How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism

A book review for Reshma Saujani’s Brave Not Perfect

What have you perfected? Whether it’s cartwheels, your backhand or public speaking, there’s a good chance you put in serious time to get great. Pre-kids, decent sleep, plus will and attention, can lead to mastery. But after kids, when our rest and thoughts are constantly interrupted, new pursuits can feel impossible. We’re not alone in feeling this way. Perfectionism is a slippery, unattainable bar, we’re taught to seek. Motherhood puts more at risk and we loose that desire to stumble. Possibly even fail. We double-down on trying to get everything ‘right’ at home and work.

Reshma Saujani, Author and CEO of Girls Who Code, gave an amazing talk at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference which lead me to devour her book, Brave Not Perfect. She eloquently states the problem, “We go from trying to be perfect students and daughters, to perfect professionals, perfect girlfriends, perfect wives and perfect mommies. …Hitting all the marks we’re supposed to and Continue reading “How To Find Bravery in a Culture of Perfectionism”

Is There A Better Way to Fight the Mental Load and Get Things Done?

A Review of David Allen’s Productivity Bible, ‘Getting Things Done’

We were 40 minutes into leaving the house, still a choreography of chaos, when my son said, “Mommy, they’re too tight.” I vaguely remembered a we-need-new-boots-discussion with both kids. That was 3 weeks ago. My tired brain, trying to lighten the load, threw that thought overboard.

The mental load is my constant companion. So, tasks spill onto the floor in unfortunate ways at inopportune times. Like when trying to get two kids in 6 layers of clothes out to sled before dark. Even before the boot incident, I knew I needed a systems upgrade. My new job, holiday madness and scheduling weeks of ceiling leak repairs, pushed things to a new low. I decided to consult David Allen’s tomb, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

In Most Families Mom Carries the ‘Mental Load’

We’re stressed from the invisible-never-ending planning for our families. However, before you get too excited about this book review, let me be clear, there’s no simple Continue reading “Is There A Better Way to Fight the Mental Load and Get Things Done?”

It’s Time for Moms and Dads to Have an Open Conversation

Share housework, childcare and the mental load with your partner!

Me: Visibly surprised to see my son on screen after calling to FaceTime with my husband. “Hi honey. You’re still up? Where’s your sister?”

Son: Moves the camera over an inch. “She’s right here.” My daughter, who doesn’t look up, is eating popcorn while staring intently at her iPad.

Me: “I actually called to talk to Daddy, can you put him on please?”

Husband: “Hey…”

Me: Hi. “Sooooo…. do you know what time it is?”

Husband: “It’s late, yes, I’m sorry.”

I ended the call frustrated. When traveling for work, I still micromanage from afar. Whether it’s homework, or bedtime, the routines fall apart if I’m away. I fret and we fight. I called earlier and spoke with the kids. This call, the after-bedtime-call, was to catch up with my husband.

My seat neighbor on the train looked at me, before he said, “If it makes you feel any better, we have that exact conversation in my family.” I smiled. Yes I  Continue reading “It’s Time for Moms and Dads to Have an Open Conversation”

Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?

We Need Capacity.

Capacity in the form of emotional space and mental energy to process all of the inputs.

Almost overnight, my kids have gone from needing my help to eat, to learning how the world works. It’s a fundamental shift. It’s more than just survival now, it’s teaching them to be good people. They have so many questions, like why are people happy or sad? When to defend yourself or walk away. Why are there different rules for boys and Continue reading “Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?”

Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?

Regain Presence Despite Mental Load Overwhelm

After conducting an anonymous survey with 225 Moms, to gauge how the ‘mental load’ from carrying the always-on to-do list, affects everything from careers to health and family relationships, 79% shared they experience increased anger, worry and distraction with their kids.

“…Throughout dinner and bedtime, I feel like I’m pushing my kids off, like ‘I’ll look at your picture…after I finish unloading the dishwasher,’ or ‘As soon as I’m done making your sandwich, I’ll be right there.’  All they want is my attention but I just don’t have it to give unless I want to do two hours of chores after they go to bed, which I don’t!  I try to get it all done before they go to bed…(after) I can take a shower, then sit down and rest.”

Mom Is A Utility

We preach the value of attentiveness and focus to our children. Yet unmade beds and unread messages vie for our mindshare. Constantly. In most families, Mom-energy powers everything from hugs to planning playdates…leaving little space for the trial, error or antics of childhood.

“They view me as regularly stressed… There’s really no full down time between what I need to do and the kids’ schedules.”

“I have less patience when I’m overburdened, which leads to being short tempered…and less engaged with them. I feel like I can’t stop and play Legos® or help with a craft because I have TOO MUCH TO DO!!!” Continue reading “Can Mindfulness & Modeling With Our Kids Overcome Impatience?”

3 Step Plan to Reduce Stress, Boost Joy & Reclaim Holiday Magic

#MomsSelf-Care #StressLessForHolidays #MomsHavingFun #FamilyJoy

The appliances looked iridescent, they kind of shimmered under all the flour. It was almost beautiful.  I tried to ignore the ache in my back. Every muscle needed rest.  I had one more batch of dough in the fridge and two sheets in the oven.  The smell of butter, chocolate, pecans and pine needles permeated our home. Wonderful, holiday smells… but I wanted to cry. I estimated another hour of hard-core cookie making before I could sleep and it was nearly midnight…every container was filled with cookies & I hadn’t even stared packing the glossy red tins yet. The baby would be up (again) to nurse.  I felt stuck in my own over-do.

That was two years ago. I have a hard time saying no and disappointing myself feels even worse than disappointing others. Continue reading “3 Step Plan to Reduce Stress, Boost Joy & Reclaim Holiday Magic”

Beyond Burnout. How The Mental Load Affects Moms & What You Can Do About It!

Postcards From The Isle of Overwhelm  

98% of the Moms surveyed* feel stress from carrying the mental load, the always-on invisible to-do list, that results from overseeing ‘everything household and kids.’

When asked ‘how do you know you’ve reached a point of burnout?’ the effects are felt everywhere – from a perpetually bad mood, impatience with children and loved ones, to hives and headaches.

  • 22% can tell by their change in mood
  • 21% of Moms notice changes in behavior
  • 7% experience physical changes as a result of mental load stress
  • And half (50%) experience some combination of all three.

“I leave my phone in the fridge. I know I ate lunch- but I forgot what I ate. Wait…did I really eat lunch? I find myself more short-tempered…yelling and frustrated. I’m typically very objective and non-emotional. Essentially, I’m pulled away from the core of who I am.” Continue reading “Beyond Burnout. How The Mental Load Affects Moms & What You Can Do About It!”

How Is the Mental Load Affecting Your Life? Share Your Thoughts!

#MomsHierarchySurvey #MomsWeighIn #DealingWithStress

I looked over at the baby monitor, noticing the increased brightness from the row of blue lights. Crossing the kitchen, to listen closely, I could hear my daughter stirring ever so slightly.   The sharp ‘hiss’ of the oatmeal volcano streaming over the saucepan’s edge interrupted my thoughts….

“Sh*t!” I dashed to lower the heat on the stove while rapidly stirring the offending bubble dome back into submission. Continue reading “How Is the Mental Load Affecting Your Life? Share Your Thoughts!”

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