It’s time to stop rejecting being super organised – being a Happy Mama means military-like planning. But it doesn’t have to feel restrictive, mamas.
Let’s get very very clear here, mamas:
we can talk mindfulness, meditation, and mindset till we’re blue in the face (and we will continue to do so!) but unless we’re organised and on top of things, none of these things get a look in.
Being organised as a mama is a must. We’re talking survival here. If we don’t get on top of things, not only will our little parts of the world fall apart, but our adrenal glands will overload, our health will suffer, and our ability to handle the slightest meltdown will disappear.
I don’t do well when my world is in chaos. Some women can cruise through piles of washing on the floor and a schedule of appointments that’s only ever clear in her head, but not this mama. And, I think the majority of us are the same.
It took me a long time to understand that being organised is not a masculine task, either.
There’s a common misconception about switching off our over-achieving masculine energy that a lot of us are unaware of – and that is that being more divinely feminine means just ‘going with the flow’. It means we just go with what feels good, and reject all forms of action. Just not true, mamas. Being organised is one of the most divine feminine qualities – it’s what we do best. When we’re in the flow, we’re on top of it. We have that dinner planned, that playdate booked, that yoga class scheduled. We wake up with a sense of purpose and clarity (both feminine qualities too) and we know what needs to be done.
It’s time to stop rejecting the planners, the lists and the schedule because it feels too rigid. An organised mama, with a simple and clear plan of her priorities, is a mama who can handle whatever her three year old throws at her.
So we’re getting practical.
Years ago, I shared a little photo on Facebook of my collection of post-it notes bulging out of my diary. I had actually felt quite proud of how organised I was – at least I’d actually written down all the random thoughts that had been flying through my brain! But those post-its were seen by someone who knew much more than me about being organised – and in that moment, my world changed.
Kelly Pietrangeli is a guru of organisation (and yes, I can call her a guru). As the force behind ‘Project Me for Busy Mothers‘, she’s studied, worked with and researched most of the world’s best organisational experts, tried it out on her own family and the hundreds of mamas she has supported, and found a way for us to bring gratitude, clarity and simplicity into our lives. She also reached out to me, and helped me find a better way through the chaos of my life – that didn’t involve post-it notes.
As she says:
“The key to finding a happy balance is recognising when you’re out of balance and taking action to put things right.
No matter how busy life gets, carving out small chunks of planning and solution time is the best investment you can possibly make in your own personal happiness.”
Here are a collection of some of her best tips on managing your time and your overwhelm (and mamas, this article is FULL of links to Kelly’s amazing worksheets and tips, so make sure you click through and download as many as you can):
“What usually kicks off a feeling of overwhelm for me is extra stuff overlaid on an already jam packed schedule.
Certain times of the year – packing for a family trip, organising Christmas, family birthdays – are sure to tip me over the edge.
That slow rising sensation of overwhelm sucks and I’m learning to recognise the early warning signs, taking action before I flip my lid. After all, a brain too full of emotion can’t think rationally.
So if you’re feeling like you’re about to slip into full blown panic, here’s what to do:
- Catch yourself early. As soon as you feel yourself winding up, summon all your reserves and press the pause button. Take a deep breath.
- Get a pen and paper and write down everything that’s in your head. This alone will help ease the tension. Often what’s in your head is bigger and more time consuming than the reality.
- Print out a Magic Matrix Action Sheet. This will quickly help you identify what’s really important from what just feels important right now.
- What can you delegate? Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
At the risk of sounding a bit hippy, I highly recommend the Bach Flower Remedy ELM for feeling overwhelmed. A few drops on the tongue of this totally natural potion and your head clears! I have a bottle on my desk at all times.
And when things calm down, and you get to catch your breath, it may be time to get really clear on your priorities, and how to ensure these moments of total overwhelm don’t creep up again.
Start by writing down how you want to feel in your life.
I want to feel organised, focused, productive.
I want to feel like a good (enough) mother, wife, friend, daughter.
I want to feel connected to who I’m with.
I want to feel healthy, fit, energetic.
I want to feel positive, generous, caring, calm, compassionate, creative.
I want to feel happy!
Once you’re clear on how you want to feel, we move on to step two, which is to cut out the crap and find focus. You can try using this Life Wheel Tool to get a bird’s eye view of your eight life areas. Look at each area, see which ones are getting all your attention, and which ones need your focus right now.
Want to feel organised and top of your meal planning, shopping and cooking?
Finally get fit?
Become more patient and calm?
Get more cooperation from your kids?
Master your spending?
Inject more fun into your life?
Feel connected to your man?
Dream of setting up your own business, but don’t know where to start?
Which of these do you want to create more time for? Choose up to three life areas that are calling you (or screaming at you!) Less is more if you want results. One step at a time.
Ask yourself what you want and why you want it? Until you know why you want something, you won’t know how to go about it. It’s the why that drives you to take action. It’s what motivates and gets you excited. And when obstacles get in your way the why is the fuel to push you through.
And then, start each day fresh with a clear intention.
Use a Design My Day action sheet before you dive into your day. Take a few quick minutes to organise your biggest priorities and plan how to prepare for a successful day ahead. When you turn this into a consistent habit, you’ll be amazed at how much easier life flows. I’ve included two boxes for you to write what you’re feeling grateful for and how you want to feel. After all, all of the best parenting classes in the world are not going to help if you – the mother – are feeling stressed out, unsupported, overwhelmed or aren’t taking care of yourself properly.
Kelly Pietrangeli is the creator of Project Me for Busy Mothers, a resource full of actionable and practical ways mamas can stop the overwhelm, feel more organised, and enjoy this time in their life more. She also runs online workshops and courses to help you move through your to-do list and prioritise what’s important.