Please Don’t Tell Me How Busy You Are

BusyMom2I say this with love…and a complete, empathetic understanding of your overscheduled life… but you’ve got to stop blaming your decisions on your busy calendar. If you can’t get together for coffee, tell me you have other plans. If you can’t manage to deliver something you’ve promised a hundred times, admit that you’re a disorganized mess and ask me to extend some grace. If you are chronically late to pick up your child tell me there’s a conflict in your schedule or that you haven’t quite figured out how long it takes you to get out the door with a new baby. I would understand that. I could relate to that.

But please — for the love of all things sacred to moms on this planet — don’t tell me how “busy” you are. Don’t list all the things you have on your plate, apologize half-heartedly and expect me to cut you a break. Not because I don’t care or because I don’t believe you. And not because I think I’m busier than you are. Trust me, the last thing I want to see is women competing for the title of Most Busiest Mom – because being busy is not a good thing in my book. It’s not something I brag about or something that I’m proud of. It’s something I battle on a regular basis.

Let’s Be Honest

When you tell me you’re too busy, you’re saying my request (or your commitment) is not important. And that’s ok – as long as you’re honest about it and tell me that up front. Don’t let me wait around for you — expecting you to deliver on a promise. Don’t let me count on you, only to be disappointed. Don’t beg me to make exceptions and jump through hoops to accommodate your busy world, as if the rest of us don’t live there with you.

Let’s face it – moms are busy people. And we tend to take on more than we should. We’re all in this mess together. We created it ourselves. And we tell ourselves it’s only here for a season…so we will muddle through…because someday we’ll miss it. I get that. And I agree we should embrace the chaos of our responsibility-filled lives and enjoy the blessings of motherhood and all that this season brings. But we can do that with honesty and grace and kindness. Without blaming others, letting people down and expecting sympathy or special treatment. And perhaps more importantly – without feeling like we’ve failed. [Read more…]

The One Thing That’s Wrong With Your To-Do List

To Do ListI flopped into bed, exhausted and emotionally wiped out. It had been another one of those days that seemed to go in a wildly different direction than I had planned. A late school bus threw us off schedule and everything else followed suit – forgotten lunchboxes, car batteries that died, dinner that was overcooked, a troubling phone call from a friend and soccer practice that was moved to another location 30 minutes before it started.

As I melted into my cozy mattress, I began to mentally list the things I had not accomplished – the long list of To-Do’s that didn’t get done. There was a pile of dirty dishes still in the sink…a load of laundry that never made it into the dryer and would certainly need to be rewashed… a looming client deadline that would now require me to pull some late nights… and several errands that simply had to wait until tomorrow.

I felt like another day was lost. I was so discouraged that I was now “behind schedule” once again. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we obsess with tackling our LIST and feel like a failure when we don’t GET THINGS DONE?

We measure our success based on how much we accomplish. How many miles did we run this morning? How quickly did we shower, make lunch and get the kids off to school? How many tasks did we cross off the list at work? How many phone calls did we return? How many bills did we pay? How well did we get that orange juice stain out of the carpet? And how much did we save with coupons at the grocery story?

I don’t know about you, but when I rock these tasks (heck, even when I simply complete them haphazardly), I feel like a huge success! I go to bed at night feeling accomplished. Validated. Feeling like a GREAT mom! These are all good things to accomplish – as long as they don’t come at the expense of truly BEING a great mom (or wife…or friend…or sister…or daughter). [Read more…]

7 Rules for Thrifty Back-to-School Shopping

back to school shoppingI was in Target one day picking up a few items when I saw a mom with an overflowing cart of school supplies. Ugh…is it that time already? For a moment I felt guilty because I’m always the slacker mom who sends her kids off to school with barely the essentials and does her best to catch up by the end of September. But as I watched this woman negotiate with her 7-year-old who was throwing a temper tantrum about a lunchbox, I was reassured that my way of back-to-school shopping works just fine for me.

I may not get EVERYTHING on the supply list…and I certainly don’t buy it all on time. But I’m willing to bet we spend less money than some other families. The National Retail Federation estimates the average family spends $669 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics during the back-to-school shopping season from July through September. That’s a lot of notebooks!

Here are a few of my personal tips for saving money – and saving your sanity – when it comes to back-to-school shopping.

7 Rules for Thrifty Back-to-School Shopping

1. Go Solo. I know it’s tempting to make the back-to-school shopping trip a special event to help children get excited about the start of a new year. But I personally haven’t found shopping with my kids to be effective. I spend less time and less money when I make a list and knock it out on my own. Of course, I need the children with me to buy shoes and some clothes, but the supplies I can do on my own. When I do take them with me, I give them a budget and let them use their own money if they want something more expensive.

2. Wait and See. There’s no medal for completing your back-to-school shopping before the first day of class. In fact, I find there are always a few teachers who add to the supply list in the first couple of weeks. And there are often better sales later in the season. Last year I waited so long to buy my daughter safety goggles for science lab that she ended up getting a hand-me-down pair from another student. Gotta love a resourceful child!

Oh, and when it comes to clothes, I most definitely don’t buy a new fall wardrobe in August. Why? Because it’s still 98 degrees outside and by the time the weather cools off enough to wear jeans, my kids will have undoubtedly had a growth spurt. [Read more…]