You know the feeling. The one where you get home and suddenly everyone needs you, right now, no exceptions. That’s mom life with constant interruptions or getting arm-grabbed. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You can create ease in your week by shifting the expectations with your actions. Yes, you have more control over your time than you think!
One of the biggest questions I get asked is, “how do we manage our time when we are constantly getting interrupted?” First, let’s pause. If you have kids under two, getting arm-grabbed is going to be more frequent. Instead of feeling pulled in a million directions, setting a time chunk to be unavailable is most important. Second, as your children age, creating fewer arm-grabs is about creating obstacles to get to you. As a mom, I know that sounds terrifying, but these are temporary! You have to have the energy to show up for your family! The best way to do this is to create space.
Here are a few tips to make sure you can actively stay calm when you get home:
- Take a few minutes when you arrive home to have a mini-decompress session. For me, this usually looks like a few minutes in the car before I go inside. This allows me to feel at ease when I go inside and get hit with requests.
- Teach your family that when you get home, you aren’t on duty right away. Go directly to your room or sequester yourself in a location. This doesn’t have to be a long time but allow yourself an opportunity to breathe before getting arm-grabbed.
- Say when you are available versus losing it. You can say, “I’m available at _______, feel free to ask me then.”
- Pro-tip: To ease your mom guilt, make some specific time for family at night. For instance, a family game night, tv time, or even family meetings. Whatever you do to bond together as a family. If you don’t currently have anything, consider implementing this time so you feel secure as you set these new boundaries.
One thing we forget when we become moms is, we still have control over our schedules. How? By creating time for just us away from interruptions, and we do that by teaching people how to treat us. As our kids grow, we can teach them to respect our time and respect theirs.
My daughter is now 15 and has recently asked to delegate her laundry to me. She asked when I was available and how much it would cost. While to some, this may seem ridiculous, but to me, it makes perfect sense. She has a part-time job. That day she realized she couldn’t do both her shift and laundry, so she used her resources to delegate the task. Brilliant!
Next time you are feeling guilty over needing your own time, consider that you are teaching your kids how to take care of themselves. It’s possible to teach kids when it’s an OK time to chat. Instead of managing interruptions, take some proximity away from the family so you can navigate arm-grabs with ease.