One thing I’ve found to be a huge game changer, yet often need to still remind myself of, is living in the present. When you momage your time, you’re often thinking ahead and reflecting behind. I’ve learned the hard way that going in either of these directions too frequently often doesn’t lead you to the destination you were looking for. The GPS of life is going to reroute you so many times, frustrating the shit out of you, and sometimes making you want to give up altogether. You’ll feel overwhelmed, resentful, regretful, and discouraged by it all. When you don’t make a conscious effort to be present daily, you lose out on everything you’re living for.
Some days I feel like the only conversations I’m having with my kids are telling them what to do.
Have you brushed your teeth?
Time to go, put your shoes on.
Tell your brother you’re sorry.
Did you flush the toilet?
When I take a minute to realize that every single thing I’ve said to my kids that day is a command, I remind myself to take a breather and to be grateful for them, for being their mom, for that moment with their sweet, high pitched kid voices that often say hysterical things or ask innocent and curious questions, and that I get to be there to actually listen to what they’re saying. Living in the present often leads to being a more grateful person in general, which ultimately means you’re living a more fulfilled and balanced life. Name one person who doesn’t want that. I dare you.
Everyone has time to take a moment a day to be present. People usually have more than just a moment, actually. We’re not used to that, though. Sometimes it even feels uncomfortable. We’re used to go-go-go. We’re used to filling those moments with social media or bitching about the past or meal planning for the week ahead. We’re used to feeling guilty for taking a minute to breathe. Taking a minute to breathe isn’t going to interrupt your plan or make you achieve your goals any less quickly. Taking a minute to breathe isn’t going to take up any significant amount of time in your time momagement schedule. It is going to give you back the air you’re lacking. It is going to bring pep back into your step and propel you further. It is going to remind you of why you wake up each day. It is going to turn your resting, tired bitch face into resting, still tired babe face.
People momage staying present in many different ways. They write a gratitude journal. They pray. They put their phones out of site (and hopefully out of mind) when they want to disconnect from work, social media or any form of life outside their four walls and reconnect with their families. They ask their kids to play a game or read a book, rather than wait for their kids to ask them. They take the reality of a situation and make the best of it.
I’ve done all these things, and they’ve drastically changed how I momage my time and think about my days. Shifting your mindset to one of more gratitude makes you a generally happier person. When you’re a happier person, you feel motivated to do great things. You feel satisfied with where you are even if you still have a laundry list of goals you want to achieve. You feel like even the shittiest situations bring you joy because you turn them around and make them work for you. Before you start thinking I’m a hippie on LSD tripping out right now, let me tell you what I mean here. I’m a realist, even more so than I’m an optimist. Maybe it’s the native New Yorker, those cynical, geographical genetics, or just the practicality I was raised with. Nonetheless, I’m not trying to recruit you to my happy cult or drink my happy kool-aide. But perspective truly is the way to living a better life. It doesn’t mean you lay down and die. It doesn’t mean you are 100% satisfied with everything and everyone surrounding you. It does mean you choose to find the good in everyday rather than the shit in it. Wayne Dyer couldn’t have spoken more truthful words when he said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” It’s literally that simple.
As a working mom, I commute on the regular. Four days per week, I take public transportation to San Francisco and then walk about half a mile to my office. It takes over an hour each way door to door. If I told you I loved it, you’d say I was lying, and I’d say, “You’re absolutely right, girlfriend. Commuting sucks.” The bottom line is though, commuting is part of my reality and maybe part of yours too. Commuting is a time suck, and commuting takes time away from other things I’d love to do with my time every day. Commuting also gives me the opportunity to listen to audiobooks, organize myself with to-do lists, online shop for essential things I’d likely be running to Target for, hear my favorite songs, power walk a mile a day, and sometimes even catch up with friends on a phone call. Commuting is a total bitch if you look at her with your bitch glasses on. Commuting is a total peach if you look at her with your rose-colored glasses on. Most days, I choose to see her in a shade of my favorite color: pink. Some days, I can’t stand her, but I think that’s a normal part of any relationship. I’m sure there are days even the people you love most in your life piss you off and make you angry. By the way, I won’t take my relationship with commuting that far. I’d never say I love her. In the end, though, you either choose to see things for the good they bring you or the bad they leave you with—your choice.