GET OFF THE WHEEL
Okay guys (men), you may desire to skip this letter, as I am directing it towards the ladies, however, it may very well lead to a better understanding of the woman in your life.
WHAT DO PEOPLE AND GERBILS HAVE IN COMMON?
More than meets the eye, for sure. Over the years, I have trained and counseled, a lot of people. Todays topic is a recurring theme for well over three decades……
I have an appointment with my client/athlete. First off, this particular client/athlete is late 98% of the time. They arrive in a frenzy. When I ask them specific, direct questions they look at me with a blank stare and take up to three seconds to respond, and their answer comes out one way, than another, and yet another. They are physically with me, but mentally are ‘out there’, expressionless, and go about their assigned tasks absent-mindedly (getting a set of dumbbells instead of a mat when we are going to do ab’s, etc.)
This is when I set all equipment aside, shut the door and ask them if they’d like to talk indoors or outdoors, as we have a nice park to walk around just a block away. Physical training is over for the day, it’s time for us to get some fresh air, sunshine, move without intensity, and talk.
Within 20 minutes this dear woman has shared but an inkling of what’s going on in her life. I wish I had a stenographer taking notes, even then, they likely would get writer’s cramp, if you catch my drift…….
Up early to go run
Get everyone breakfast
Clean everything up
Drop kids off at school (five kids, four different schools)
Get to Salt Lake to help a friend out with cleaning their house that just sold.
Hopefully have prepped meals ready to go, if not……… not good luck
Heavy traffic on freeway takes almost twice as long to get home
Clean out pets area
Errands: Bank, grocery, dry cleaners, fuel
Squeeze in some kind of weight training
Pick up kids
Drop this one of here, that one there
Pick up kids, drop another off activity 25 minutes away
Pick up kid, stop by post office
Relief Society function (she’s the President)
and on, and on, and on it goes……. this is just the beginning friends.
Thank you, but NO THANKS!
Listen, I know. I’ve been there. I’ve raised kids full-time for the past 26 years, and easily have another five years to go. It didn’t take me long as a mother to realize if I wanted anything beyond laundry, dishes, house cleaning, errands, yard work, diaper changes, and managing kids, then it would be up to me to come up with a plan and execute it.
And so I did:
Wake at 3:30 a.m.
Get school lessons together (teach school full-time, as well)
School, school, and more school
Study while at kids piano, voice, tutor, ballet, horseback riding…….
You get the idea……
This went on until 11:00-12:30 a.m. on a daily basis for years, as in over a decade. Yep, four hours of sleep on a ‘good’ night.
What did I sacrifice in exchange? Mainly my health, proper eating habits, and sleep. I just ran, and ran, and ran. I made sure I took care of the hubby and kids, they were not left to their own. Yes, I earned my doctorate and many other degrees along the way. Yes, my older kids were all doing exceptional in their chosen ‘fields’, and each could count on full scholarships a few more years down the road.
I accomplished what I set out to do. I did what I felt had to be done. No regrets. I have repeated this processes every time I wanted to go after something that was important to me.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
The problem lies in the fact that many women are running around, working, taking care of kids, home, hubby, and so on….. some without any further desire to achieve anything, others with a long list of what else they desire to achieve, and yet others who can’t even fathom considering such achievements, as they are already overwhelmed.
keyword: OVERWHELMED = STRESSED OUT = NOT HAPPY
Mentally, emotionally, and physically, these women are tapped out.
STOP THE MADNESS. TAKE CONTROL. SET BOUNDARIES.
The only way this madness comes to an end is when the woman:
Can no longer cope, sleep, function, and just can’t go on or
The Universal ‘scale’ decides it’s time to balance things out
In other words, women just don’t know when to say “Enough!” Until it’s almost too late:
A broken marriage
Feeling less than human, etc.
As the old saying goes, “When Mom’s not happy, no one is”, rings true.
Ladies, we all start off as young mothers feeling like this is our job, to do ‘ALL THINGS’, and seeing as how babies can’t feed themselves, dress themselves, clean or move themselves, we are in fact committed to the tasks at hand.
However, as children grow, it’s healthy for them to take on responsibilities suitable to their age. It is no longer necessary for Mom to do all things.
The problems arise when a person takes on more than they can handle. There are times and seasons for all things, and honestly, there are times when we can handle an extra load, and seasons where we simply cannot, but try to make it happen anyway. Sometimes we have to, but many times we take more upon ourselves, for whatever reason.
Question: Why do you do what you’re doing?
You know the story, the broader one spreads themselves, the thinner the substance. Women not only tend to spread themselves too thin but they multi task all the while. Don’t kid yourself if you go through Facebook and it seems like all these women have everything going for them; pics up of them here, there and everywhere, on the PTA, a member of such and such, Primary President, mom of five, works part-time, volunteers hours a week, is doing and/or involved in 20 other things, and still manages to look sexy every day for her man, prepare all home cooked meals for the family, and on it goes. It’s a joke. We all have the same amount of time in a day. Do you really think they are superhuman? I think not. Stop comparing your life with anyone on Fakebook (whoops, I mean Facebook), Twitter, Instagram, and so forth.
I ran and did all sorts of things too, and got a ton done because I was working it 20 hours/day for years. I do not recommend this for anyone. Pay now or pay later, we all pay. While I was running crazy no one was checking on me, making sure I was eating properly, getting enough sleep, asking how I was feeling, how school was going, etc. It just doesn’t happen for many women like that. For a fortunate few, it does, otherwise, families simply watch you run circles.
Try as you may… to be all, do all, and exceed at all, and you will find it takes a great deal of balance, you need another 12 hours each day, a few more arms, legs, and a helicopter to make it happen.
Yes, there are things as an individual, and a woman we desire to accomplish. Yes, every one of them comes at a price. I was willing to sacrifice every moment of my time while raising kids to learn about health, fitness, and the human body. I still spent time quality with my kids, however, as soon as they were occupied, or at an activity, and so forth, I was back at the books, writing papers, even while making meals, waiting in line at the store (before self-checkout), etc. I saved time by not doing anything with my hair, wore no make-up, and for went any social life. I figured my education in health and fitness would serve my family and I ten-fold, and I was right. The sacrifice I made for over a decade, paid off. I have implemented what I had learned immediately, and taught my kids along the way. Now, they have a basic knowledge of health and fitness to care and share with their families. When they have illness in the family, they bring their kids to me, and I teach them how to care for their child’s illness to regain full health. They have been spared unnecessary biopsy’s, surgery’s, an so forth. So, what seemed to be a long sacrifice, will actually go on to bless my family for future generations. This is priceless.
Other times, you may find you must give up time with family for a short commitment, say throwing a shower, etc. No problem. The problems start when one is constantly making all sorts of commitments and selling other parts of their lives short, relationships, sleep, etc.
Raising one child is a full-time job. The more children, the more this work on every level, multiplies. Plenty to keep a woman busy. There is nothing wrong with desiring more for yourself, in fact, I believe it’s healthy and a natural part of being human, we’re meant to progress.
Just be sure you’re using your time wisely, again consciously. Pick and choose carefully, what you will devote your time, energy, and resources to, and learn when to hold on tight, and when it’s time to let go.
Following are some tips I hope can help you save some time, and lighten the load.
Keep in mind. I find women who know the are overwhelmed with responsibilities, and stressed to the point it’s affecting their health, but still keep at it. I warn them and they still keep at it. Others, eliminate stress in one area only to take on something else, and increase the stress level that much more somewhere else.
Low levels of stress is actually healthy, high level, persistent, years of stress wreaks havoc on the nervous system, the heart, the glandular system, muscular system, and every other system of the body. Stress at these levels are a slow death. It causes everything from premature aging, depression, and fatigue to heart attacks, chronic insomnia, and suicide.
Look at your life. Examine your health. Weigh out the sacrifices. Determine what means the most to you and write them down. Then write down everything else you’re doing. What goals do you have? Can you see places where your time, energy and resources can be used more wisely, eliminated, or delegated?
Remember, kids grow, and they grow even more when given responsibilities that make them more independent, so be sure to learn the art of delegation.
TIPS TO SLOWING YOUR WHEEL SO YOU CAN HOP OFF!
Sleep and rest when you can. Ten minute ‘power naps’ saved my life.
Clean house once a week, and get the family involved. Period.
Shop and do errands once a week. Plan your route, and work it like a boss.
Exercise. Fresh air. Sunshine. Laugh. Love. Even if it’s 5 minutes each.
Get your house in order
Get your vehicle in order
‘Arm’ yourself for success
Organize and delegate.
Get off social media, this is a major drainer for most people. Remember, some things start off with good intentions….. = artificial reality.
Daily ‘reality’ check.
SLEEP / REST
Never underestimate sleep/rest. Often, it changes ones perspective, lends insight, enhances creativity, relaxes and refreshes the body, and mind. Do this while waiting in the car for your kids, at games, in the library, in a ‘waiting room’, seriously, just do it. Sleep allows you to be more productive on all levels of your being. Being tired is a waste of time.
CLEAN HOUSE ONCE A WEEK. GET THE FAMILY INVOLVED.
The earlier you start this with your kids, the better. A four year old can learn to dry dishes, dust, and pick up toys and things lying around on the floor, or in the yard. Eight year olds can learn to separate clothes and run the washer, dryer, and fold clothes. A ten year old can learn to mow the grass, sweep, pull weeds, etc., and as far as I’m concerned, a twelve year old is able to do just about anything an adult does, from learning to balance a checkbook, to preparing a family meal.
With my fifth child, I was on full out bedrest for five months. My kids at the time were 11, 10, and 8 years old. My 11 year old said she could do the laundry, help with a meal per day, and housecleaning. My 10 year old said she would do the same, and my 8 year old jumped on board. I soon found that my efforts and time in teaching them these daily necessities paid off big time. They ran the house for 5 months. I am touched by their love to this day. Take the time to teach them properly, and they will not let you down. The trick is to teach them as soon as they are capable, although it’s never too late.
SHOP AND DO ERRANDS ONCE A WEEK. PLAN YOUR ROUTE AND WORK IT LIKE A BOSS.
Let’s face it, trips to the store for this and that use up precious time, fuel, and energy. Sitting in traffic is a drainer, too. Plan your errands for one day. Plan it so your farthest errands are first, and work your way back home, groceries last. Some of us have large families and can only fit so much in the fridge, in this case, you may have to go twice a week, or consider investing in a second fridge for your garage, basement, etc. If you’re like me and have a couple growing boys, consider putting one in their room, hahaha! Seriously.
This is time efficient, fuel efficient, and you and your family will discover you can do without until the next week if something was left off the list. The kids also learn to add items to the list, and this saves you time. This is a country of instant gratification, learning to wait is an old school lesson that’s priceless. Of course, the important things are an exception, the others can wait.
EXERCISE. FRESH AIR. SUNSHINE. LAUGH. LOVE.
You don’t need a gym membership (especially this time of year spring/summer), to exercise. Plan for exercise outdoors, and get some fresh air and sunshine while you’re at it. You will find it refreshing and invigorating.
Laugh each day. Make yourself laugh if you have to. My sweet Savannah came over yesterday (granddaughter). She has been having some separation anxiety lately when mom drops her off, and screams until her return, lol, however, yesterday as I held her on my lap, she looked at me with a blank expression. I was trying to determine if she was preparing to scream or accept the fact that I was holding her. She then started fake laughing, I kid you not, she’s 11 months old… fake laughing. She teaches us an important lesson, in the face of fear, laugh, even if you fake it, it will relieve the stress (fear), and allow you to cope. Something else I notice about her is she hums herself to sleep when she wants to sleep; whether in her car seat, high chair, laying on the floor, etc. Why do I share this with you?
Because she is 11 months old and has her coping mechanisms in place, now. She doesn’t turn to food, drugs, sex, alcohol, etc., and I highly doubt she ever will she because she exhibits wisdom at such a young age. She has mastered what many of us, as adults, are still trying to figure out…. how to cope, how to deal with the stress.
Love. Plain and simple. Love is everything. Share love, show love, be love.
The power of love cannot be underestimated. Although, there are few words written here, love is key.
GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER
I don’t know too many people who like to clean out their closets, and houses from time to time, but once it’s done it is so up lifting. One is able to sort through things; disposing of some, giving away others, reminiscing about items they come across. It’s very healthy to clean out and organize your home, even if it starts with just your sock drawer. Scientists believe our homes are like are minds, declutter the home, car, workspaces, and you literally declutter your mind.
DITTO THE VEHICLE
Clean out the vehicle. Wrappers, clothing, sports equipment, books, games, water bottles, and so forth, are a hazard. Enlist your kids help. Also, keep up on things like oil changes, tires, and tune-ups, it will save you time, money, and frustration down the road (no pun intended).
ARM YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS
Sleep / rest
Eat fresh nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean protein, fruit and vegetables
Drink plenty of pure water
When bathing, visualize all negativity and stress going ‘down the drain’
Keep perspective on life
Plan your day, the night before
Meditate, have quiet time, ponder, seek internal guidance from Maker
Laugh, have joy
ORGANIZE AND DELEGATE
Since my kids were old enough to work, they have worked. When you are a kid, work is fun, it’s not a chore, all the more reason to get your little ones going now. Make a list of everything that needs to be done in and outside of the home. Divide up the jobs accordingly, per person, per capabilities. Share the joy. I’ve used this method for over 20 years, it works. The older might complain a bit at first if they’re not accustomed to helping out, however, it doesn’t take long for them to notice everyone is all over the house and yard doing work too, and it gets to be fun. Put on some music, bust some moves, reward them afterwards if you’d like, or plan an outing at the end of the month for jobs well done, and good attitudes…. teaching them it pays to be a team player. Funny thing, shortly after one of my daughters had her second child, she brought them over, and as she was unloading carseats and diaper bag, etc., she glanced up and saw the job sheet I have for my boys, and said with a sigh, “I can’t wait to have one of those!” Hahaha! Good times.
GET OFF OR LIMIT TIME FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
I realize for many social media is a big part of their life. In fact, my sister in Phoenix tells me their local recreation center started classes nearly a year ago to teach people how to interact face to face because they were no longer comfortable from using social media so much. Crazy? Perhaps, but true, and the classes are full. This does not surprise me, as when I am out and about I see groups of people out together all on their own device, wtf?
For others, social media platforms boost business, or provide further business for social media platforms.
Just realize how much time one is spending here. Log your time on and off daily for a week or two, add up the time, and see if it would be better used elsewhere, or be willing to set a timer for yourself for say 10 minutes daily.
DAILY REALITY CHECK
Begin the day with gratitude.
Never allow outside (external events, people, etc.) chaos, to interrupt your inner peace.
No go, and start your day…..
Keep it real, apologize if you screwed up, take accountability and responsibility for all you speak, and do. If you find yourself feeling frazzled, you have allowed outside circumstances to take over. Recoup.
Begin, again. Smile.
Self-Correct throughout you day, be it attitude, plans, routes, list, whatever. Be flexible.
Assess at the end of each day:
How you spent your time. Could it have been used wiser?
What you accomplished, and if it was worthwhile and satisfying for you.
Where your attention was. Past? Present? Future?
Did you react, or respond with intelligence throughout the day?
What would you do different?
Where would you give yourself a pat on the back?
Was your daily schedule you planned realistic? If not, what would you change?
SO, WHY DO PEOPLE BEHAVE LIKE GERBILS?
For the same reason a gerbil runs on a wheel….. it’s been conditioned to.
It’s Mother’s Day. If you are a mother, your kids are watching you, be they male or female. Your example will have an impact on each of your children in it’s own way.
The gerbil lives in a cage and must utilize it’s surrounding space. It’s environment will either destroy it, or allow it to live. If the gerbil uses it’s head; eats the food left for it, drinks the water left for it, excretes, and moves around, it will live.
As a human, you do not have a cage, nor wait for someone to feed or provide drink for you. You can move freely, and have modern day ‘conveniences’. In other words, you have many, many things going for you. Compared to the gerbil you have no excuses. You are in charge. You choose where you’ll live, come and go as you please, choose what to drink, and can exercise should you choose to do so. You determine much of what happens in your life, whether you believe it or not.
A gerbil is no different than a person when it comes to stress, except the gerbil uses the wheel to its advantage, and runs on the wheel to alleviate pent up stress, from living in a confined space. People create their own wheel (stress), and run, and run, and run. Overbooked schedules are cages. Unrealistic expectations each day is like a piece of food dangling in front of the one running on the wheel.
If one fills their daily schedule to the point they have no time for quiet, self-reflection, peace, assessment, rest, laughter, and time communing with their Maker, then they will not have peace. Too many live with inner conflict. Inner conflict is caused by lack of unity between the head, heart, and actions. It’s usually a case where one’s thoughts are telling them one thing, but they are stuck on the wheel, and actions are therefore speaking differently, producing no cohesion, and the outcome leads to unrest, and confusion.
Many times, to rectify this conflict, requires one to change their life-style. Many fear this type of change. I say embrace it, you will not be disappointed. There is nothing to fear. If one is not willing to change circumstances, and they wish for different outcomes, this is wishing. Wishing is useless.
The gerbil has no choice. You, create your choices. Evaluate and choose wisely. Take time for the people and things that mean the most to you. Sacrifice consciously. Set realistic goals and keep daily schedules within reason.
Life will always be a balancing act, but we can learn to spot the imbalances before they throw us off balance, and regain homeostasis.
Have a wonderful week. Be strong. You were not born to be weak, doubtful, fearing, and weary. You were born to seek purpose, share love, empower self and others, and rise mighty in the gifts and talents you have been given.