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Let me just start by saying that this site isn’t called “The Well and Balanced Mom” because I’m a “well and balanced” mom. I chose that name because I am a mom in pursuit of wellness and balance in my life and want to help other moms find wellness and balance as well.
There are still many days that I feel like a hot mess. I think I always will. But I think I’m also living well and balanced in the best way that I can right now.
Motherhood is Just Hard
I know a lot of moms who feel like they’re out of shape, unhealthy, living in unorganized homes and barely staying afloat with the daily tasks of motherhood. Some even feel like they’re drowning most days.
I don’t want to make the answers seem simple because motherhood is not simple. It’s difficult and it’s messy and it’s complicated.
However, I do believe there are ways to make it easier.
My Wellness Journey
Five years ago, I began my wellness journey. I started because I wanted to lose some postpartum weight. I began with an exercise routine that I actually managed to stick with. Then I started eating healthier. After that, I started reading “personal development” books (something I thought I’d never do) and became obsessed with my own growth. I rekindled my relationship with God after recognizing that I had been a stagnant Christian for years.
I’ve accomplished goals in the past five years that I never thought I could reach like building a successful home business, getting out of $40k of debt, running a half marathon, and getting into the best shape of my life at age 30.
And of course, I’ve brought three beautiful little girls into the world. I’ve managed to keep my sanity and even thrive under the stress of motherhood, managing my home, and owning my own business. Yes, I’m still a hot mess, but I’m (mostly) a “well and balanced” hot mess.
Discipline? Or something else?
People tell me that they’re amazed at my discipline and my motivation. But the truth is that I don’t have exceptional discipline or motivation. What I do have is some good habits.
Those habits have led me to success in many areas and help me to fell well and balanced in my everyday life despite the constant challenges of motherhood.
See, if you can harness the power of habit, you don’t need to have nearly as much discipline or motivation to do what you know you should do. You’ll just do it because that’s what you do.
Experts disagree on exactly when habits form, but the consensus is between 21 days and 66 days. Before this timeframe, finding motivation and being disciplined is helpful.
If you can get over the hump of the first two or so months, things will get easier.
Note: As I was writing this post, I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10 habits. I’ll be posting “10 More Habits that Keep Me Well and Balanced as a Mom” soon. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.
1. I wake up before my kids.
I wake up at 5 am most mornings. I am not a natural early riser, so this was one of the harder habits for me to form. But it’s been a life-altering one.
My entire day goes more smoothly when I wake up early and things started off right. I use the time for quiet, Bible study and prayer, and exercise. Sometimes, I use my morning time to write or simply be still for a few moments.
After my workout is complete, I get a quick shower and get to sit down and have coffee with my husband before he goes to work. We get to chat, talk about the upcoming day, or just sit and be together. Soon after he leaves, the kids start waking up. By that time, I’ve already done something to take care of myself, spend time with God and with my husband. And I haven’t missed a moment with them. Win-win.
The morning is an opportunity that you can take advantage of. It’s a chance to do whatever you need to do to fill your cup.
If you need more help with this, check out this post: How and Why I Became a Morning Person
2. I do a morning Bible study.
As a Christian, I believe I should be studying the Bible as a regular part of my life. Making it a habit ensures that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of life. By sitting down with my Bible first thing in the morning, I’m able to be fully present.
I try not to approach Bible study as something to make me feel warm and fuzzy, although it often does. But it also challenges me, confuses me, and even hurts at times. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it.
I study the Bible because I love God and I yearn to know more about his character and heart. I also want to know how I should be living and more about who I am. So, this habit is non-negotiable for me.
If you want to begin your own study, I highly suggest reading Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word.
For my tips on how to create this habit in your own life, check out this post I wrote for the site “One Determined Life”: Easy Things a Busy Mom Can Do To Enjoy Time With God
3. I exercise almost every morning.
As I stated in the intro, exercising was the first habit that I successfully implemented on my wellness journey. I had failed many times before, but when I stuck with it, I gained confidence in myself to do so much more.
Apart from maintaining a healthy weight, my daily exercise helps me with two things every mom could use–stress relief and energy. It also helps me to be stronger and gives me more endurance for fun activities with my family.
I make my life easier by working out at home in my basement. I use Beachbody on Demand. If you’d prefer to take classes or go to a gym, you can do that too.
Depending on your schedule, the morning may not be the best time for you to get a daily workout in. Maybe you’d rather involve your kids or exercise after they’re in bed. It doesn’t matter when you do it, just that you do it. For tips on how to start a morning workout routine, check out this post: 12 Foolproof Tips to Starting Working Out in the Morning
4. I make my bed daily.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that making my bed wasn’t apart of my routine until about six months ago. I didn’t think it was worth the time and energy, so I left my bed in a huddled mess every day. Then one day I heard a podcast that suggested that making your bed starts your day off on the right note and helps you to be more productive. I decided to give it a try and it has proved true for me!
I love when I come into my bedroom and see my neatly made bed. It makes the whole room feel more put together. Sometimes it’s the small things that make us feel the most refreshed.
Studies show that people who make their beds daily are happier too. It only takes a few minutes, so why not?
5. I donate or discard excess possessions.
Decluttering became an exciting experience for me a few years ago after I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I love to find things around that house that I can “pass on” (donate) or discard.
Having less stuff helps me keep up with my house and helps me to enjoy what we do have. For example, we have just enough of certain clothing items to get by for a week and then we’ll run out. Having “just enough” of these items forces me to keep what we use clean. As a result, I’m never behind on laundry!
You can read more about my home organization strategy here: How I Keep My Home Organized with Three Small Kids
6. I run the dishwasher every evening.
Just as I don’t keep excess clothes, I also have just enough dishes to get by for a few days. Whenever I’ve had extra, I’ve ended up with a sink full of dishes. Now, my sink is mostly empty.
I put dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day (and gently “encourage” my family to do the same). Every night after dinner I run it and that way I always wake up to clean dishes. Then, in the morning, I put them away as I make breakfast.
This is basically autopilot for me now, so I don’t have to think about it. But it’s another simple routine that helps me stay on top of things and not feel crazy.
7. Put everything back in its place before going to bed.
Have you ever woken up and gone downstairs to see that your house is a wreck? I think we all have. I HATE THAT SO MUCH. That’s why I’ve made it a habit to put everything back in its place before going to bed.
If the house is really out of order, I get the whole family to do a clean up before bedtime. Other times, I’ll let everyone go to bed and do it myself. It’s so worth it. It only takes 10-20 minutes at night to put everything back in its place and I get to wake up to a house that’s in order. That gets the next day started right!
8. I drink lots of water.
I already mentioned that I exercise most mornings, but that’s not the only way I take care of myself physically. I also make sure to drink plenty of water.
It seems like a really simple idea, but studies suggest 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Drinking water has too many benefits to list here, but among them are increased energy, decreased junk food cravings, aided digestion, and some major skin benefits.
Make hydration a priority for just a week and you’ll be amazed at how different you feel! I love drinking sparkling water like LaCroix (coconut is my fav!) but I try to drink plenty of other water too. My goal to drink half of my weight in ounces each day (so as a 140lb woman, I aim to drink at least 70 ounces).
Tip: Try filling up water bottles in the morning with enough water for the entire day. Then, make sure you drink all of the bottles before you go to bed at night. And don’t worry if it feels like you’re constantly going to the bathroom, your body will get used to the increased fluids and soon you won’t have to go as much.
9. I eat healthy food.
Eating healthily goes hand in hand with drinking plenty of water. If you want to feel your best, you need to eat well. I’m not telling you to follow a certain plan or to cut out food groups, but I’d encourage you to experiment to see what makes you feel the best.
I feel the best when I don’t eat much sugar, keep my carb count relatively low and healthy, and avoid most dairy. But I didn’t know any of that until I started an eating plan that had me experiment and keep track of how I feel. I use Chalene Johnson’s 131 method. I have learned so much about nutrition and my personal needs through the education provided with that program.
If you don’t want to do a specific plan, at least start with a food diary and keep track of how you feel in relation to each food you eat. You can also try to make healthier versions of your favorite foods. Pinterest is a goldmine for healthier recipes.
No matter what plan you follow, you’ll benefit from eating more whole foods (think single-ingredient) and less processed foods. The more you can cook at home, the better. I know it feels like one more thing, but it doesn’t have to complicated. Find some go-to healthy recipes and your whole family will be better for it.
If you’re a Christian struggling in this area, I highly recommend the book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst.
10. I use “clean” products for my home.
I recently read about a study on commercial health cleaners. Over 20 years, researchers tracked 6,235 people spread out in multiple countries. Participants were asked about their home cleaning products and habits and regularly had their lung capacity measured. Among the findings: “Using national brand cleaners as little as once per week is as damaging to lung health as smoking 20 cigarettes per day.” Um…not cool with me.
In the past few months, I’ve switched my household to “cleaner” cleaning products, meaning that I’m intentionally reducing the number of cleaning products we use that contain chemicals like ammonia and chlorine bleach. At first, I was a little overwhelmed about the idea of switching and wasn’t sure where to start. However, a friend introduced me to an online shopping club where I am able to order effective and affordable plant-based cleaner and they’re sent directly to my door. I have been using the products for about two months and seriously love them! I thought that I would need to sacrifice quality in order to switch but that isn’t true at all. The products I use now work just as well if not better than the commercial products I was using before.
You can research on your own and find a company you’re comfortable with. I use Melaleuca products. To shop with them, you need to be referred by someone (like me!) so feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you get started. Use the subject: “Cleaning products” so your email gets my immediate attention.
Since I couldn’t narrow it down to just 10 habits, stay tuned for “10 MORE Habits that Keep Me Well and Balanced as a Mom!” In that post, you’ll find tips regarding career & finances, mental & spiritual wellness, and balancing time and energy.
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