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Why Allowing Chaos Doesn't Work for Working Parents (and How to Avoid It)


chaos in color

Are you a working parent feeling like you're juggling the world on your shoulders? Have you resorted to letting go of things like keeping a tidy house, meal planning, and a regular routine? Hey, chaos can be fun, right? But let's be real, it's not always the solution. Let me help you get back on track without sacrificing your sense of humor.


Let me tell you a little secret. Allowing chaos to reign when you're a working parent isn't exactly a recipe for success. In fact, it's more like a recipe for disaster. Research shows that feeling ashamed of your parenting skills can seriously cramp your productivity at work. And let's be honest, no one wants to be cramp-y. So let's ditch the shame and embrace our inner parent-rockstars. Your confidence, motivation, and relationships will thank you.


So how can you avoid chaos and shame as a working parent?

Here are some tips to help you create more order and harmony in your life:


Set Realistic Expectations

Try not to sweat the small stuff! You're doing great just being you. Don't worry about keeping up with the Joneses, focus on what truly matters to you and your loved ones. Let the rest fall away like yesterday's news.


Create a Schedule

Establishing a clear and consistent routine is crucial for managing your time and energy effectively. Not only does it reduce stress and uncertainty for yourself and your children, but it also helps you plan ahead for your work and family commitments. Remember to set aside some time for yourself as well. You can use a calendar or an app to keep track of your tasks and deadlines.


A few of my favorite systems (or parts of systems) are Motion, Google Calendar and Tasks, and good old-fashioned paper. I tend to plan my work and personal long-term To Do Lists and Projects in Motion, use Google Calendar for events and appointments, Google Tasks for Grocery Lists, and paper for my daily planner. It sounds convoluted, but it works for my family, and I have what I need when I need it.

 

"Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential." ~Winston Churchill

 

As a parent, you know that flexibility is key to success. But it still helps to have a plan, a backup plan, and sometimes a backup to the backup plan. My calendar is full of local activities and festivals that are options for my family to attend. Options. I know they're occurring, and if it's right for us at the moment, then we'll attend.


Delegate and Outsource

You don't have to be a one-person show all the time. Reach out to your squad, your family, your coworkers, or even hire someone to do the dirty work for you. Delegate those chores like cleaning, cooking, or grocery shopping -- the ones that don't bring you joy. And hey, why not simplify your life even more by using online services or apps for banking, bills, or ordering food? Let technology do the heavy lifting for you!


I love cooking, so I don't outsource that -- but grocery shopping with 3 kids under 6 can be a nightmare. So, I typically order groceries and pick them up or get them delivered.



Prioritize Self-Care

It's crucial to take care of yourself, and it's not selfish, but rather essential. To perform well at work and home, you need to replenish your physical, mental, and emotional resources. Ensure that you get sufficient sleep, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and engage in something that brings you joy daily. Additionally, you can practice mindfulness, meditation, or breathing exercises to relax your mind and body. Remember, taking care of yourself is vital for leading a happy and productive life.


Aim for Minimalism

I'm not a purist, by any means, but minimalism and simplicity are a lifestyle that I try to emulate as much as possible. I'm certainly not extreme (there is a wall-sized shelf full of books right behind me that I'll never get rid of), but there are areas of my home and life where aiming for minimalism means less chaos and more simplicity.


Some easy ways to simplify for less chaos:

  1. Go through clothes every season and donate or hand-down

  2. When there "isn't a spot" for something, ask yourself if you need to purchase another container, or if you can get rid of something to make room

  3. Consider removing TVs and other electronics from bedrooms

  4. Help the kids pick toys to donate before birthdays and holidays

  5. Clear surfaces (or at least don't let them clutter up)


Seek Support to Avoid Chaos

Don't forget, you're not the only superhero juggling work and parenthood! There's a whole league of parents out there facing the same challenges. Join forces with them by joining a support group or community, both online or in person. And if you need a sidekick to guide you along the way, don't be afraid to seek counseling or coaching. Together, you can conquer the world (or at least your workload)!


Remember, allowing chaos doesn’t work for working parents. It only adds more stress and guilt to your already busy life. By creating more order and harmony in your life, you can improve your well-being, your productivity, and your happiness as a working parent.

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