Win the day: a strategy for overcoming overwhelm

This one is for the moms of very little ones, the moms with babies or toddlers underfoot (or – gasp – both!)

Is your house a wreck?
Are you feeding someone round the clock?
Are you only getting nap-sized chunks of sleep?
Do you live in yoga pants and dry shampoo?
Does your life revolve around nap times?
Are you living in what feels like a permanent state of exhaustion?

If you answered YES to any of these, I’m writing this for you. My two boys are 18 months apart, and it was chaos for a long time. They are currently five and seven so things have slowed down enough for me to catch my breath, but I remember those early days well.

I remember taking care of a thousand needs a day. My time was consumed by two little boys who needed me for every little thing… and when they didn’t need me, they wanted me. I would collapse into bed at night wondering what I had done with my day, running through a mental checklist of all the tasks that I left undone. Then, that little voice in my head would lay into me:

You’re not cut out for this.
You’re so lazy: you spent the kids’ nap time laying on the couch.
Other moms have it together, but not you.
You may have kept the kids alive, but you failed at everything else.

Today, I’m sharing a tip I stumbled upon when scrolling through Instagram. My friend CT labeled a white board “Win the Day” and listed two or three goals for herself. Checking them off at the end of the day was a win! No more going to bed feeling defeated. No more chastising yourself for not doing enough. No more cataloging all the things you didn’t get to today.

Mama, if you have babies and toddlers underfoot, start small:

Just give yourself ONE task. If you cross it off by the end of the day, YOU WIN.

Because the truth is that you are not going to be at your most productive at this stage of motherhood. So set yourself up for success: pick one task (sorting through the mail? putting away the laundry? vacuuming? The options are truly endless.) Write it on a whiteboard, or a note on your phone, or a piece of paper tacked to your fridge. Cross it off, and go to bed basking in your success! You did it!

Success! You're on the list.

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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