Friday, April 1, 2011

Focus Friday: More on Getting Your Family on Board

It has been nearly 30 days since we talked about getting family on board and using  a categorized to-do list. The power of this type of list is that it allows you to focus on grouped tasks. it also highlights for you just how much you handle. If you have six or seven categories of tasks which are necessary to keep your family running, and each category could easily be filled with tasks, and on top of that have a work schedule and appointments, you are quite literally as busy as many project managers! Go here and you will find that most project managers across different industries receive well over $80,000 per year. While I personally believe that a dedicated wife, mom, and family manager has even greater value, this figure may help you gain a fresh perspective on your worth to your family!

That said, your to-do list could easily be completely full every single day of the week, couldn't it? The difference between focus and frazzle is choosing the high-priority and time-sensitive things AND learning to DELETE or DELEGATE things when necessary. Your endurance and motivation will be depleted if you feel you have to get everything done. Does "everything" have to be done at the end of the day anyway? Any mom would agree that "a mother's work is never done," right? So, remind yourself of that if you struggle with being frazzled and frustrated at the end of the day!

So if you feel you are working against the flow and your family and you are not on the same team, consider this:

1. Know your value. When I lived in Asia, I once saw three precious children of a neighbor become disheveled, dejected, and depressed when their mother took a new position working ABROAD for an indefinite period of time. The immediate and unmistakable effect on her children was devastating, especially when the youngest child came to me, pulled on my clothes, and called me mama! That woman's value went beyond the money she left to make, and I know for sure that she certainly wasn't making anywhere near what any project manager makes.

2. Be nice to yourself. Human nature is to "milk the cow," "take a mile when given an inch," and "go with the flow." Learning to create boundaries is important to create a situation in which you can enjoy your family AND yourself. Letting yourself be milked and stretched beyond your capability to cope is not smart. Delegate to your children as soon as possible. My personal growth area here is letting my boy do things himself that I could do faster. I'm not boosting his confidence if I don't give him room to master putting on those shoes, and I certainly am not giving myself less work by jumping in and putting them on for him! It's not going to change in a day, so make it a long-term goal; and start with not taking the poor responses of others personally, but rather as an opportunity to educate and train for correct responses.

3. Know thyself. Don't forget to monitor your OWN responses, as these literally define the atmosphere in your home. That bears repeating: Your responses DEFINE the atmosphere in your home. If you feel you cannot lead by example at any given moment, check for thirst, fatigue, hunger, illness, or other physical needs (read hormones here), and find  a way to fill them to alleviate the stress of the moment. My personal favorite is to get ready for bed and comfortable before my toddler, even if he is a mess, and it's a little past bedtime. When I sink back in the chair with him on my lap and kick open the recliner, he senses my relief and relaxes with me. It beats the "I'm so exhausted, won't you please just go to sleep" scenario! Emotional knots are a bit harder to untangle, but know that there is wisdom in your work, and these are OFTEN rooted in physiological issues, as the ones mentioned above. If you focus on what you CAN change, your churning mind will often quiet. Resist the urge to lash out at anyone, and you will thank yourself later. If something really needs to be addressed, you can address it properly, and not with tears, screaming, or non-communicative and degrading words.

What is the one thing you are taking away from this post? Tell me what you are choosing to do with it, and what happens!


  1. It's so easy to push my own needs to the bottom of the list! Yet it's true that "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." I need to take all three of those steps so I'm not sure really where I'll start. Probably with the taking care of myself part.

  2. It's so true. If you have a pile of laundry, or disorganization in other areas of your life, you can still manage if you are taking care of yourself. Plus, practicing extreme self-care enhances efforts to bring order to the other areas