Chaos. Exhaustion. Guilt. Resentment. Stress.
Sound familiar? If you’re a mom, your answer is probably “yes”. Maybe you even display them jokingly on your coffee mug, notepad, fridge magnet, or blog. And why do we joke about living with such an obviously burdensome state of mind? Because as modern moms, we’ve come to accept it. It’s our not-so-secret handshake into the Modern Mom club. Our conversations with other moms sound like a round robin of complaints, all under the guise of sharing, venting, commiserating, or self-bashing. Super Mom solidarity. At least we have that.
Is that what we want?
I’m guessing not, since there are hundreds (thousands?) of books, blogs, articles and products geared toward helping us. Help us find balance. Help us stay organized. Help us reduce stress. Help us stay healthy. Help us parent. Help us run our households. Help us do it all.
Maybe we should stop doing it all.
Easier said than done, I know. We’ve all heard about the importance of prioritizing; some of us even have smart methods of making sure we focus on what we believe is important, not just urgent. Some of us do the best we can with a long list. And some of us organizationally-challenged moms (bless us) take it day by day and just hope we can remember to pick up the kids at the right time and place. We’re all Super Moms. Why? Surely we’re not doing it for the cape. (OK, some of us like the cape.) But most of us think we’re doing it for our families, because it’s all necessary—just part of the job of modern mom. Well, that’s not a good reason. In fact, that’s a very dangerous reason. That’s like saying we’re willing to add anything at all to our list of responsibilities, as long as someone tells us it falls under the “mom” role. Are we insane?
Think about why you wear the cape.
The answer should be something like, “I want my family to be . . ..” Then fill in the blank with your goal, whether that’s happy, healthy, loving, spiritual, smart, good, all of the above, or something else. I realize that little exercise did nothing to lighten your to-do list, but it should at least remind you that everything you do is a choice and you probably have a purpose behind your choices. If you think anything on your to-do list is a “have to do”, think again. Left undone, some may have more serious consequences than others, but I assure you the choice is still yours. This is where some people will talk about finding a balance—ah, the key to modern mom’s bliss, you just have to find balance.
With so many people looking for “balance”, why haven’t we found it?
Are we really searching for this ever-elusive balance, or are we just trying to figure out how to do it all and more, only better and faster? Are we actually taking anything off our list, or are we just adding “make time for yourself” and assuming that magically creates balance? Finding balance isn’t about loading up each arm with everything under the sun, such that both arms buckle at the same time. It’s about identifying what’s most important in our lives and the lives of our loved ones, focusing on those things, and letting the rest go, guilt free.
If you read this far, you may think Successful Family is all about moms—maybe an effort to convince moms to stop doing so much. Not exactly. Successfully Family is all about family.
The American family needs a lifeline. We’re drowning in an overabundance of choices and information, all while trying to navigate a recession. Many families aren’t equipped to handle the pressure, partially because family, in general, has taken a backseat to careers, money, children, individual pursuit of happiness, etc. Success is measured at work, at the bank, at school, and in the carpool line, instead of where it should matter most—at home.
I’m reaching out to moms, because I believe mom is the cornerstone of a happy family. At the very least I believe that if mom isn’t happy, the rest of the family can’t be happy. I’m advocating we all give up Super Mom in exchange for Super Family. Cancel our membership at the Modern Mom Club and apply for a new one at the Happy Family Club.
Successful Family’s mission is to help families achieve success at home, using tools and techniques that are based on fundamental business concepts—the same ones used by successful companies. These proven business practices can be adapted for families, personalized, and applied at home. Successful Family will show you how, step by step.
Stop looking for balance, and start living it.Next week: What Your Family Isn’t Telling You, and Why