I wish there was another way to say it, but there simply is not. Mamas, your life is full of B.S. 


You are  B U S Y and S T R E S S E D.   Today, it might feel as if the only part of your ship that is floating are the dishes piled in the sink.  You have more irons in the fire than what you care to admit. The calendar is so full, you’ve missed things not because you didn’t have them written down but because they got lost in the additional scribbles of the day’s obligations. You spent countless hours chasing kids’ activities, the laundry is a bit of a black hole, and no matter what you’ve purchased at the grocery store, your refrigerator is lacking. In and amongst it all you might even feel that life, your kids, your marriage and the blessings have been swallowed up into all the B.S. In a word, your world is chaos

I’ll be honest. I think underneath it all, you are hurting because this is not what you had in mind. While, you knew motherhood would throw curveballs, the “busy and stress” has engulfed you. Is it possible that you engage in massive activity, but not massive action towards the investment of what you value most. Massive activity can sure make your schedule full, but leave your heart vacant. Your heart, like it or not, rules the roost as your actions cascade directly from your emotions.  I wonder if just maybe, in the very raw moments that you ask, “Is my job as a mom just to manage chaos & chauffeur?” it’s because you’ve allowed your family to buy into the busy and stressed life that everyone around you participates in. 

Give me just a second, let me encourage you to invest from a different angle.

Let’s get real, I am not standing on a pedestal preaching to you, it’s quite the contrary. You see, these are the concepts that need integrated into my schedule, weekly, daily, even hourly. While, I humbly confess it has gotten better, I’m certain that we never “arrive” at having it all figured out.  

Each of us have values. When our investment of energy doesn’t align with our values, the balance in your soul tips the scales.  If we are consistently frustrated, it’s quite likely you are doing too many things that you don’t REALLY value.  Wouldn’t we do better if we took a step back to answer the following questions. 
-What do I sincerely want?
-What do I want for my family? 
-What skills and character traits to I long to see my children exhibit? 
-What are the things that mean the most?
Many times our hearts are in the right place, but our schedules don’t reflect the vision we desire. Extra minutes, hours and evenings are too often spent catching up on Netflix, Instagram, and Facebook because wanted a reprieve from of a ragged schedule we felt required to obey.

Is there any chance at all that without really knowing what was unfolding, you and your kids have too many obligations? 
Has it lead to a crazy, chaotic schedule?
Has a chaotic schedule leave you overwhelmed and taking shortcuts?
Has your frustration led you to fill your time with self soothing activities to distract your disappointed heart and the misdirected energy?

You see, we all have 24 hours in a day. While jobs are nearly necessary for most everyone, we have alot of hours remaining. My question is this…do you fill them appropriately? It isn’t my job to evaluate if you do, but it IS YOURS.  Moms, raising babies isn’t for the faint of heart, and sleepless nights and selfless seasons produce a unique internal, toughness. But I ask the question, are you mentally tough enough to evaluate your decisions on how well you’ve invested your energy? While you can’t control time, you can control your energy.

When we overcommit, we don’t take genuine action on the items we value most and they  regrettably take a back seat. Kids don’t stay under our roof forever, spouses shouldn’t be devalued to a co-owner of the house, a dead spiritual life aches, and uncared for health often doesn’t see the golden years.  When our most valuable portions of life get nothing but neglected leftovers, the reality is frustrating and disappointing. That’s the place where we have lost the battle. That’s the point in which B.S has taken over. Busy and Stressed. But I do believe, the bottom line remains the same…we always have a choice. It’s not about what you want RIGHT NOW, it’s about what you value most. 

I’m asking that you take a step back and think proactively instead of reactively.  The catch is this, being proactive takes a little work, while reactively living requires no prep at all. Reactive living allows you to.just show up and join the pandemonium. Being proactive can come down to evaluating 3 simple questions.

  1. What do I value most?
  2. Aside from my job, where is most of my energy invested?
  3. Do your values match your invested energy?

While I’ve worked on this for awhile, every so often, it sinks in to a new level. The most simplistic examples, touch my heartstrings on piercing levels.  I have a 13 yr old young man, who still shares his time with me, and I know those days won’t last forever. Several evenings passed where he would ask me to go shoot hoops, and I’d tell him I was busy finishing up some work. All I wanted was for my energy to complete the checklist on my desk. But truthfully, I wanted to get my notes from work caught up, so that after the kids headed for bed, I could sit down and do something mind numbing. I don’t think I’m alone here. But the reality sunk in, there will ALWAYS be work and unending lists, but I’ll be unaware of the last day that this boy stands at my office door asking if I wanted him to beat me in a pick up game. But when it’s gone, I’ll desire nothing more than to go back to it. My brain wants the checklist done, but it doesn’t rank in value over my kid.  However, different seasons require different sacrifices. I finished those notes at about 10:30 that night, and down time was nowhere to be found. Funny how, when I invested my energy into one game of pickup, my heart so much more content than all my previous experiences with “downtime.” If I don’t learn to create time for those moments, they’ll be gone pretty quick. BUT I can’t create those moments if my days, hours and minutes are consumed with activities that just take up space.

You may be grasping for excuses and while there are undoubtedly always exceptions, I still beg the question, “Can you trim the fat?” It won’t come effortlessly at first. Starting out, you will likely think everything is indispensable, but I assure you that ripping off this bandaid is worth it. I’m not sure we do our kids any favors by a non-stop flow of activities. If your energy is managed well, you can intensify the investment into what aspects you value most. But the bottom line remains the same, you simply can not be involved in everything and assume burnout won’t make itself at home.

Living in the B.S. is a choice. The alternative looks more like a tunnel vision of investing energy into values. You might not feel appreciated or noticed, but what you do mom, is nothing short of miraculous. I think we could all agree that a mom on a mission is tough to beat. But there is a thief that will snatch your zest, rob your patience and hijack your joy. That thief is in the culture. It is in the “normal,” it’s reactive, and it is BUSY and STRESSED.

I’ve always said, I’d be a pretty awesome mom if I wasn’t required to feed and clothe my kids. To me, cooking and laundry are the tasks that require too much time and never end..but both are apparently required in order to parent in a semi-acceptable way.  At the same time, I am an addict to efficient processes. Several years back realized that the most simplistic strategy I could use for creating more time and less frustration as a parent was by implementing the idea of meal planning.

Regardless of if you are the working mama, or if you’re at home raising a small tribe, I know your day is filled with an endless list overwhelming tasks. And likely tonight there are still activities for you to take part in. But somewhere in between, your crew wants (and needs) to eat. 

How many nights do you just wing it?  Does the thought run through your mind ALL day, “What will we eat tonight? Do I need to go to the store? While I have that meat, it will never be thawed in time!” 

How many times does your mind revert back to the “What’s for supper?” dilemma during your day? To be honest, those scattered thoughts hoping to make a decision take up your precious time and distract you from your more productive tasks throughout the day. 

>>>Enter the simplistic idea of meal planning. <<<

I simply want you to write what you are having ahead of time, shop ahead of time and create a more efficient process. But if you are new or need a refresher, I’m listing below how to create the meal planning process in a short amount of time. The process will save you energy, frustration and money at the store. I’m dropping my meal planner here, which is designed to make your process a breeze.

Ten Tips For Easily Implemented Meal Planning

  1. Start with your family’s calendar. Fill in all the activities on your meal planner that are happening in the evenings that will change your meal time or evening schedule. Add any practices, games, meetings or events will be held on that day.
  2. Identify the busiest nights, and create the simplest meals for those evenings. Use every handy kitchen gadget, including crock pots, roasters, and instapots. I personally love using a crock pot on the nights my family is eating in “shifts,” for whatever reason.
  3. Consider picking a “standard meal night.” For example, my family loves Mexican. Therefore every single week, almost always on Wednesdays, we will have Mexican food. It remains simple and it is an evening I put no additional thought into and frankly my kids love it. Maybe pizza is your family’s favorite every Friday.
  4. Keep handy a running list of the meals your family likes the best. You can always add to it as you think about new ideas or remember old favorites you’ve forgotten. But, as you plan out the week sometimes your “mom brain” has forgotten all the meals your family likes, so this list will prove helpful.
  5. Consider your busiest times of the year and proactively plan for them.  Maybe as Christmas approaches, you can get some freezer meals put together to combat the bazillion activities that will happen in December. Others may find that their job dictates busy seasons and choose to prepare for that by having a “stockpile,” of frozen meals.  Those frozen meals create no mess and no stress during the seasons your schedule is squeezing you.
  6. Shoot for one grocery store trip per week. Many plan their meals using the current grocery store ad, saving extra by planning based on sales. If you can stick to one shopping trip, you’ll find yourself spending far less, than 5 or 6 trips a week. Not to mention, it’s much more time efficient to head there only one time. 
  7. Prep IF you can. Let’s be real, sometimes you get things ready beforehand and many times you don’t. While it is far more important to have your ingredients on hand, you can save a tremendous amount of mess if you wash, chop or thaw as many items as you can at one time. While I don’t always get things prepped, if I do, I include my 3 girls to do simple things that save me time. In addition, it creates skills that sometimes allow me to pass off a few dishes for them to make on their own.
  8. Plan for some new things. You might not venture out each week to try a new dish, but you might every other week. There is no way to find out how to expand your running list of meals, if you don’t implement a few new ideas from time to time. Integrate some new recipes on a consistent basis, just to expand the “meal option bank” in your household.
  9. DO NOT THROW YOUR PLANS AWAY. You can reuse meal plans as often as you want. Reuse them every month, every other week or every two months. While your activities may have changed for the week, your ideas and meals can easily be transferred over and often times the list of needed groceries might even be similar for that specific meal set. Maybe consider rotating some spring/summer plans and using different ones for fall/winter.
  10. Ask your family for ideas. Maybe every Tuesday, is a meal that one of your kids has picked. Maybe on Friday, your husband gets to chime in what he really likes or what he would be willing to cook (if he does).  But if your family has some say, you will likely have a far better response and possibly more help from your kids.

Meal planning truly isn’t difficult, but it will require consistency to make it a habit. But once it is a implemented habit, then it will undoubtedly produce better efficiency. (and worry less about “What’s for supper?) My hope is that this simple approach creates more time in your schedule, less frustrations at supper and fewer last minute trips to the store.

So let’s get this rolling! Print your Meal Planner, pick your weekly plan day and let’s simplify your week!