Fortunately, there are some items that can help you get organized, reduce stress and stay sane.
Are you familiar with the Amelia Bedelia book cover on which Amelia is running (and smiling) with perfectly rosy cheeks, a freshly baked pie in hand, her apron and shoes on, and even a cute hat on her head? She appears to have it all together in the midst of what is assumed to be a moment of chaos. Truth be told, many days I feel like Amelia. However, I'm in sweats, my hair is disheveled, I'm makeup-free, barefoot, and carrying a bowl of Raisin Bran above my head so my dogs don't get it. Sometimes I wonder if the kind of woman Amelia Bedelia represents truly exists. Never mind — if she does, I don't want to know about it.
Luckily, there are several products and habits that will make life as a busy mom easier to manage, and, at a minimum, make us feel as though we've got it under control. Here are some stress-less tips for busy moms.
A Bluetooth headset or other hands-free technology for your phone is not only required in some states for talking while driving, but it is a very important staple for busy moms. You can use the time you spend on carpool duty to take care of lots of little details — return phone calls, make appointments, schedule play dates — and still drive safely. At home, the headset phone allows you to talk while you cook, clean, change diapers, make bottles — you name it! Your neck will thank you, trust me.
If you ever feel guilty about consuming this heavenly delight that can improve even the worst of moods, consider this: Chocolate is actually good for you. Chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure, and dark chocolate is packed with powerful antioxidants. The secret ingredient is plant phenols — cocoa phenols, actually. They are hard at work reducing your blood pressure while you enjoy each amazing bite. Seems like a no-brainer to us!
Color therapy was likely first practiced by the ancient Egyptians, who shone sunlight through colored gems onto those who sought healing. Today, this therapy is used in many of the nation's premier spas as a way to soothe the frazzled mind and assist with meditation. Tones of blue have been shown to encourage relaxation and tranquility as well as inspire patience and calming thoughts. If it works with the neighboring rooms' decor, why not paint your primary work area a shade of blue? If blue simply will not work, know that greens and purples are also calming colors. Reds, yellows and oranges, however, are stimulating. Try to avoid these colors in those areas where you spend a great deal of time. As I'm sure you're well aware, neither moms nor their kids need to be any more stimulated than they already are by 5:30 p.m.
Read 14,000 Things to be Happy About, by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It is impossible not to find something on nearly every page that will evoke a fond or funny memory and make you smile even in your worst hour. I actually highlighted (way back when I had free time) my favorites so I could find them quickly. Some personal favorites: The Electric Company (TV show), funnel cakes and shorty skis. By the way, whatever happened to The Electric Company? (or 3-2-1 Contact for that matter!)
Are you as tired as I am of what I now refer to as the "4 o'clock panic?" This is when you stop to think, oftentimes out loud, "OK, what are we going to have for dinner tonight?" Nothing is more stressful than a house full of hungry people and no dinner plan. Until recently, five out of seven nights a week, that question was answered at my house with the word "cereal" or "pancakes." No longer — I found out about a fabulous solution: 30 Day Gourmet. Their site allows you to download and test out for 30 days — and then order — a cookbook that will allow you to bake 30 nights' worth of meals in one afternoon! It can be modified, of course, so you can make enough meals for two weeks if that's all you need. Being able to answer the question, "What's for dinner?" with the name of a real meal? Priceless.
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