Are you reading this while hiding out from your kids? Perhaps you’re hunkered down in the baby’s nursery pretending to be “working” on your iPhone, rocking on into the void of social media, though your babe has long fallen off the boob and straight to sleep in your arms. Maybe you’re hiding out midday—just for a moment longer—because there is a preschooler out there fighting a nap by thoughtfully scattering every puzzle piece he owns into a mosaic on his floor. There are deadlines to meet, dinners to make, storybooks to read, and amidst the overwhelm, you snuck off and Googled “how to be an organized mom.”
While I’d love to share how to keep calm and centered throughout your week as an exhausted stay-at-home, work-from-home, frazzled-at-home mom, my week has gone to hell and I am not the authority on organization at all.
I am simply all of the above with three of my own wild things underfoot, who serves peanut butter on fancy bread and calls it a legit dinner. I am the mom who responds to her children’s five thousand requests with, “I am doing the best that I can!”
Yet I often wonder, am I really doing the best that I can?
Because telling my older boys to “Just go outside and run in a circle,” while I sneak into my pantry to eat handfuls of dried cranberries hardly seems like the best I can give. In fact, most days, I find myself constantly wondering if I am enough.
So, no, I don’t think I can give you “10 Tips to a Blissfully Organized Week, ” but maybe if I tell you everything not to do, you can figure it out and find your own path to contentment:
1. Do not wash clothes and throw them onto the couch into a giant, tangled mess.
Just kidding. You should totally do this. The part you shouldn’t do is wash everyone’s clothes but your own, because one morning you will find yourself breezy and mining through a laundry mountain for clean underwear. And there won’t be a single pair.
2. Do not raise your voice in exasperation to say things such as, ‘Is this mud or dog poop on your baby sister’s blanket?!’
Or my personal favorite, “So, did the Lego you fished out of the toilet fall in before or after you filled it with poop?” Because saying poop will only cause a cacophony of little voices chirping out poop jokes. Furthermore, no one is actually listening.
*It is most important to note that if you must say these things, make sure your windows are shut.
3. Do not try to sustain yourself on a steady diet of chips and salsa.
Throw some coconut flour and hemp hearts into the mix. And if you don’t know what these things are—or what to do with them—just throw them into the blender for the morning smoothie you make but forget to drink because someone is working through big feelings about the oatmeal being too “crumbly.”
4. Do not assume that you can get all of your work done during nap time.
Because the second you start getting confident about this, your children will sense it and conspire to cancel nap time altogether.
5. Do not assume that you can set your alarm and get all of your work done before your children wake.
Because the second you start getting confident about this plan, well, just see above.
6. Do not assume that you can stay up all hours of the night to finally meet your work deadlines.
OK, well, truthfully, this plan usually works. But it is not blissful. You will wake quite exhausted the next day, searching for underwear and exercising every ounce of patience on “decrumbling” the oatmeal, wondering if 8 a.m. is too early to begin eating your feelings.
7. Do not attempt to curl into a ball on the floor for a 90-second nap.
Ninety seconds is just long enough to fall into a comatose state. Your children will take this as an invitation to play “Let’s jump off the couch straight onto Mom!” Or they will magically locate the markers you hid and decorate the living room, despite their inability to locate anything else throughout the day. Haven’t reached this level of insanity, yet? Oh, you’ll get there.
8. Do not think that dragging all three children to the library and standing pitifully before the librarian while rambling about sleep regression will convince anyone to waive the $42 in overdue fees.
I’m not sure you were actually planning on doing this, but in the event that you were beginning to feel ballsy…
9. Do not close your eyes for a moment of energizing meditation while sitting on a public toilet.
Sure, it might seem like the perfect time the only time to seek your center, but be warned, your crafty 3-year-old might unlock the stall door and leave you exposed.
10. Most importantly, DO NOT underestimate the liberation to be found in accepting mediocrity.
Your kids only had a bath three times this week? Some study somewhere said you’re doing your part in preserving their bacterial biome. Cheerios for breakfast and Rice Krispies for dinner? Loads of calcium being absorbed in that non-GMO, organic soymilk they are slurping from the bowl. Giggling on the floor together instead of conducting Pinterest-worthy science experiments? Well, that is the good stuff of life.
What is the real secret to a calm, blissful week? As far as I can gather, it is owning your circus, loving your monkeys, and letting the rest of the crazy slide on under the rug—which desperately needs to be vacuumed, of course!