I’m the type of person who really likes to know what to expect. According to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendency Framework,I’m an Upholder, which means that I readily respond to both inner and outer expectations. But since transitioning to being a stay at home mom, I found myself trapped in a cycle of feeling guilty about all the things I needed to get done but never stumbling into the time to complete them all. I couldn’t even seem to find the time to finish the vision board I’d started putting together in early January (which still remains unfinished).
At the end of February, I enrolled in a bootcamp training program centered around helping me to be the best #girlboss I can be. (I’m always looking for ways to improve how I run youngbeautycounter.com; it’s one of my 18 things to do for 2018!) For the first time in my life, I have formal mentors that are so passionate about guiding me down the path to success. And as an Upholder, when I decided to commit to the 25-day intensive program, I knew there would be no backing myself out of it. But when the assignment was posted on Day 2, I shuddered and thought twice about skipping the prompt “just this once.”
SET YOUR GOALS AND WRITE THEM DOWN
Just reading that sentence made me sweat. I’d been avoiding holding myself accountable, and I knew it. But instead of blowing off this assignment and remaining stagnant in my quest to achieve more, I relaxed my shoulders and took a couple deep breaths. I thought about how even though the list of To-Dos never seemed to grow smaller in college, deliberately and diligently keeping a list helped see me through to graduating with a 4.0. When I reflected on that experience, I realized why I was trapped in a cycle of never getting anything done. I hadn’t been articulating my expectations. Formally or otherwise.
It turns out that I’ve been carrying around a lot of misconceptions about stay-at-home motherhood. Of late, “mothers must be able to juggle all their duties with effortless grace.” I worked outside the home for almost 4 years before having Milo, and I never once thought that the time management and prioritization skills/tools I’d implemented in the workplace would apply once I came home. I expected myself to just remember all of my motherhood duties and perform them without much intentional planning. It comes as no surprise (to anyone except myself) that I was miserably unproductive. I knew that bathrooms needed to be cleaned, dinner needed to be cooked and my business ventures needed tending to. But I let them swirl around my mind in shapeless afterthoughts hoping for the day they would settle down and manifest themselves.
So, when the bootcamp prompt on Day 2 called me to attention, I decided to treat my home/business life with as much seriousness as I would a work deadline. I resurrected one of my favorite To-Do list apps, Todoist, and for the first time in this new role as mother, I sat down and typed out all of those little tasks that had been plaguing me for months. I created a calendar for the month of March and filled in my daily and weekly goals to help me keep track of the bigger picture. And on March 1, I woke up on a mission to cross them off my To-Do list. It’s been less than a week since I vowed to plan on it in March, and I can already report that my productivity is off the charts! I’m tackling so many of the things that I just couldn’t seem to find the time for, and I’m feeling happy and fulfilled as a full-time stay at home mom who also runs her own business.
And while tackling house hold chores DOES feel great, I also began to realize just how little I prioritize both taking time for myself and to spend time with my husband. But these connections are essential to not just my wellbeing, but the wellbeing of my entire family. So, I decided to create a guide and planner to help me keep track of how I intent to nurture these connections each month. I hope it helps you as well!