How do I get my family to pitch in and help me?

How do I get my family to pitch in and help me?

Today’s question comes from Elizabeth –

I’m tired of doing all the work! I have 3 school aged kids, a capable husband, a house, 2 dogs and 2 pet rats. When I signed up to be a stay-at-home mom, I did not realize the ridiculous amount of driving, cooking, cleaning, responsibility and work involved with this job! I wanted to be involved with my kids lives, but lately it feels more like slave labor! How do I get my family to pitch in and help me so I can get a frickin’ break?”

I think every mom can relate to this. I remember sitting around with a group of moms talking about where we feel “not good enough”. Some moms felt they should cook healthier and more often, some felt they should clean more, volunteer more, earn more, entertain more, you name it, someone felt bad about it. What we realized is that most of our ideas directly correlated to our own mothers. I grew up in a chronically clean house, so I think mine should be clean, but we didn’t have people over much so I feel super accomplished in the entertaining department. Think what a gift we give our daughters if we drop the ball in more than one area! Score a point for imperfect parenting, your daughters will thank you some day!

I know it SEEMS like your overwhelming responsibilities are the problem. That if your family just stepped up then you could feel better, but that is not the core issue. I’m going to guess that if you had housecleaners come, or your family offered to take over the cooking, or you had a night out, you might feel better for a little bit, but the next day your thoughts would wander right back to “Why do I have to do all the work?”

 

Parent Education Answer –  To get your family to pitch in, you ask, assign, and expect. Ask your oldest to walk the dogs, ask your middle to take over folding laundry, ask your youngest to empty the dishwasher. Ask them for help often, assign them a designated chore, and show them how you want it done. Let them see you happy and enjoying your chores. Create a chore chart and keep it up. Just like you taught them to put seat belts on in the car. Consistently, calmly, with the same boring expectation every day.

My hunch is you’ve tried this already so you know it won’t last because your energy isn’t aligned yet. I know it seems like them helping out more is the answer, but if they stepped up, you would think things like: “It’s more work to teach you how, it’s easier to just do it myself.” “That’s ok, I’ll do it.” “He won’t do it right.” “She’s exhausted after school and sports.” “I like doing it my way. ” “I’d rather he do his homework.”

 

The Life Coaching Answer – We need to clean up the mind clutter to get to the core problem. Let me ask you, “How do imagine you would FEEL if your family suddenly swooped in and took over your responsibilities, doing everything beautifully and happily?”  Clients usually would give me one of two answers. Either: appreciated! grateful! ….Or…. lost and aimless.

If you imagine you would finally feel appreciated, this tells me that you are not saying nice encouraging things inside your head. Your thoughts may be filled with “Have to’s” and “shoulds” causing you to feel more like a slave: powerless and imprisoned to your to-do list. Feeling appreciated is OUR responsibility. We need to make sure we are expressing gratitude and appreciation for the work we do.

If you say “lost and aimless”, this tells me that you’ve stopped growing; a very common thing for busy stay home moms. If your calling in life was solely to be a stay home mom, you would feel fulfilled by this job. You might get tired, but take a night off and you’d feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  If you have a calling beyond this role, you’ll start to feel frustrated, irritable, and look for reasons to explain your negative emotion. Frustration and discomfort are what move us to take action. If you want to live a bigger life and make a change but you aren’t, then the endless to-do list is a convenient excuse and distraction.

This used to happen to me, before I started my business. I would hyper-focus on the dishes, how much I hated doing dishes and how unfair it was that my husband did NOTHING while I did EVERYTHING. I agonized over doing the dishes because I was afraid a perfectly clean house would make me feel aimless and purposeless. Now I either do the dishes, or I don’t, but I don’t THINK about the dishes because my brain is full of creative ideas and projects and the rest of my life is fulfilling.

As you eliminate the “have to’s”, “need to’s”, and “should’s” from your vocabulary, you’ll recognize that you are free to make a change. This can be scary for a lot of people so having a life coach during this stage is super helpful. Start noticing what lights you up and where you feel excited or jealous of others. Make a list of 20 things that seem fun to do, learn, or try. Make sure you don’t imprison yourself with rules or expectations, keep it light and playful. If you figure out what your soul is calling for next, write 10 ways to make it happen.

You will be amazed at how much easier responsibilities become when you’ve got something exciting to think about and you aren’t trying to hide from yourself. This is also the perfect time to engage the cooperation of your family in the household chores. Once you know where you want to spend your free time, it’s easier to delegate and engage the cooperation of your family.

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Denying or ignoring your calling. We think our calling is going to be this lovely little whisper through the clouds or that it’s going to glide in on a rainbow, but often, it’s the source of your greatest suffering. I can’t tell you how many clients say, “I have no idea what I want to do with my life.” and I reply with “Well, if you DID know, what do you think it would be? Immediately they know the answer, “I’ve always thought about being a writer, architect, park ranger, nurse.” They are just scared of judgement, taking action, you name it. We fear self identity and that’s ok. Just ACKNOWLEDGING what you want is HUGE. Tell the mirror, tell your journal, take the time to acknowledge what you want and it will boost your energy.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Eliminate “I have to”, “I need to”, or “I should” from your vocabulary, and replace them with “I choose to” “I intend to” or “I will”. I will unload the dishwasher. I choose to make dinner for my family. Remember that you get to do whatever you want! You don’t have to pick your kids up at school. There are consequences to pay, but you are choosing the action because you prefer it to the consequences.

If you’ve got something bubbling up for you that might be a little scary, or you feel like your brain is stuck and won’t let you be playful or dream, schedule a free life coaching call with me at: www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me

 

Quote of the Day – ”Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

Feeling pressured? 5 ways to cut yourself some slack

As Moms we ask a lot of ourselves.

We want to be great at mothering, cooking, friendships, work, home maintenance, health, family dinners, you name it….we want to be good at it. If our Mom always kept a clean house, we think we should too. If our neighbor is always heading out for a jog looking fit, we think we should too. If our husbands always say yes to playing with the kids, who am I kidding, we take that opportunity and run…but inside we kinda wish we were more playful and energetic, too.

The reality of chasing this unattainable perfectionism is WE GET FRICKIN’ TIRED!  And we don’t know how to stop because this pressure is internal, invisible and self-inflicted so it’s really hard to notice. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of but if you are feeling pressured or exhausted, chances are you are being too hard on yourself.

The biggest change you can make today to feel more energized and alive is to CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.

Moms make their lives much harder when they beat up on themselves for making mistakes. If you yearn to feel more relaxed and focused with calm energy, follow these steps today.

Five ways to cut yourself some slack and take the pressure off.

  1. Give yourself permission to drop the ball, in more than one area.
  2. Forgive yourself when you forget things or make mistakes.
  3. Say No to things that demand your time or mental energy. (Be part of the other percentage!)
  4. Recognize the voice of your mean inner critic and commit to listening to your inner cheerleader instead.
  5. Model imperfection and self forgiveness for your children.

Do you know the 80/20 rule? It applies to many things: 20% of your clothes you wear 80% of the time, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. But let’s apply it to motherhood:

80% of Moms are NOT volunteering at school.

20% of Moms never send in money for the field trip.

80% of Moms have not registered their kid for any summer camps.

20% of Moms clean 80% of the time, and 80% of the Moms clean 20% of the time!

Try being a part of the other percentage! Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Your energy goes where your ATTENTION goes so when you have to remember lots of different things, your energy leaves you and goes to all of those tasks.

We like to blame others “People will be mad at me” or “I can’t be one of THOSE moms!” but I guarantee, the thing you are scared of the most, is the mean things you will say to yourself, about yourself if you make a mistake. “I’m so stupid, why didn’t I remember, I never should have ____, when am I going to get my act together, why am I such a loser, how come I never do anything right, everyone else has their shit together but me”……and on….and on. If any of this sounds familiar, YOU are enemy #1 and this is excellent news because YOU get to choose what you say to yourself.

I dropped the ball last week. I normally send my blogs out every Wednesday but last week was so hectic that I just blew it off. Did you notice? Probably not. Did you curse me? “That horribly unreliable Torie! I was sitting by my inbox all day waiting and her email never even came!” I doubt it. I didn’t curse myself either. I gave myself permission to NOT CARE. I also avoided a few “Signup Genius” emails until they were all filled up, where normally I’m part of that initial 20%.

I made a mistake. I was supposed to submit a copy of a scholarship my son was awarded so it could be published in the graduation pamphlet. I tried, but by the time I realized a technology error, I had missed the deadline. I felt bad that my son wouldn’t have his award mentioned like everyone else so I told him what happened and apologized for not getting in on time. Do you know what he said? “That’s ok, Mom. No big deal”. He sounded just like my inner cheerleader! When our kids hear us practicing self-forgiveness and imperfection, they learn how to grant us the same kindness.

It’s May Madness. Crunch time for Moms with school aged kids.  Now is the perfect time to practice dropping the ball, making mistakes, forgiving yourself, saying no and not caring so much about doing everything right. If you’d like help with this, or just an outsiders perspective, schedule a free coaching call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

 

 

 

 

Help! My high schooler has D’s!

…and I’m freaking out….is usually the sentence that follows when Moms come to me with this situation.

In order to help your teenager in this situation, you’ve got to coach yourself first and step out of FUTURIZING & CATASTROPHIZING.

It is very common for parents to imagine the worst case scenario: “He’s going to be a bum on my couch playing video games! No college is going to want her! She’s failing and I need to do something about it!” Many of us like to throw ourselves into the mix and say “If she’s failing, then I’m failing as her parent!”  This panicky energy will make kids resist and rebel, pushing against us and not allowing us to help them.

Watch this video to learn how to help your high schooler who is getting D’s in school. 

Need help learning how to stop futurizing & catastrophizing?  Schedule a free life coaching session at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

Moms: It’s time to do LESS

Imagine your middle schooler had a tough day at school: His friends ditched him at lunch, your daughter got a bad grade on her report, a seagull pooped on his jacket, etc. After school, your child walks home with a friend, shooting the breeze, talking about nothing. By the time she gets home, she FEELS BETTER! Something about the slow pace, the exercise, the peer support, the nature time, the independence, makes those problems fade away. Now, at home, she feels relaxed.

It’s more normal in today’s overprotective and over-scheduled culture for kids to get picked up in cars, rushed to activities, asked about school/grades/friendships, etc. Moms are looking for problems to solve, wondering whether to intervene, wanting kids to be happy.

When today’s kids do walk home, they pop their earbuds in, stare at their screens, and disconnect from people around them. Rather than using this valuable time to process emotions and connect in compassionate ways, they avoid and suppress emotions, making them feel even worse.

When trying to understand why rates of anxiety & depression are skyrocketing in today’s teens, it comes down to many small things, having a great big impact.

As parents, we want to smooth the way for them, make it easier, protect them from negative emotions and experiences. But our attempts to make life easier for them, may be costing them their mental well being.

Kids need to feel they can handle life’s mishaps on their own. Having time, moving in nature with friends, to process these emotions is natural. Sheltering kids, for fear they will experience a negative emotion, can delay their growth. Don’t buy into the popular culture that says “A good Mom would do everything for and with her children.” Kids need uncomfortable experiences in order to build internal strength and resilience.

As you are making plans for this summer, try encouraging experiences that push your kids outside their comfort zone.

  1. Send them to summer camp (without YOU!)
  2. Make them earn money: get a job, start a business, organize a garage sale or lemonade stand.
  3. Have them walk or ride their bike, instead of being driven, to summer classes, camps, parks, pools, etc.
  4. Plan an “old fashioned” play date. Invite your friends over with their kids (different ages/genders preferred) and send them out into the street while you and the other Moms play cards and sip cocktails. (and invite me to this one!)
  5. Send them to the grocery store to buy groceries and make dinner for the family.
  6. Let them sleep in a tent in the backyard.
  7. Buy a season pass to an amusement park and drop them off.

This fear based parenting culture needs to stop. Our kids are physically safer than anytime in history but the mental/emotional stress of modern living is taking a toll. Do you have any other ideas?  I’d love to hear them.

The love we have for our kids created this overprotective, fear based culture. We can use the same love for our kids to relax, do less, and show our kids the world is a safe and trusting place.

5-minute mood makeover for Moms

You’ve probably heard that practicing gratitude is a good thing to do. The problem is, when something is “good for us” and we hear we “should be grateful for what we have” we feel more obligated than elevated.

I’m not a morning person. I wake up slowly, quietly and a little grumpy. Starting my day by being grateful that I’m alive and that I have a good bed is an easy shift. If I try to be ecstatic first thing in the morning it feels fake. Thinking about my morning latte gets me out of bed but it’s not exactly the mood makeover I’m looking for.

If you really want to elevate your mood, to feel fully alive, appreciated, and full of potential, try being grateful for something you don’t yet have. Think about something you really, really, really yearn for: winning the lottery, swimming with the dolphins while sailing around the Caribbean, your personal villa on Lake Cuomo, winning a coveted award, having 20 more children, whatever your fantasy, write it down in full sensory detail. You are going to use your imagination to create a fabulous feeling.

I used to do this in high school. Instead of doing my homework on the 45 minute bus ride like the smart kids did, I fantasized about the one thing I thought would make my life better: the perfect boyfriend. What he would look like, how jealous everyone would be of me, how he treated me, I’d get off the bus like I was walking on air. (I think one of the reasons teens are struggling today is they are looking at social media to feel bad about what they have, instead of using their imaginations to create what they want….but that’s another blog post)

So let’s do it now!

Imagine you just won the lottery and the holy crap, OMG, mind blown feeling that would come over you. Notice the thoughts that run through your mind, “I never have to worry again!” “I can do anything I want” “I can relax!”.  Allow yourself to be grateful and wowed by this amazing gift! Write down everything you would do. Where would you go? What would you do there? Would I find you Zip Lining through the rain forest of Costa Rica? Skiing all day in Vail then cozying up by the fire with all your loved ones in a beautiful mountain cabin? Sipping a Mai Tai in Maui while watching the sunset on the beach? Chocolate tasting in Brugge?

Imagine the expressions on your families faces when you told them the news. Who would you give money to? What would you buy for your loved ones? Imagine their reaction when they see the gift. Who would be the most excited? Would you have a “Pretty Woman” moment on Rodeo Drive with your fashionista niece? Would I see you at a car dealership with your teenage son? Checking out boats in Hawaii with your hubby? Touring estates in Carmel with your parents and a real estate agent?

Who would you hire? A personal organizer? A really good accountant? An interior designer? The most amazing teachers for your kiddos? A life coach for your husband? 🙂

Write down everything you can think of that you would do and notice how it elevates your mood? It’s important to pick the fantasy that speaks to your deepest yearning. Then, when you are feeling amazing, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do today to make my fantasy come to life?”

Aloha & Pura Vida!