*This is a tale of how I went from a busy working gal to a mom, followed by how I keep myself organized on a daily basis.
When I was a college student, I worked and played hard. I had a job at a post office. I danced on the folk dance team. I studied in Paris. I lived in the foreign language housing. I earned good grades. I was a TA. I spent hours in the sewing lab. I served on church committees. I loved every single minute. I thrived on being busy, having assignments, and constantly learning.
After college, I landed a competitive job as a middle school sewing teacher. I felt important. I was making a difference in young people’s lives. I thrived on having a real life job, a schedule, a boss, people to answer to, a laid out set of responsibilities. I knew what I needed to get done, and when to do it. My life was very organized. I felt so grown up.
It all changed when I had my first child half way into the school year. After maternity leave I returned to my job to finish out the school year. Then our little family made a big move to a small town in South Dakota where my husband was starting medical school. We made the decision for me to become a stay at home mom to our 3 month old daughter. It was a wonderul, exciting decision, but at first, it was a very scary and lonely change for me. All of a sudden, my days were not filled with serving and helping other people, or even talking to them. I didn’t have anyone to answer to. No one really cared where I was or what I did. It really didn’t matter when I woke up, or how much I got done in a day.
Don’t get me wrong– I loved my new life, and knew that my responsibilities were the most important things I’d ever do– like raising a family and supporting my husband. I felt so grateful to be able to stay home and take care of it. I just didn’t know how to do it, or where to begin!!!
I spent the first few weeks in our new apartment feeling rather unimportant. I didn’t have a lot of other friends yet. I was happy, but I felt overwhelmed. I was severely lacking direction and motivation. Naptime for my daughter was THE WORST. She was the reason I was at home all day, but when she slept for half the day, it was very unfulfilling. It’s not that I didn’t have hobbies, and important things that had to be done… I just really struggled with the when/where/how of it all.
We had cable, and I watched TV. It kept me company it a quiet house. At one point, the Rachael Ray show was my favorite. I sent in a request to have them do a segment on how other stay at home moms spent their time. I was so curious, and badly wanted to get answers on how to be a mom the right way. (As far as I know, they never picked up my idea, LOL).
Hahaha, 5 years later, I look back a realize there is no right way. BUT there are things that can help.
My answers to fulfillment in being a stay at home mom did not come overnight. Slowly, I started to understand and work harder. My husband encouraged me to become my own boss. To “create” work for myself. He read me inspirational quotes, and tried to come up with small things that could help me out. When I called my mom, she related to me, and gave me great advice. All of a sudden, I understood her life from a new point of view. I started to look to other moms. I asked the people I looked up to a lot of questions. I literally “interviewed” the people I knew I wanted to be like. I wrote lots of emails and took a lot of notes. I read the FlyLady and similar books. I studied my scriptures from a new perspective, searching specifically for answers about parenting and organizing myself.
Basically after that, I took my thoughts and feelings to the Lord. It may sound ridiculous, but I literally prayed for help in learning how to motivate myself and get organized.
Life has changed, and will continue to do so. I am much busier now, so being organized is a necessity. I’m grateful for the skills I so desparately needed to learn a few years ago. I am far from being as organized as I would like. In fact, that is one of my New Year’s Resolutions! But I continue to work at it.
I thought I’d share my list. It is my motto, my journal, my life line. Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been an entire week where everything was crossed off the list, but that’s not the point. The point is that it gives me direction. A list like this keeps me going. I know what to do next. I waste less time. I try to get the most important things done first.
My mom has a similar type of list. I remember once when I was a teenager, I challenged her to throw it out the window for a week, and just do whatever the heck she wanted. She laughed! Now I can see why! Moms have a really important job. I take my job very seriously- I want to do the best I possibly can, for I believe it’s the most important job I will ever have.
If anyone would like me to send you a link to my to-do list, I would be more than happy. You could modify it to suit your needs. Just leave a comment with your email.
Or you can laugh at me and call me crazy 🙂
ps- The way I do my list is every season, I type the changes to our schedule and save it. I print off a new list every week. On the back there is space for random notes. I jot down the cute things my kids do or say, to later be recorded in the blog journal I keep for each of them. I also use the back for writing my thoughts and feelings, making more lists, planning parties or projects, etc. At the top of each day there is space for me to record the weather and special events, and where it says “T” I keep track of my husband Troy’s work schedule since it is always changing. At the bottom of each day, where it says Other, I write special things that need to be done that day. The places we have to GO are always in bold.