I’ve got two kid-free hours. In that time, I’m supposed to meet four work deadlines, lock down a date for the family vacay and clean out the 124 emails I’ve let back-up over the past week. Sure it’s probably not all going to happen, but my intentions are good. Instead, none of it happens. There’s that pile on my desk that beckons my attention. Sidetracked, I dig in.
You may not call yours a pile, but trust me you have one. It’s that heaping stack of bills, to-do lists and notes to yourself that you keep re-writing hoping that’ll remind you to get them done. Inevitably that stack also contains a slew of kid birthday invitations you may or may not have opened, answered, or marked in your calendar. If your pile is like mine, it’s like a chia pet minus the water. No matter what, it keeps growing.
I organize the bills, realising there’s 6 already past due because they moved to the bottom of the pile. Since I couldn’t see them, I didn’t pay them. Ugh. Late fees are a waste of money and I’d hate to have dings on my credit simply because my cable bill was at the bottom of my pile.
I take care of the bills. Now at least I’ve got a new pile, the stuff I’ve completed that’s ready to be sent. But still remaining in my heaping pile are all the kid birthday party invites I haven’t responded to. Luckily I haven’t actually missed any of the parties, but I’m embarrassed that one party is the next day and I’ve yet to respond. Then it occurs to me, there’s one party invite I remember opening but can’t remember where the invite went or if I even responded. I send the birthday party boys’ mum a polite email confessing that I can’t find the invite. And worse yet, I don’t know when the party is. Luckily, she responds immediately and confesses that I’m not the only mum who can’t find the invite. Phew. There’s safety in disorganized numbers.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve always been critical of friends and family who, “Just can’t get it together.” I’ve always been a punctual person and organisation’s always come naturally to me. When friends would show up to a birthday party on the wrong day or forget about it all together I couldn’t help but think, What’s wrong with you? Get it together. Now, I find myself saying What’s wrong with you to myself. Because I’m the one who just can’t seem to get it together.
It’s not that I’ve become unorganized, it’s that the demands on my time have become more intense. Whether a Mum works out of the home or not, her time is not her own. For me, having two kids in two different schools, a busy work schedule and activities for my kids after school has meant my days are chaotic. There isn’t a lot of room in my day for the little stuff. So the pile keeps growing.
I think about all the different ways I could get myself more organised. I consider hiring a college student to help me out a few days a week or new apps and computer programs that might help me get myself together. But truth be told, what I really need is a Mum Grace Period. Mums are always going to be late. We’re not going to respond on time. We’re going to have to cancel. And we may not return a call on time, or at all. That’s because when the kids get sick or Dad has to go out of town, Mum has to accommodate and keep the family moving and on schedule. That means she can’t always keep herself on schedule. So I’m not going to be so hard on my friends who can’t keep it together. They get a grace period from me. And hopefully, I get one too.
And in the meantime, here’s a few ways to get more organised no matter what the day brings.
1) Take Care of Bills and Invitations The Day You Receive Them.
2) Prioritize Your To-Do List. Timely Things Go To The Top.
3) Schedule A Weekly Time To Tackle Your Pile.
4) Run Your House Like A Business. You’d never let your work pile up at the office. So don’t let it pile up at home.
5) Put plans in your calendar the minute you make them. Not a day or month later.
6) Keep your phone up to date with whatever apps and software you need to stay organised.
7) Don’t put things off because you don’t want to dela with them.
8) Give yourself a grace period. Lord knows, every Mum needs it.