Friday, April 8, 2011

What About the Off Days?

Some REAL women, a childhood friend, a current client, and a mentor have made quite an impression on me lately:

The childhood friend noted wryly on her Facebook status that  "a real woman  always has a clean house, empty laundry basket, is well made-up, smells good, is slim, healthy, eloquent and is perfectly well-behaved...."

The mentor, a well known leader in the organizing industry related that her desk was piled with papers as she struggled to manage the affairs of her aging parents.

The current client called herself "a bad girl" for "not staying on top of things," and shared that she was battling depression while fighting recent illness, and weathering difficult days mothering an autistic child.

Now, the client I mentioned recently received a Family Manager Assessment with me and we were following up to see what victories and challenges she had. She shared some of her challenges here, and even invited me to share a bit of our personal coaching correspondence with others to help other busy  moms! She said, "I think a lot of moms...could use this!" Read on to see some of what  we said to her:

"Jenny, your waiting/trusting attitude is spot on, and your priorities plain to see. Bravo for making a decision to slow down. Piles of laundry...are not as important as self care.

I have an assignment for you, should you choose to accept it:

First, Take a daily hit list and some tape (make sure you have this or some other way of posting it) and scratch (guess you need a pen/cil!) through the part that says  daily hit and write [For One of THOSE Days]. Put something in each category you can do to "help yourself" beforehand and make those days easier. [Off days HAPPEN, you know!] For example, under food, it might be  a tiny grocery list for OTC meds and supplies for illness, or "cook  double and freeze," so you can pull that out when the "unexpected" happens. Under self care, put, "delete guilt!" Post this paper up to inspire you when you are ambitious [a "good" day!], NOT to make you feel guilty for what you haven't completed! Scribble down as much in each category as you can! If you get interrupted mid-scribble, post it as is, and add to it. Make it an ongoing project to be as prepared for "those days" as you can. 

Second, don't say to yourself, "I have not been a good girl," or "I am not on top of things," say, "I haven't looked at my priorities, but they will be there the next time I look at them, and they will be just as important." Or, "I messed up and went through the drive-thru for lunch today because I didn't plan ahead last night by throwing something into the crockpot." (This is what I did today, girl! I was tired last night, and even though I knew I had errands planned for late this morning, I didn't prepare for lunch.) When you are specific about what is happening, it is easier to change your behavior. Calling yourself a bad girl just makes you feel bad and is non-productive.

Third, read this (which you have probably read before!): 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

Don't Just Get Organized! Get Established!"

I am so thankful to share in the path of sharp, honest, busy moms who realize the value of establishing the way they organize and live their lives.  Many Hats Mommy , thank you for opening up and being real! One of the hardest things about "getting organized" is admitting that you need support. Real mom stories help us know that we can do it too!


  1. I appreciate all your HELP! :) And I like your layout, too. Are we reaching for new heights together?
    Many Hats Mommy

  2. Ooh! So glad the new layout is a winner!

    Yes, Jenny, we ARE reaching new heights!

  3. Wow, this is a great idea! I often feel the exact same way and am trying to help out with elderly parents and a son on the spectrum. This post is like a gift. Thanks to Jenny for pointing me here and thank you Shelly for sharing this!

  4. I love this post! I found it from Many Hats Mommy sharing it on her blog. I started my blog, because I have had many bad days to the point of what I call a "breakdown". We have 2 special needs boys, homeschooling and doing special diets. Last Month, I was moved to think of the "delight" in each day spurred on by Phil 4:8. I hope to encourage other special needs moms too! Thanks for all you are doing to help.

  5. @ Karen, you are most welcome. May you approach each day as a gift! Do also work full time in addition to being a special needs mom with aging parents?

  6. @Denise, thanks for following us! You are indeed a busy mom! Isn't it encouraging to help others be encouraged?!