It is too easy to convince ourselves that we aren’t doing enough. Change your perspective and reduce stress by focusing on the positive and giving yourself credit for what we do everyday. Reduce guilt and enjoy the time with your twins instead of worrying about all the tasks that aren’t getting done.
Before I had twins I was a busy working woman who was suffering from major stress. I always felt like I wasn’t enough and I was in a really negative place. Looking for ways to reduce my stress and change my outlook from negative to positive, I had tried keeping a gratitude journal. Although I had (and have) much to be grateful for listing my blessings didn’t buoying my spirits.
One day, I decided instead of starting another gratitude journal entry I listed all of the things I was doing everyday that I could be proud of. I made this list every night before I went to sleep. Some days this list had big things on it, like finishing a project, but most days my lists were full of many little things. As I kept listing these things before I went to bed every night I started to feel a change in myself. Before I started doing this at the end of the day I would feel defeated, thinking about all of the things left on my “to do” list. It was a huge boost to my moral to focus on what I did do instead of what I didn’t do. I was giving myself credit. I was acknowledging my accomplishments and nourishing my own soul.
Fast forward to those first weeks and months of being a twin mom. When my house was a mess and we had no clean clothes and no food in the house it is really easy to feel like I have not accomplished anything that day. You might be thinking – I haven’t done enough to give myself credit – yes you have. Some tasks that may seem small might actually be monumental. You might be feeling “I haven’t gotten anything done today”. Well, actually you have changed 10 diapers, done 3 feedings, dressed the children in clean clothes, wiped faces after 14 spit-ups, took a shower, and all this before lunch. Giving yourself credit for all those little things really adds up.
Giving yourself credit can turn around your perspective from a focus on the negative to a focus on the positive. Many of us end our day by thinking about all of the things on our to do list that didn’t get done. You may sit in your living room at night and notice the toys on the floor, the dust on the end table and the basket of laundry on the chair that needs to be folded. You are dead tired from taking care of your twins all day, a day that started at 4 am when one of the babies didn’t want to go back to sleep. So you’re exhausted and want to go to bed but you feel guilty and defeated and not good enough. You spend the next few hours when you should be relaxing or sleeping doing some of the many undone chores around the house. When you finally collapse into bed do you feel accomplished, satisfied, at peace? No, you are still thinking about what didn’t get done. You are still judging yourself and finding that you come up short. Well here is the dirty little secret of the to do list : it is never done, it is a bottomless pit of tasks that just keep coming. Focus on what you did, and be kind to yourself. We have to get past the idea that we should be able to do a million other things while we are taking care of our babies, and then beating ourselves up because we didn’t get anything done today. When you start giving yourself credit and paying attention to what you have done stress is greatly reduced. Pressure is off – instead of focusing on what didn’t happen (and it’s your fault it didn’t happen) you focus on what did happen.
Giving yourself credit can be a great way to combat negative thinking. We are especially vulnerable when we are sleep deprived, and let’s face it we are all sleep deprived. By giving yourself credit you can change your perspective and reduce stress. You can wake up that next day without feeling like you are already defeated. You will be more pleasant to be around, have better relations with your husband and children. You will sleep better because if you reflect on why you deserve credit before you fall asleep you will focus on that instead of staying awake thinking about all the things you didn’t do.
Give it a try and see how it affects your perspective and your attitude. There are many ways to give yourself credit – journal at the end of the day, note taking app on your phone, rubber band on your wrist that you snap each time you do something, a pad of paper on the fridge that has a running list, call or text a friend at night and share your lists with each other, post on social media, or keep a list in your bullet journal or daily planner. I hope that this will give you a sense of pride, reduce stress, and help you to appreciate all that you do. You are a mom or dad of multiples, you deserve all the credit in the world.
Kelly Petro lives in Rochester, NY with her husband John, her 8 month old twins, Charlie and Sophia and her dog Dexter. She is a music teacher and she’s enjoying staying home this school year to take care of her twinnies. She enjoys singing, writing, reading, and papercrafts such as card making and decorating her paper planner.
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