I think that adulting is a lot like riding a hunter course: you’re doing a ton of work but you want it to seem effortless. We get asked all the time (by listeners, friends, ourselves) how we manage to keep so many plates spinning, and I can only share my unglamorous reality: it’s a lot of hard work and I have a great group of people helping me. And I’m tried. A lot.
As a person who parents full time, works part time, rides competitively, and records and produces a podcast with a team of four busy ammies, life can get overwhelming. On a typical non-working day, I wake up when my toddler gets up, take care of her, take her to our morning mommy-and-me class, get lunch, drive to the barn while she naps, ride Pluto while my mom watches her, go home, make dinner, bathe my daughter, do bedtime, and do paperwork for my job, not to mention playing with my daughter throughout the day and running errands. And on recording days, there’s also a 2 hour Skype call with my friends usually from 9-11 pm.
It’s a lot, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m incredibly blessed and grateful for my wonderful life! There are a few strategies I use to keep my life more organized and fun, so here they are (as a list, because who doesn’t prefer to read lists):
1. I try to be as present in each moment as possible. This one is actually really hard for me because I often worry about the next step, but acknowledging “this is where I am right now and it’s what I need to be doing” helps me engage in each part of the day as it comes. When I’m with my family, it’s family time; when I’m with my horse, it’s horse time, and that’s where my mind should be.
2. I schedule my riding early in the week and make it a priority. As long as I have childcare, I go ride. Riding is my self care, and I need it to allow myself to recharge.
3. I go to sleep early. I’m in bed by 10:00 every night (except recording nights). Sometimes I stay up late watching TV or reading (or doing work), but I try to give myself time to rest, so I hav energy for the next day.
4. I find ways to include my family in horses. I hate being away from my family, so I try to include them in the horses in appropriate ways. My daughter loves to feed Pluto treats and loves to ride and groom ponies, and I try to provide those opportunities to her as much as possible. However, it can be stressful to have a toddler at the barn even with someone watching her, so often she stays home or goes to my mother’s house to allow me to concentrate on my riding.
5. I make detailed schedules of deadlines and prioritize which to complete and when. Some I handwrite and some are in my phone, but I make sure I have plenty of reminders (some are literally scribbled in the margins of my work notebooks). It takes too mental energy to try to remember everything, and schedules help take some of the pressure off me.
6. I ask for help. If I need a babysitter last minute, I reach out to my friends and family to see who can help with child care. It can be really hard to ask for help, but I find that usually when you ask, you realize what a wide support system you really have.
How do you manage your hectic schedule?