pulled in so many directions, and all have so much to do, but we have to take care of ourselves in order to keep it all up. It’s healthy and necessary to push ourselves, but pushing yourself too much can impact your health and your long-term success.
Does it feel like you are getting nothing done?
It’s inevitable to feel this way sometimes. I find clients can often be so hard on themselves when they feel like they aren’t accomplishing or getting enough done, or anything is done in a specific area. We just need to pause and start small … check any small task off of your to-do list (it can be as little as following up on an email). Be regular, not rigorous. Build yourself a steady momentum. Consistency almost always wins over frequency. Expect improvement, not miracles. Change happens when you keep practicing. Your best strategic plan will always be called “Doing Things.” Know that you are making a difference. One way or another, you are tipping the scales. The proverb that I live and work by is, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.” Measure your success constantly, and base your success on YOUR progress. Period. Dinner will get served, the kids’ homework will be done … be kind to yourself.
Do you feel stuck?
You aren’t. Or, if you really are, you can unstick yourself with ease. Learn to breathe. Do not underestimate the power of breath and being connected to it. Pause, and make conscious, deliberate moves. None of us want to yell … it’s a practice because we certainly get tested! Be mindful. Identifying what isn’t working in your life is as important as figuring out what is working, and what can be. Evolve constantly.
Have you waited a week?
Sometimes when we’re too close to something, it messes with our perspective. Wait a week if it’s not urgent … and often it’s not as urgent as we think it is. See if you feel the same way when you’ve put some time between you and anything bothering you. As parents, we’re often revving on high. Acting quickly is quintessential to being a parent, but if you need to slow down in order to be mindful, do that, rather than being too reactive based on an emotional knee-jerk reaction. Be kind to yourself. Go slowly. You don’t need to be a pro out of the gate, be good to yourself and set a good pace. As Einstein said, “It’s not that I am so smart, I just stick with problems longer.”
Do you feel behind?
Being successful as a parent isn’t about chasing something or catching up to others. It is about being present right where you are to make the most of it all right now. We all get better, but we need to do the work first, and that work will likely piss you off, at least a bit. It’s worth it.
Are you living outside of your comfort zone?
As a parent, aren’t we always?! The best source of knowledge is experience. You are only waiting on yourself! Fitting in is failure, standing out and up for yourself and your family is success … your own version!
How about a hug?
(Editor’s note: This one is my favourite!) Hugging is therapy. It’s about sharing love, calming heart rate, reciprocity, communication, and more. How many things in life are as good to give as they are to receive?
Are you comparing yourself to others?
Resist the urge to judge others or put them on a pedestal (although feel free to be inspired by them). You never know about their struggles or gifts, and where they really are in their own family and life. Focus on you, because that is what you know, and what you can control.
We are likely doing much better than we think. It’s not about making it through every day, it’s about making the most of every day … not just for our work life, but for our greater life, which includes our work. Everything is connected. Everything Matters.
We are all different, so add your own questions (and answers) to help make the day work for you … as much as you work for you, your family, and every day.
There you have it. A parent’s checklist to keep you on track and most importantly to help keep you sane throughout this roller coaster journey as you raise your delicious offspring. I don’t know about you, but I’m posting this list on my fridge. And my bathroom mirror. And my…