I love being a mum (as we say in New Zealand), and I love my mum. We’re really into our kids and families at American College of Healthcare Sciences (we can even bring our kids to work with us when we need to!) So, it's not surprising that I LOVE Mother's Day!
How wonderful is it that we have an entire day dedicated to celebrating moms? But whether your kids are still in utero, are 4 months, or 40 years old, doesn’t it seem like Super-Mom’s work is never done? Since society seems to demand that we all be Super-Mom these days, it got me thinking… isn’t it time us Super-Mom’s slowed down and simplified things, so we can stop and smell the roses (hey, that’s aromatherapy!) more than one day a year?
In honor of Mother’s Day (May 11), take some time to naturally simplify with my top 7 tips to simplify your Super-Mom life. Not a mother? No worries; these tips can still apply to you, and maybe then pass them on to your mom (along with some flowers!) for Mother’s Day.
1. Simplify your food situation.
It can be a challenge to serve three nutritious and delicious meals a day to your family. But taking the time to simplify your menu and preparation process can make a world of difference!
Super-Mom wants to focus on whole foods and avoid fast food or eating out more than once a week (I know you’re shocked by the junk they put in that stuff!). How? Try online grocery delivery services. I love OrganicsToYou.org in Portland, and you may have something similar in your area. A local CSA is also a good choice. Not only can you have lovely organic whole foods delivered to your door every week, you’ll cook more if you have supplies on hand, and you’ll be less tempted by the processed food at the grocery store.
Plus, you’ll get a random assortment of produce each week. It’s a little like Christmas at our house! Kids love hunting through to see what’s been delivered, and then we all look through cookbooks to see what to do with the weirdest items! I also use The Green PolkaDot Box (affiliate link) for GMO free foods, gluten free baking mixes, snacks, and the few processed foods that keep me sane…like chocolate!
2. Simplify your volunteer and activities obligations for the year.
Volunteering feeds the soul, and getting your family involved in the community is one of the best examples you can set for your kids. But you can’t just keep piling on activities year after year—you’ll burn out.
I went through a volunteering frenzy a few years ago. I volunteered 66 hours as a master gardener, hundreds of hours on as the PR and Marketing Director for the PAC board for my daughter’s school, at least 50 more with her school’s Site Council, and hundreds more on committees and site evaluations for the National Accreditation Board. I loved every minute, but it wasn’t sustainable. Our energy is a finite resource after all!
So what is a Super-Mom to do? Use a “one in, one out” method: Only add an obligation if you can remove one with similar time constraints. Use your talents to train other people in the organization or prepare detailed procedures so that the projects you’ve started can live on without you! Once you whittle down to the activities you and your family are most passionate about, your life will feel a whole lot calmer and fulfilling.
3. Simplify your closet and leave only the things that fit.
Yes, more closet clearing. But life is simply easier when you have a closet full of things you can actually wear! So pick a day and take everything out of your closet that you can’t wear. Don’t forget those items that are stained, torn, or you haven’t worn in over a year. I like to just box up everything that doesn’t work, for whatever reason. Take those boxes somewhere else and sort through what’s left into “keep,” “toss,” “sell,” “swap”, and “donate” piles. Sorting it somewhere other than your closet avoids sneaking things back onto the hangers! Don’t feel guilty about your keep pile; it’s not necessary to get rid of everything. Simply put them in plastic tubs for long-term storage and you’ll keep your closet looking gorgeous.
What if you're left with only a few items, and you get a panic attack from the clothing desert? Just imaging you’re on holiday somewhere fabulous! We survive on a suitcase of clothes for weeks or even months on end when we’re traveling, right?
See this as an opportunity to get creative. And don’t rush out to fill up the space you just made. Jazz up the same outfit with a few cute scarves, belts, or some fun jewelry. If you have little ones and you’re really brave, let them help you pick out your outfit for a day—you never know what kind of fabulous creative combos they may come up with!
Trust me, when you breeze into your closet and know that everything in there fits and looks good on you, your morning routine will be a lot smoother.
4. Simplify your shopping: Have a swap party with your friends.
Pick a theme: clothes, jewelry, kitchen supplies, or just a free for all! Give each friend a ticket for the number of items they bring, and have them set down their items somewhere visible. Give everyone time to look things over, try things on (have a changing area!), and get situated.
Then have the guests pick a number from a hat to figure out who goes first, then take turns picking out replacement items from the piles! So much fun, and it’s free. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
5. Simplify your calendar and errands list.
For one week, write down everywhere you go and everything you do. Or use an app like Foursquare to “check in.” (You can keep it fairly private if you use a made up name and don't share on Facebook!)
Evaluate your activity at the end of the week. Are you spending a lot of your valuable time and effort in unnecessary areas? Wouldn’t it be great to put that time toward the much-needed family time with your kids?
Maybe you’re running to the store daily to pick up items. (The grocery delivery idea in #1 will help!) Look at online services you can use like Amazon and stamps.com, and see what can you cut out. All those little minutes spent running around can add up to a lot of frazzle, and that’s the LAST thing a Super-Mom needs in her life.
6. Simplify your email inbox.
Email coupons, sales, and blogs from websites we love are a great perk for Super-Moms. (No more clipping coupons!) But let’s face it; those are not the most important emails in your inbox. There are some fantastic tools now for managing your email. My favorite is unroll.me: Sign up, and it will pull all your subscription-based emails into one simple email that you can scroll through, letting your important emails (from real people!) be more visible. Genius! It also lets you easily unsubscribe to emails that you just don’t need any more.
Another good one is the “mailbox” app that lets you swipe emails into folders to “deal with later” or delete. After I was on medical leave last year, I came back to a whopping 39,000 unread emails. Yes, 39k. It was insane!
I’ve slowly been trolling through them all, sorting up by date then unread. It was an interesting exercise. When you see how fast that daily email of bargain coupons stacks up to 600 emails, it makes you want to unsubscribe. After all, I never used half of those coupons. We’re better off cutting ourselves off!
7. Simplify your relaxation.
If your life is frazzled, frantic, and full of stress, it’s going to start taking a toll. Even those of us who work at an alternative medicine school have trouble striking the perfect balance all the time, but it’s incredibly important. Just take a look at all the studies on how stress affects your health.
Take 30 minutes a day—even if you have to wake up a little bit earlier—for some “me time.” Journal. Meditate. Practice yoga. Curl up with a book and your favorite cup of herbal tea. Anything to slow down, re-focus, and re-balance.
Still too busy to slow down? Instead of taking a shower in the morning, take a 15-minute aromatherapy bath at night instead! We absorb the beneficial constituents through our skin, and taking a nice hot bath can give you some “me time” in the same amount of time as a normal shower. Aromatherapy for mom is a great stress reliever, so try this Super-Mom bath blend tonight!
Slow Down Super-Mom Bath Blend
- Juniper Juniperus communis (L.) oil: 4 drops
- Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) oil: 4 drops
- Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile (L.) All. oil: 2 drops
- Marjoram Origanum majorana (L.) oil: 2 drops
- Epsom salt: 1 ounce
Directions: Add salt to bath and let dissolve. Swirl the oils around in the bath with your hands and then enter the bath and soak. Do not use if pregnant, and check with a Registered Aromatherapist if you have pre-existing health conditions to make sure these oils are not contraindicated.
(Do you love this blend? You can learn to make your own aromatherapy essential oil blends in our accredited aromatherapy classes online at ACHS!)
It’s an undeniable fact: the life of Super-Mom is a busy one, and you deserve a bit of simplicity. I hope I’ve helped you learn how to naturally simplify life, and that you can take some time and whittle down to the essentials this Mother’s Day. When we finally slow down, simplify, and focus on what really matters (our families and our personal passions!), mom life gets a whole lot more super.
How are YOU celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Tell me in the comments!
Looking for more great gifts and free aromatherapy recipes for Mother’s Day? Check out our eBook, Holiday Gifts to Make at Home!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CIO of American College of Healthcare Sciences, the Institution that publishes this blog. However, all opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.