“I hated the burden of Mondays because I felt like every decision was reset. All of a sudden, no one in my family could tell the difference between top and bottom, breakfast from dinner, or what proper school clothes looked like.” (Kendra Adachi, The Lazy Genius Mom)
If you are a mom, then you can have such Mondays every day.
And at the most inopportune moment, someone will definitely catch rotavirus, quarantine in the kindergarten will be announced right on the day of an important meeting, and a flood, a fire and a call to the headmaster happen at the same time. If you are a mother, then it often seems to you that only you can tame this chaos. But it will be much more effective to entrust all the work to those who create chaos. And here are five steps from real crisis managers to managing the unmanageable.
Step #1: Gather a Family Council and Make a To-Do List Together
Of course, you already have such a list for everyone. But it is important that everyone who is affected by these matters has the right to vote. Even the smallest ones! Let each family member choose 2-3 problems and come up with what needs to be done to solve them. If you have never involved children in family planning before, you will first need to help them come up with solutions to problems. So that “I never want and will not clean up” would turn into “I need a separate corner where I can assemble a puzzle into 1000 pieces for six months and this will not bother anyone.”
“I reminded every day that you need to remove all the toys from the floor in the evening (those who stepped on Lego pieces at night will understand!). But when we instructed our son to solve this problem, it turned out that he simply does not want to put his toys in opaque boxes, where they are “sad and scared at night”. And he himself came up with what he wants a low rack with long shelves. Now on the floor we have perfect cleanliness, without reminders. (Marina, mother of three-year-old Denis)
Step #2: Delegate and Lower Expectations
Often, all homework is locked up on mom precisely because it seems that no one else can do everything perfectly. But you don’t need to be perfect, you just need things to be done on time. Therefore, discuss with each family member (and with those who come to help, like grandmothers and nannies too): what they will do without your reminders and help.
For example, only one mother manages after work to pick up her youngest child from kindergarten, and buy groceries, and make a three-course dinner. Mom is very tired, but does not ask for help, because she knows that if you distribute the same responsibilities to an older teenager, husband and grandmother, then it will take them much more time. But in the end, the result will still be achieved! And the child will be at home (albeit in someone else’s jacket), and the products will be bought, and some food will be cooked and eaten.
“You can also make it a rule to go to the store once a week, don’t try unfamiliar brands of products, when you have a busy life period – little time and a lot of stress. Choose one simple recipe and cook it until you get bored“. (Kendra Adachi, “Lazy Genius Mom”)
Mom is a living person, not a superhero, especially if someone in the family is sick and requires separate care. Therefore, let each family member have clear responsibilities and simple tasks.
Step #3: Build a support team
It is always important (and especially in these difficult times, when the work and family burden on all mothers is increasing at the speed of light) to distribute responsibilities among family members fairly and equally. Since you are now a crisis manager, no longer rush to do everything yourself, but first ask: how can my team cope with this task?
For example, if the main everyday problem is that no one but you cleans up the kitchen after dinner (because it’s long and boring to clean up after everyone alone), ask what small responsibilities everyone is ready to take on. You may have to break up a big task into pieces: someone wipes the table, someone washes the dishes, someone takes out the trash, someone puts things in their places. Just 10-15 minutes – and you have a clean kitchen, and everyone has a free evening! And the team spirit and cheerful conversations will not let anyone get bored.
Step #4: Spare Praise
This point often seems to mothers a little offensive. After all, no one really praises you for this titanic, but imperceptible daily household work. Then why should others be praised for food, homework done, laundry and bills paid? And is it necessary at all?
Need! Praise for good work should be all and always. And colleagues, and parents, and children, and themselves. It is especially useful to praise specifically, for example, “you are a great fellow for trying and doing this boring job on time, although you didn’t want to.” And remind yourself more often that in fact it was you who taught and organized everyone!
Step #5: Use Free Time to Reboot
So, you have freed yourself some time and energy. And now you can spend them on really important things! For example, for sleep or study, for a walk, creativity or meeting with friends. Choose not “do more things»but something that will help you gain strength and cope with difficult times. Being a mom is not an easy job. And in order to continue to love her, you need to be able to ask for and receive help.
“Bbe a genius at what matters to you and lazy at what doesn’t matter to you“. (Kendra Adachi, “Lazy Genius Mom”)
And in our foundation they know that mothers are also mainly involved in caring for children with severe and incurable diseases. It is on them that the main physical, therapeutic, psychological stress and all family logistics fall. The mother of a seriously ill child is always more than just a mother. She is a lawyer, and a physician, and a psychologist, and a nanny, and a teacher, and a nutritionist, and a physiotherapist, and a rehabilitation specialist, and a million other professions.
Therefore, within the framework of the project “Assistance route for families with seriously ill children»financed by a grant from the Mayor of (provided by the Public Relations Committee), the fund “AiF. Kind heart» in 2022, developed the curriculum for the School of Peer Counselors. In it, we spent the whole year teaching mothers not only to help each other with advice, share experience and solve legal and medical problems together, but also to fight the stigmatization of serious illnesses, burnout and the devaluation of their own work. And next year we plan to develop this area even more. If you or other mothers need such legal and psychological assistance and training, please contact our foundation. Let’s take good care of ourselves!