When I chat with non-parents and mention that I'm not the most organized in the world, I often (if not always) get surprised looks. I officially announce it to you: Becoming a mother has not turned me into a diary on 2 legs !!!
So I am not sending off these well-organized mothers. It is neither innate nor so well acquired either. I have to put in a great effort to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in a week. And when I think about it, it's not a very big surprise. As a child, and even more as a teenager, I have always been head in the air, in the moonlight. I even vividly remember having the fear of becoming an adult. All these responsibilities, the accounts payable, it seemed so serious, so boring. It didn't appeal to me at all.
Even when I became an adult, in an apartment with a friend, I was a little at odds with myself. I was a university student, I also had a job, I paid what I had to pay (most of the time), but while denying, in my head, that I was an adult. Over time, I had to learn to cook myself, to do the housework and the groceries, to pay my bills on time. But sincerely, I was lucky that I had parents and a boyfriend present.
A few years later, here I am the mother of a 6-year-old pinotte and an 8-year-old casserole dish. To better manage the mental load, which my spouse carries with me, we have found a few tips: he takes care of picking up the children from the school daycare, makes dinner, takes care of the dishes and tidy the table. For my part, I make the children's lunches, I take them to the bus stop in the morning and I take care of the washing. We do the grocery shopping alternately and the list is done in pairs. It must be said that I have a boyfriend who is aware of what must be done in a house to take good care of children. He is as involved as I am in their life. Although this should be the norm, I know that in practice, many families do not experience this reality in the same way. So, hurray for my boyfriend !!!
Recently, we have added a family planner as a tool in our routines. It allows us to put everything in one place: doctor and dentist appointments, school trips, friends' parties, garbage and compost days, etc. This visual support allows us to be more up to date. As it is magnetic, it is placed on the fridge door, right in the middle of the kitchen. Since we frequently open a fridge door in a day (and yes), it's easy to take a little 2 seconds to take a look, just to see what's coming.
Another thing that helps us is the participation of children. With us, the children choose their clothes in the evening for the next day. In the morning, they take 4 snacks for the day to bring to school, from a pre-established range. In addition, when they return from school, they are responsible for unpacking their lunch box. This precious collaboration increases the feeling of accomplishment and develops their autonomy while allowing us to breathe a little.
Our next family challenge will be to set a menu for the week and do the grocery shopping accordingly. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but it's not always easy to change our habits.
I want to stress that we have made the conscious choice to live as slowly as possible, despite the sometimes stressful routines and our busy lives. Our children have only one extracurricular activity per season, which means that our evenings and weekends are not overloaded. We try as much as possible to have dinner together, to make recipes together, to go out together. As soon as the weather permits, we will go back outside to garden to have our hands and feet in the ground. It seems harmless, but all this allows you to live more calmly ... and to accept that the house is not always impeccable. That too allows you to be more serene. So I am learning to live with more indulgence towards my lack of organization.
I hope this little text will reassure you about your parenting skills. There are ways to make life easier in this hubbub. We are all doing our best. I am still not the most organized mother, but I am better equipped and above all well supported. I hope you have confidence in this journey and that you will find the methods and tools that will be the most relevant and useful for you and your family.
Signed Catherine Duguay, alias Mamandala