I just moved to a new town and I’m one week into my new life here in my new-to-me house and neighborhood with new grocery stores and people and… you got the idea. The biggest transition for me though has been going from full-time teaching to full-time “momming.” I love teaching and I love momming and I’ve done both full-time before. I have a little experience with this transition, but I still feel a little bit like a fish out of water.
I finally reached some clarity about why staying home is so dang difficult sometimes. I think part of it is decision fatigue. If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to the fact that every time your brain has to make a decision (no matter how small) it uses up some brain space, which makes you not able to focus as clearly. (For example, Steve Jobs wearing a black turtleneck everyday.)
I’ve gone from having almost every minute of my day extremely regimented and scheduled as a high school teacher to now having a wide-open, empty schedule. I have PLENTY to do, but I have no real deadlines or parameters for when things happen during the day. As a result, I find I’m not as productive as I imagine I SHOULD be. When things are wide open, it’s too easy for nothing to happen, or to get tangled up wasting time and reacting, instead of proactively planning out my day.
My brain always defaults to laziness. When I taught high school I HAD to wake up and shower at 6am. Now, I can shower before the kids wake up, or after they leave for school, or during nap time. There’s nothing wrong with any of those options, but I have to consider which of those options will help me to feel the happiest and most productive.
My goals as I’m making this transition are simple:
- Make and follow a daily plan. Follow roughly the same routines every day.
- Keep a running to-do list for several categories of my life, and schedule them into my daily plan.
- Be flexible and know that it is better to have a plan that needs adjusting than no plan at all.
The opportunity to be able to make these kind of choices is one of the most awesome parts of being a full time mom, and I’m trying my best to embrace all the choices. I’d love to hear what routines help you overcome decision fatigue. How do you simplify your routines and the choices you make each day?