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 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 more and healthier, 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 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, 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 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, 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 and 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 glide 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 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

Do you want your life to be even better? Study Success

Life is pretty good, right?

You’ve got a lovely family, meaningful work, but you’d like to turn the volume up on your life. One way to improve your life is to study successful people. Find someone you admire and pay close attention to WHY you like them so much. I recently attended a memorial service for an AMAZING women. 

Katie was one of those people you just feel privileged to know. While her death was a tremendous loss, her life was a HUGE inspiration.She had a way of giving her full attention to you, making you feel listened to, cared about and important, while also raising the bar and encouraging you to be even better. She prioritized her female friendships, always making time for parties, gatherings and social connections of any kind. She was full of vibrancy and joy and I’ve assigned her a permanent place on my committee of spirit guides. 

You can draw inspiration from others or your own past successes. Do you remember the feeling of falling in love? Amazing feeling. If you miss feeling that much excitement, exuberance and joy, study it, and see how you can bring that feeling back into your life today. When we’re falling in love, we obsess. We are “blinded” by love so we only notice the good stuff. We look over the rude comment he makes to the waiter, we don’t even notice the stinky socks on the floor. Our thoughts are all positive, all the time. We’ve told our brains where to look, so that’s what we focus on and it feels amazing. Love isn’t something that happens to us, it’s a state we create by focusing our minds in one, very positive direction.

Want to feel more loving? Notice the love that surrounds you every day. Obsess about it. Watch movies about it. Read romance novels. Watch people reunite with loved ones at the airport. Share your love with strangers and family members alike. Watch how it grows and expands.

Want more beauty in your life?  Pay attention to it. Take pictures of that flower growing through the crack in the sidewalk. Look into the mirror and appreciate something about your physical body. Go to a botanical garden, a museum or a beautifully designed building. Bring something of beauty into a corner of your home.

Get the picture? In what area of your life would you like to “turn up the volume”? More abundance is available to you any time just by looking around at the abundance of cars, people, clothing. You just need to decide what you want, then study success in your own life and in others.

Sometimes parenting is so overwhelming, it’s hard to KNOW what we want, because our families wants scream so loudly in our ear. If you struggle with this, sign up for the 14-day Supermom Challenge, and learn how to listen to YOU again.

New Year, New You

Let’s make 2018 your best year yet!

You’ve been pretty growth oriented up until now. All through childhood and your twenties, you learned A LOT, you grew mentally, emotionally and physically. You took risks, tried new things, created, accomplished and focused on creating an exciting future. 

Now your life is very full. Raising kids is exciting, stimulating and constantly changing. 

It’s common for overwhelmed parents to slow down their own growth and enjoy living through their kids. As kids grow into teens, and then out of the house, many parents can find themselves with low-grade dissatisfaction. 

Some Moms and Dads feel guilty because they have the life they wanted, but still feel like something is missing. They didn’t realize that their brain is wired to seek comfort and familiarity, and this habit is an obstacle to creating an exciting and inspiring life.

Life coaching, self reflection, planning and deliberate actions will release the guilt, override the brain’s natural habit, and create the life you are meant to have. 

Doing a year-in-review can help you reflect on what’s working, what isn’t, and what actions steps to take towards building a new comfort zone that serves your goals.

Let’s take a look back to see what 2017 has to teach you.

Grab a journal and write down your answers to the following questions:

 1. What did you create in 2017?  Either by default or on purpose, what were the results of your actions or non-actions when in comes to your health, career, family, community, spiritual life, home, financial, etc. 

2. What accomplishments are you most proud of?   

3. What thoughts did you think in order to make these successes possible?         

4. What areas of your life are running smoothly and easily?   

5. What hard times did you have to go through in order to enjoy these areas of your life?  

6.  What areas of your life aren’t working for you and need to change?

7. Have you tried to accomplish this goal in the past but didn’t get the result you wanted?

 

8. What is different this year, that you are ready to commit to? 

9. How have you grown or evolved as a person in the last year? 

10. Who has helped you and supported you the most in this last year?

11. Which relationships would you like to strengthen and build this year? 

12. What is the biggest, most amazing dream you can imagine for yourself in 2018?  When you think about this dream, what emotions can you feel? What is one small baby step you can take towards that goal and feeling those positive emotions. 

You don’t have to have an exhilarating, exciting life. Nor do you need to have a perfectly balanced and beautiful life. You just need to have a life that is 100% authentically YOU. 

In order to squeeze ourselves into a life that isn’t quite right for us, we do things like over-eat, over-drink, over-work, over-exercise, binge watch netflix, worry, complain, ruminate, etc.  We have to come up with elaborate ways to avoid ourselves. 

If you want to change a habit, get to the root cause, and build positive momentum towards being more authentically, joyfully yourself, schedule a free life coaching session today.

Schedule your free coaching call

 

 

Don’t forget to give back, TO YOURSELF, this holiday season

You’ve heard the saying “It is in giving, that we receive” and I know you get this.

You live it every day. You work hard so your kids are fed, clothed, clean, kind, warm, educated and happy. At the end of the day, you get to feel satisfied in a job well done and valued by your family. You love buying the perfect gift to see your kids faces light up. Doing for others, gives you joy. Up until a point.

If ALL you do is give, and you don’t do enough receiving in return, you fall out of balance. Falling out of balance shows up differently for different people: resentment, jealousy, overeating, overdrinking, for me, it’s recurring illness and chronic pain.

If you’re waiting for your family, co-workers or mother-in-law, to appreciate all you do for them, you are going to be waiting for an awfully long time.

Instead, follow these holiday hacks to start giving back to yourself this holiday season. They will help you feel appreciated and balanced after a season full of giving.

  1. My favorite Christmas tradition is checking into a hotel room BY MYSELF for two nights after Christmas. There is nothing quite as wonderful as a day where 100% of the decisions are based on what YOU want to do. Where shall you go? What do you feel like eating? What are you in the mood for? How long do you want to stay? LUXURY and a great way to make sure you still remember what your own inner voice sounds like.
  2. If you can’t take an overnight, take a day. Sun up to sundown. Get a good book, explore a new area, check into a day spa. The key is to not DO anything, just to BE, and enjoy being yourself in this beautiful world we live in.
  3. Buy yourself a present. If you are out shopping for others and you find something you really love, BUY IT and wrap it up!  Who says gifts have to come from others? You were very good this year and you deserve something beautiful. Put it under the tree and get creative with the tag. Sign it “Your #1 fan” “Your favorite admirer” write a nice note that says “for all you do”.
  4. Say thank you. If you work and work but never hear ‘thank you’, it’s easy to slip into resentment. Learning to thank yourself for what you do is an incredible life skill. “I thank myself for putting wrapped gifts under the tree for my children .” “I thank myself for upholding our family and religious traditions.” “I thank myself for donating toys and food.” “I thank myself for cleaning my house and cooking a great dinner.”
  5. Make a brag board. Write down all the things you did that you are proud of and post it on the refrigerator for your family to see. “Bought red shirt for the school assembly.”, “contributed to teacher gifts”, “drove on field trip”, “swept the kitchen floor”, “made chili for dinner”, “hung lights”, “folded laundry”. Doesn’t matter how mundane, it just feels good to write down all you’ve done and post it like a trophy on a shelf. Revel in your accomplishments and appreciate yourself.
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments! You made through the crazy holidays! You only lost one present, you didn’t burn the turkey, you remembered to water the tree, so many victories! Get together with your girlfriends and raise a glass to yourselves.

So if you are likely to overdue the giving and doing this time of year, create balance by giving yourself the appreciation, solitude and recuperation time you need.

“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.” 
― Parker J. PalmerLet Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

 

Have you fallen into the responsible mom trap?

Stay home moms are especially vulnerable of falling into these two traps but working moms can certainly find themselves stuck here too.

I asked a client the other day, “What percentage of your daily tasks are done out of obligation?” She figured about 90%. 90%!!! This is self imposed slavery!

Feeling like you HAVE TO do something traps the spirit and makes you feel powerless. “Shoulding” your way through life will wreck havoc on your energy and rob you of your own power and sense of authority over your life. It’s a mental prison and it takes it’s toll.

The most common reason why you hear moms say obligatory things like “I have to pick up your brother” “I need to start working out” or “I really should get a head start on my Christmas shopping” is because we want to feel important.

Many of us quit our jobs to stay home and raise kids and we need to prove that we are needed, valuable, and that our lives have purpose. The last thing we want is for someone to think we are sitting on the couch, watching reality TV and eating bon-bons. We take our mothering job seriously by filling our lives with obligations. 

If this sounds like you, the question to ask yourself is, “Have I accomplished my goal of feeling needed?

Can I check the box that says “I’m a responsible mom”?

If so, let’s check it and MOVE ON to something more freeing and empowering for the human psyche.

The second trap we can fall into, trying to prove we are hardworking responsible moms, is commiserating with other hardworking, stressed out people.
It took me FOREVER to believe my husband when he told me that he wants to hear how easy and joyful my day was! He would come home from work and talk about how stressed and overwhelmed he was, so I would pick the most stressful part of my day and share back. Solidarity, it’s how women support each other. You tell me what’s bugging you, I tell you what’s bugging me, we vent, we laugh, we feel better.

What he was asking me to do instead felt so rude!
Girlfriend: “My kids are such slobs. They leave their stuff everywhere, complain about having no food to eat yet still manage to make a mess in the kitchen.”
Me: “My kids are delightful in every way. They never make a mess and if they do, they clean it up.”
WHAT!? That is NOT how we support people we care about! But husbands are different than girlfriends.

When we complain to our husbands, he sees our problems as something he needs to fix.  When we share our crises, mishaps and exhaustion of the day, even with good intentions, it makes him feel more depleted and wondering why he’s working so hard in the first place.

Focusing on the negative put us into our own mental prison instead of giving ourselves permission to fully enjoy those moments when everything is going smoothly and easily.

Can you check the box that says, “I’m a hard-working Mom”? If yes, let’s check it and MOVE ON to focusing on those moments in the day when you felt deeply relaxed, present in the moment, and truly grateful. Share THOSE moments with your husband. Then he feels like his hard work is worthwhile because his kids get to be with a happy, balanced mommy all day.

Are you ready to MOVE ON from hardworking, needed and responsible? Start by replacing “I have to” “I need to” and “I should” from your vocabulary and replace it with “I choose to”, “I intend to” and “I will”. You’ve earned your Supermom patch, it’s ok to kick your feet up, relax and do some fun things just for you.