Before I had kids, I usually had my act together. I didn’t understand how people could live & function when they were just flying by the seat of their pants. I liked being organized, I liked planning ahead, and I liked thinking about others.
Now, post-kids, I rarely feel like I have my act together. I hate that I have turned into the frantic mother that I used to scoff at, but that seems to just be the nature of the beast. When you are keeping two little boys happy and healthy day in and day out, anything nonessential goes out the window. There is no time to have everything together. Here are 10 examples of things I hate doing, but can’t seem to break the pattern:
1. I forget to respond to text messages.
If I do not answer a text message the instant it comes in, there is a .01 percent chance that I will answer it later. I have a bad habit of reading text messages when they come in because I hate that little red reminder bubble on my phone. Of course, this means that I never remember later that I actually got that text message. So while I do really want to answer you or keep the text conversation going, I often don’t. I would say that you could send me a reminder text, but most of my friends are moms who would never remember to do that either. We understand this about each other and all is forgiven.
2. I have to set multiple alarms for everyday tasks.
A woman without children may not understand how anyone could ever not pick up their child from school on time. However, I set alarms for myself to make sure that I know what time it is and that it is time to actually start getting the little one ready to head out the door to go get big brother. I have to set reminders for everything in my life—when to buy pumpkins for a school event, when doctor’s appointments are, when birthdays are coming up, or just to call or text someone back (see No. 1).
3. I can’t remember anything without my smartphone.
This goes along with No. 2. I think the reason for this is that I already have so much in my head that if I know something is written down elsewhere, my brain just forgets about it. I do not remember birthdays, cell phone numbers or email addresses. I don’t remember simple facts because I can just Google them. I can’t remember a five item grocery list unless I have Evernote by my side.
4. If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.
There have been many times when my husband has mentioned something to me in passing about a meeting that he has on a certain night, but if it does not end up on my calendar, it does not exist. This also means that I will be annoyed when that night rolls around, and he will not be home like I expected him to be (even though he did give me fair warning). I will not remember to show up for events of my own unless it is on my calendar—with an alert set.
5. I have to reschedule things because I accidentally overbooked.
I hate having to cancel on people, but I have had a few situations recently where I totally forgot about other things going on in our lives and overbooked. I would like to give the excuse that I did not have the first thing in my calendar, but the truth is, I had it in my calendar, but I did not look at my calendar until after saying yes to the new thing.
6. We are rarely early and often late.
I hate showing up late to things, and it really bothers me when other people are late too. Before kids I followed the principle of, “If you are on time, you are late.” However, post-kids we are lucky to get to places on time. I hate not having a 10-minute buffer. I hate showing up late for an appointment or even a get together, but when you have kids one of them always has to poop right as you’re walking out the door.
7. I am never caught up.
I keep a to-do list (because I wouldn’t remember anything without it), yet that to-do list never, ever ends. The house will never be clean, the work will never finish, and the boys always seem to need another meal. The only way that I can truly relax is when I know that there isn’t something else that I should be doing, which ultimately means that now when I relax I feel like I am procrastinating instead of relaxing.
8. I do not reach out to people whom I care about.
I used to be a lot better about checking in with my close friends and family. I would call, text and email, just to say “hello” and see how they were doing. I would remember what was going on in their lives and check in at appropriate times. Now I have to set reminders in my phone just to connect with the people whom I care about.
9. I don’t plan nice things for people anymore.
There is no time to think about the perfect gift or write a thoughtful card or plan a nice outing with someone. Very little thought goes into gifts these days because I rarely plan anything further than a few days before the event. I hate that I do this because I have always loved being thoughtful and personalizing gifts somewhat. Oh well, some day I can do it again, right?
10. I rarely even wrap presents.
To go along with the gift-giving fails, I rarely even wrap presents anymore. Consider yourself lucky if I throw the present in a gift bag, but do not expect any tissue paper on top. Family members just get their gifts in the store bag that they came in.
I’m fairly sure I’m not the only person who hates that they have turned into the disorganized mom they swore they’d never be. In fact, I could text some of my mom friends right now, but like me, there’s a small chance I’ll receive a response (see No. 1).