As I picked up my phone to silence the alarm reminding me about school pick up, the text message from my friend caught me by surprise. “I’m at the school with the girls. Can K come home for a play date?” The message was normal…but the timing was off. She sent it 30 minutes before school was out. Why was she there with them?
Then it hit me. It was Wednesday. She was there for the Mother’s Day celebration. And I wasn’t. My heart started beating faster and my shirt dampened as I scooped up my younger daughter, threw on some shoes and ran out the door. It was already too late. The party was long over. But I felt a need to get to the school as quickly as possible.
I was prepared for tears. She’s my sensitive one. But when she saw me, I got the biggest hug in the world. She was genuinely happy to see me. I started in on my apology, and she assured me it was ok. There were no tears—at least from her. I, on the other hand, was a sobbing mess as she told me about all the things I had missed. Apparently I was the only mom who wasn’t there. Of course.
And the worse part? There was absolutely no excuse. I work from home. The whole point of which is so that I am able to be there for my kids when they need me. And I wasn’t. I let my little girl down. I let myself down. Outside forces and too many other things crowded my brain, making me scattered. I lost control of my schedule, and I’d forgotten.
So now what? As I was sharing my tragic tale with a friend, she wisely suggested that even though it was terrible and heart breaking, that there had to be something to learn. Something so that it isn’t for nothing.
Here are 3 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Be the Mom You Want to Be:
Set up Boundaries. You can’t keep saying yes to everything and everyone, even if it sounds fun or you feel obligated. When you have too many things going on, there will be casualties and it’s often in the area that’s most important to us—at home. There have to be boundaries and qualifications for the things on your schedule.
But…how do you get there?
Focus on What’s Important Now. There are so many good things vying for our time and attention, it is hard to choose where to focus and what will have the most impact. As a woman who constantly has several things going on at once between work, children, church, family, home, school, community etc. it is impossible to do everything at once. Which means you will have to do some soul searching to figure out the areas that are most important to you and your family. Sometimes you just need to cut out the non-essentials. At least for a while. You can usually come back to it later.
Get It All Out! Write out all the things that are taking up space in your brain that you feel like you have to remember. Make the doctor’s appointments, write that thank you note, pick up the birthday party present, pay the phone bill etc. Because even if you have a calendar or a schedule, there are often things we just keep up there, rattling around trying to not be forgotten and it takes so much energy. Write it down—piece of paper, in your notes app, whatever. Then, organize the list by things you can do quickly, things you can delegate, things that take longer or more steps, or what you can delete. Then—plug it into your calendar. This makes it more likely to be done and not forgotten!
Everything Will Be OK: Realize you’re only human and you will make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you lose your patience, forget to make the lunch, miss soccer practice or your house is not Instagram or Pinterest worthy. As long as you’re trying your best, and loving your little ones, you’re good enough! They’ll get over the small stuff.
When you put these principles together, and practice them daily you’ll be able to banish “bad mom” from your vocabulary and be on the path to being the mom you want to be.
Kirsten Reeder is a mother of three, best-selling author, and parenting/motherhood coach. She’s on a mission to help busy moms eliminate the day to day chaos so they can be the mom they’ve always wanted to be. She hosts workshops and classes and online, as well as working with clients 1-1 and in small groups. You can find her at SproutShell.com, @vibrantmomsociety on Instagram and Vibrant Mom Society on Facebook.