December 20, 2009

Cut the Chaos: Handy Mantras for Busy Moms

Parenting contributor Lian Dolan with five all–purpose phrases that will help you keep your time commitments in check.

by Lian Dolan

Yes, we know that you are a caring, generous person who would do anything for your friends, family, school, work and community. But we all get burned out in the giving–of–ourselves department. So why do we say “Yes!” when we’re put on the spot? Here are some ready–made responses for busy moms who want to Cut the Chaos, and the guilt!

Asked to be a room parent or team mom? Invited to an expensive social event that you really can’t afford? Try...

“It’s just not possible for me at this time.”

This is a fantastic catchall phrase for almost any situation. The key to making this work is not to elaborate on details. You don’t have to fill in any information about why it’s not possible. Be vague but firm. If you get follow–up questions, repeat the phrase with a slightly different intonation.

Feel like other parents are taking advantage of your willingness to drive in the car pool or host playdates? Try…

“With my (fill in the blank), I’m trying to keep my schedule open and flexible.”

Use whatever works for you: my elderly mother, my work, my new puppy. This is a gentle way of saying, “Right now, my family is my top priority.” You can use this phrase preemptively to send a message that you are not available for last–minute after–school bailouts or overnights.

Want to be involved but not in charge? Try…

“I’d love to be a worker bee this time around.”

There is a huge difference between running the school fair and working just a few shifts at the dunk tank. This phrase implies that you can still volunteer time, just not most of your life for the next six months.

Feeling pressure to join an organization or club? Maybe you’re already involved and looking for a way out? Try…

“I’m scaling back my commitments over the next year.”

This phrase is generic enough that no organization can take it personally. And it gives a time frame that lets others know you’ll be available at some point, but not right now.

Finally, for most other situations, try…

“I’m just not a good baker.”

Have you ever taken stock of how many cookies, pies, and coffee cakes are required for every school or church event? I wish I could create the perfect chocolate–chip cookie, but I can’t. So this phrase works for me every time!

Get your family organized and on the same page with Cozi, the free online family organizer.

About the author: Lian Dolan is a writer, mother, Satellite Sister and creator of The Chaos Chronicles, a podcast, blog and Website about modern motherhood.

MakeLifeBetter MakingLifeBetter provides tips and smart strategies to help you feel good, look good, and get more out of life.


April Isham-Estelle

I love these comments they are thoughtful, but direct. I will use them often.

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