With my last few weeks of pregnancy staring me in the face and the realization that my spirit of grace is lacking more often than I like to mention. It has caused me to look in my 'bag of mommy' tricks that I have picked up over the last four years that help me cope with stressful days/weeks and keep my sanity.
Number 1: Keep schedule sanity.
If I know I am having a hard time keeping my cool, then I don't over schedule myself. Sorry friends, but if you don't see me much for the next six weeks, it is because I need as much focus as possible keeping my cool at home. I have a rough set limit of one out of the house activity a day. Thursdays is my exception to the rule. If I push myself beyond that at this point, my hips hurt, I don't remember to drink enough water and I turn into 'mean mommy' well before it is time to put my children safely in their beds.
Number 2: Treat yourself.
This could could look like an extra nap if my husband has the kids under control. It could be drinking a favorite fruit drink (or even just ice water with lemon) out of a fancy glass. It could be hiding my face in the pantry to shove a handful of dark chocolate chips in my mouth while the kids aren't looking. It could be taking a walk. It almost never costs money.
Number 3: Plan a Picnic.
When I am feeling stressed or tired, the last thing I want to do is clean up a big mess at the end of dinner. So every so often, when I want a no-brainer kind of meal, I plan a picnic dinner. My kids love it, are pre-occupied with the change in scenery (I find the scenery therapeutic as well), and at the end I didn't have to clean up much of anything.
Number 4: Early baths & then a movie.
The name says it all. When my kids are up in my business and I need them to chill out and leave me alone so I can pull my sanity back, I give them a bath. They love it, they are self contained in the bathroom, I don't worry about the water mess (mine are girls, maybe if you have boys they make more water mess?), and at the end they are calmer (and clean) most of the time. Or maybe I'm just calmer to have had that 20+ minute break while they splashed around. Then, to take it a step further sometimes. To keep them from making a big mess before bed, we just have movie night. Since we don't watch many movies, they love this and we snuggle and by the end of the movie I again feel like maybe I am a decent mommy.
Number 5: Simple Dinners.
When it has been 'one of those' days, then I always have a back up plan for dinners. Ingredients on hand that are simple and quick to throw together; something the kids will eat and I can enjoy too. Nothing worse than being at your wits end and then have to come home to cook something that takes an hour. When I can't bear the thought of standing at the counter chopping/prepping dinner, I pull out one of my no-fail recipes. My two favorites: eggs and toast & 30 min. tuna casserole. I also use hot dogs and homemade mac n cheese (if my husband hasn't eaten all the hot dogs). These are recipes that are not focused on health per say, so much as they feed my mental health with their simplicity.
Hope these were helpful to you. If you have any creative ways you keep your sanity on days when you feeling it slipping, please post a comment. I'm always happy to add more tricks to my bag.