Life is already complex. From learning and development, to maintaining good health, to building relationships, to figuring out how to make money, to living and environmental issues, to career ups and downs, to baby rearing…the list is never ending.
We’re women. It’s in our nature to over-think, over-analyze and over-complicate things. Most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Call it instinctual, call it habitual. At the end of the day, if we can hone ourselves in, take a look at the big picture and identify the most simple solution, you never know…it just may work! Keeping it simple doesn’t need to be so hard.
My Most Recent Case of Over-Complication
My little prince is 4 months old now. And up until about a week ago, my husband and I simply assumed that this guy was a fussy, high maintenance (“HM” as I call him) night owl who needed to be rocked to sleep day and night, and who had to stay up until at least midnight if not 1 or 2 am before going down for the day. Needless to say the little one and I would sleep until 11 or noon the next day just to feel somewhat functional! And so has been our routine for the past 4 months.
I assumed that when my little guy was ready to go to bed at 8pm, he’d let us know. Ummm…how exactly did I think he was going to do this? Who knows because I never even tried to change the schedule. I kept thinking to myself, “Man, how long is this ass-backwards routine going to last?”
It wasn’t until we went to our friends’ house for New Year’s Eve that our heads really started to spin as we realized our stupidity. They’d already “sleep trained” their son at one month of age!
“It Seems Way to Simple” – Try it Anyway!
On New Year’s Day, I flipped my approach. Something incredibly simple dawned on me…
Baby looks tired so I’ll lay him in his crib.
But prior to January 1st, it didn’t go down that way. I’d recognize that he looked tired (maybe), then wait for him to play himself into total exhaustion, and finally frantically rock him to sleep in my arms once he became despairingly fussy!
When I placed him gently in his crib on New Year’s Day for his first nap after returning from the slumber party at our friends’ house, guess what? He went to sleep! No rocking, no shushing, no back-breaking activities. A serious breakthrough, to say the least. And then it became evident that my little prince had been giving me the signals all along. He’d been telling me what he needed and I’d been ignoring it thinking the only way he’d go to sleep was if I was breaking my back in the process.
How to Keep Things Simple In Your Home Life
I want you to learn from my stupidity. (That’s actually the whole objective of this blog.) So the next time you just can’t seem to figure something out in your personal life, try this:
- Don’t overthink anything before it happens. In other words, be careful you don’t come down with a mad case of the “If my husband doesn’t get off the computer…” “If my baby wakes up in the middle of the night…” “If my mom overstays her welcome…” “If my friend can’t make it tomorrow night…” You know why? Because 9 times out of 10, it won’t happen!
- If it does happen, think of the easiest (and most stress free) solution and try that first. Instead of yelling at your husband, ask him calmly again, maybe he just lost track of time. Instead of breaking your back and working yourself up, try consoling your baby sitting or lying down. Instead of getting annoyed at your mom, have a conversation about limits and boundaries. Instead of freaking out on your friend, roll with the punches, be understanding, find something else to do.
- Live in the moment. Man, the number of times I’ve caught myself planning for the afternoon, thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow or dwelling on something stupid I did a week ago…scratch that. I can’t count them! Be present. Relax. Listen to Erma Bombeck (truth: to me, this is a Van Wilder quote but turns out the real brains behind it belong to this lady):
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
How to Keep Things Simple in Your Business Life
Just like it can in our personal lives, business life can be overly complicated too. When you’re a new mom, there ain’t time for unnecessary biz stresses! Here are a few pointers on how to dial it back, ladies:
- Pre-plan your day. The night before, have at least a rough idea of what you want to accomplish tomorrow. And don’t cram too much in! (Side note: don’t think I haven’t realized this point TOTALLY contradicts my “live in the moment” point above. But let’s be real, life doesn’t function smoothly – and simply – without a little planning.
- Don’t over-commit or over-promise. Remember, you’re a mommy now and that means there’s a new boss in town: that non-stop eating, pooping tiny tot you gave birth to!
- Tell it how it is. Be honest with your clients. Explain your situation. You might be surprised how much support you get. Speaking of simple, Mark Twain put it nicely:
“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
Have you mastered the art of keeping it simple?
How do you do it?