Dear Procrastinator Parents,
I wish this was a letter praising you for your efforts to delay the endless to-dos or burdens of responsibility. Trust me, the anti-conventional, carefree lifestyle has always been my forte. Whether it was writing that last minute essay, planning what to do on the weekends…on the weekend…, getting that last minute birthday present on our way to the party, or deciding what to eat for dinner at dinner time, I simply do not like the constrictions of a schedule, or, more accurately, being told what to do.
However, I, too, quickly realized that children make everything a little more difficult with keeping up with the free-spirited hippy mantra. With all the sibling rivalries, trying to establish my parental authority and stay consistent with my yes’ and no’s, or just tolerating all that constant noise (aka screaming) can really challenge just how much composure one needs. Alas, for the homemaker AND working mom, the truth is routines are important. Of course, changing behaviors learned over the years is easier said than done. Yet taking these 3 simple steps can help any mother keep sanity throughout her day.
1). WAKE UP BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE
This really helps promote a sound mind to feeling like a real individual. You know, that person who existed before the constant demands and irrational shrieks over lost socks, the favorite sippy cup that is not available, or my favorite: wiping butts other than your own. This little behavior change can assist you to focus on YOUR needs, as well as the needs of the family’s rest of the day. I found that prepping the coffee maker or making the kids lunch the night before really helps our mornings run more smoothly. Plus, my coffee is actually hot while drinking it.
2). CHOOSE THE SAME SIMPLE, EASY MEALS EACH WEEK
Don’t you remember those meatloaf (or meatless nowadays) Mondays or taco Tuesday dinners EVERY week growing up? At first, I felt superior to giving into the same weekly meals, since I get bored with eating the same things. While I sought to blame the forward-thinking folks, it was my procrastination and lack of preparation that made meal planning, prepping, and making a difficult task. Now, I simply try to make a new meal each week and then simplify our meals the rest of the week. Cooking and cleaning is time consuming, and meals are only successful if we ALL are enjoying the moment eating them. For us, we commit to Friday night pizza, bean-burritos, and a pasta/ veggie dish each week. Then, I work around those to incorporate an old family recipe, a new Pinterest idea, or cook one of the weekly mail order meals (which comes with fresh ingredients and recipe) we have subscribed to. I have to admit, it feels a little foreign to be….organized.
3). DON’T OVERWHELM YOUR SCHEDULE - YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL
Being an impulsive and impatient person, I tend to attempt WAY too much at once. Sure, I could do all the errands in one day, but is that what I should do? While this might sound contradictory to us procrastinator types, since we will simply delay the tasks and the to-do list will pile up, we don’t want to be turned off by letting ourselves - or others - down. Don’t spread yourself thin with how much you can do in one day. Instead, choose a few things to do that day (like actually completing that one load of laundry that is still sitting in the dryer wrinkled) and just stick to it, commit, and be successful in accomplishing the task. Like our children, we rise up victorious in our achievements or combust under too much pressure.
Though full conversion to superior time management and disciplined attitudes has yet to be a priority, there is no doubt that making these simple adjustments to one’s daily routine results in keeping sanity for all.
Ashley, your fellow carefree comrade