This is a national wire column I wrote a while ago and realize I never posted at The Lounge. Welcome to all of our new subscribers! Spread the word to fellow moms – subscriptions are free, and you get Momtastic tips delivered to your e-mail box every week!
Motherhood is a legitimate and valuable business, but there’s a twist. It has all of the makings of a real job – expectations, deadlines, periodic reviews of performance (self-inflicted and from friends and family), success and failure, management and supervision, unpredictable hours, demanding clients, and on and on. Like a businessperson, mothers are expected to be dedicated, high achievers day and night. We’re constantly juggling multiple tasks that all seem to be time-sensitive priorities, with clients (kids, husbands) demanding our physical, intellectual, and emotional skills, sometimes all at once!
However, and this is the “twist” part, you’re working day and night at a job that people and society sometimes don’t recognize as having value. How many times have you heard the phrase “just a mom”? Nonetheless, you’re expected to do a great job, so what’s the secret to success? Treat the mechanics of the job like a business with systems, organization, and method. And, like a professional, once you strip the emotion out of the equation while you’re managing the tactics, you have a much higher likelihood of laser focus and ultimate success.
This isn’t to say you need to wear high heels in the playroom, dictate chores via PowerPoint presentations, or be a robot when interacting with your kids. Give lots of hugs and kisses; relish precious moments; and create and spend as much quality time as is humanly possible. However, when it comes to running the business side (schedules, carpools, to-do lists), look for tips and tactics from the business world to guide the way. A business approach to motherhood increases productivity, efficiency, and overall job satisfaction.
Motherhood is tough. It’s misunderstood and under-appreciated. Once you accept that it is indeed a business, you will not only see it increase in value and legitimacy, but you will be ready to make it the most successful operation you have ever managed in your life!
There are lots of great ways to get and stay organized:
– Create lists on paper or electronically by category to stay on task.
– Use post-bedtime minutes or hours to prepare for the next day.
– Don’t reinvent the wheel – brainstorm solutions with other parents. Share your best practices, and start the dialogue to get creative ideas from friends.
– Use teamwork to get the job done. Engage your kids in chores; reduce your workload while teaching them valuable life lessons.
– Strip the emotion out of the equation. Like I said earlier, it’s virtually impossible to do a good job with anything when you’re stressed or upset. Take a few deep breaths, find a quiet place, and do your planning in a peaceful setting.
– Revisit your plan on a regular basis.
Most importantly, tell yourself you can do it all, and you will! Remember the childhood classic, “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper and Loren Long. A little attitude got that train chugging along. How many parents have read that to their little ones to urge positive attitudes? Be the great mom that can and will, and you’ll do it in stride.
What kinds of things have you found successful in getting organized? Click “Add a Comment” at the top of this post, and get into the dialogue!