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How I Completed The 75 Hard Program As a Working Mom

The fitness and personal growth corners of social media have exploded with the 75 Hard {#75Hard} craze, and it’s definitely for good reason. Everyone from famous professional trainers to rookie change seekers has attempted the program and shared their results. As a fitness enthusiast and challenge lover I was intrigued, but honestly thought it was impossible for a working toddler mom.

75 Hard
Day 75!

You see, the 75 Hard program is 75 straight days {yep, NO days off} of completing these 5 non-negotiable tasks:

  1.  2 separate 45-minute workouts, one of which has to be outdoors
  2.  Drink a gallon of plain water 
  3.  Take a progress picture 
  4. No cheat meals, no alcohol, no junk food – follow your chosen nutrition plan 100% 
  5.  10 pages of non-fiction personal growth reading

So as you can see, moms don’t have time for 75 HARD and I wasn’t even going to attempt it…or was I?

I couldn’t get the challenge out of my head and ultimately I succumbed to the temptation to prove something to myself. And guess what? I DID it! Like all the way, with physical and mental results beyond my wildest dreams, and with a discipline and a drive I didn’t know I had. Incredibly, I lost 16 pounds, got pre-baby-toned, and had energy levels soaring through the roof. I loved the daily time outdoors, the “gains”, and the way it felt to keep promises to myself without compromise.

75 Hard

But what really amazed me and what I really want to share with you are my takeaways from completing 75 Hard – this intense mental toughness challenge – as a mom:

I stopped feeling guilty for prioritizing myself.
It was definitely crazy squeezing all those tasks into each day on top of being a working mom and wife. There were absolutely days I felt guilty for taking time for myself when other things needed attention. But, my outdoor workouts included my daughter riding along in the stroller while I jogged, and my husband started handling bath time every night. So what at first appeared as selfish, ultimately provided more quality bonding time for all of us.  I learned that I can take time for myself and that my family will adapt, survive, and dare I say thrive. 

 I  am capable of so much more than I thought.
My fear that 75 Hard was too much for a mom was obliterated when I realized that moms are literally built for this. We spend our lives doing what needs to be done no matter what it takes, which is exactly what this program demands of you. And you can’t miss the “no days off” parallel either. It helped immensely that I have an extremely supportive husband who is a hands-on father, but ultimately, it was me checking off those tasks each night regardless of what the day had thrown at me. I was the one sweating it out on the treadmill after my family went to bed, reading my pages on lunch break, and taking the extra minute after my shower to get that daily progress pic without fail. I found the wellspring inside that feeds all moms as we are washing uniforms at midnight, nursing sick babies while replying to emails, making dinner after a too-long day, or shaving our legs for date night when we really want a good Netflix binge and a foot rub. Mothers do what we are too tired or too busy to do every single day. We already have mental toughness ingrained in us. 

There is peace in being a person apart from the parent that you are.
The physical demands were intense, and some days my body and mind were beyond exhausted, but I found a regenerative sense of peace in doing something that was solely for me.  I felt strong, and proud, and vital in ways that had nothing to do with my success as a parent, and it was definitely good for the soul. 

Our kids are definitely paying attention.
This lifestyle rubbed off on my daughter very quickly. After only a week she was asking if we were going to walk after daycare and prompting me to run from her seat in the stroller. When I was weight training she was close by picking up weights and resistance bands and moving her body along with me. She started asking for shakes instead of nuggets when we grabbed food in town. It was incredible to see how much of my behavior she was observing and mimicking. Our children may not always listen, but they are definitely paying attention. 

 I have learned to trust myself deeply. 
There is no outward accountability in this challenge. No coach, team, or check-ins. It’s just you and your commitment. By keeping promises to myself and doing more than  I thought I could do for 75 days in a row, I learned to trust myself in an entirely new way. As a mom this is priceless. We have to make tough decisions, split decisions, scary decisions and be in charge of so many things all the time and all at once. Having deep confidence and trust in yourself is probably one of the greatest tools a mother can have and probably the most gratifying takeaway from this challenge. 

Whether you choose to take on 75 Hard or some other program for personal growth, it will not only be worth it for you, but for your whole family. And don’t worry Mama, sometimes being a little selfish is a good thing.  

How Impostor Syndrome Won The Race I Never Ran

Here’s a story about Lucky…just kidding. But thanks to Britney Spears for the inspiration. Here is a story about a mom that trained for a race only to not actually run that race due to allergies {but mostly, due to Impostor Syndrome}. 

Back in April, a coworker challenged me to run the Mackinaw Bridge race on Labor Day. This was in April 2021. If you’ve never ran that race before, that is about 5 miles at 6 am in 40°-50°F weather with possible rain and wind on Labor Day. The last time I ran a race was about 8 years ago way before I had a kid. I was freaking out. 

Impostor SyndromeThere was no way my out-of-shape self could prepare for this race. Impostor Syndrome crept in, and I thought, “there’s no way I can run the race and do well.” But then, I realized something in my training. I discovered that running was a really good grief release. I found my high and I drank that Kool-Aid until the pitcher was bone dry. Then, I got a really bad viral infection within a week of the race and couldn’t breathe well enough on my own to run the race which was really disappointing, but I was actually happy that I got that viral infection. 

We are our own worst enemy and I definitely fell victim to Impostor Syndrome and convinced myself at one point that I would be so awful trying to run, that I stayed home. I also drank the social media Kool-Aid, you know the one where everything you see on the internet is true, right?

THIS IS NOT TRUE… but I read somewhere that running after suffering a loss could delay your chances of getting pregnant again. I have not been able to find any science to support that. I repeat: I have not found science to support that, but I convinced myself that was the gospel truth. Why? Why do I let lies take over my life? Like that’s crazy. I know better. 

Impostor Syndrome

Why did I quit? I was so scared of failing. I’m scared of disappointing my daughter even though I know she’s looking down, cheering me on, and yelling, “that’s my mom!”

I also convinced myself that my body was damaged because I couldn’t give birth to a living baby. in short, impostor syndome.

How could I accomplish such a feat? Did I start training too soon before the race? Most definitely, but the journey doesn’t stop here and I still want to share with you my training journey, and how I’m kicking Impostor Syndrome to the curb. 

Impostor Syndrome1) Invest in yourself. Buy a really good pair of running shoes like Brooks. I also run with copper inserts and that helps my lower back tremendously. Biker shorts are the way to go too with running. I had little to no inner thigh chaffing with the shorts. A good sports bra will go a long way too.

2) Set goals, give yourself grace when you don’t reach those goals, and repeat. I had goals of running 5 miles in 3 months. That wasn’t the most realistic goal ever and now I am reevaluating said goal. The 10K Runner app helped guide me on my runs and set new ‘optimized’ goals every day {I did pay for the unlimited access and it’s worth it}. 

3) I changed my diet in the slightest way: Hello Mediterranean diet! Do you love bread, pasta, and good food? I would recommend trying Mediterranean meals then! You eat your bread and pasta, but the key part is you eliminate red meat. The lighter meals helped me feel so full and I noticed I lost an inch or two!

Impostor Syndrome

So what are my takeaways from this journey with Impostor Syndrome? I need to be kinder to myself. I gave birth to a human being. That is something no one can take away from me. My body has changed in such a beautiful way and I should celebrate that.  I can’t let the fear of striking out keep me from playing in the game. Life is scary and so unpredictable, but I know I am going to miss out on so much in life if I stay inside and hide away from the world. I am going to continue growing so much.  And I am a Superhero!

I’m a Better Person Because I Mentally Decluttered These Five Items

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When we think of “decluttering” we often think of decluttering physical items. I’m sure at one point you’ve worked on decluttering your office or cleaning out the garage and I’m here to inform you that you can declutter mental items, too.

I decluttered these five items and it’s safe to say I’m a much better person because of it:

Declutter Item #1: People’s opinions of me + getting along with everyone
It’s hard not to worry about what others think of you. Like really hard. If you’re an Enneagram 3 like me, it’s even more difficult because we like to be admired by others. But, it’s important for us as humans to not deal with the stress of worrying about others’ opinions about us.

So, how do you build confidence in this area? First of all, if someone is going to give you the cold shoulder or straight out tell you they don’t like you, there’s a 99% chance they’re a negative person. No need to worry about that person because the last thing we need in our lives is negativity. Second of all, stop being so sensitive. Read that again. Years ago I would have described myself as pretty darn sensitive. I wanted to please everyone and be liked by everyone. To desensitize yourself you need to build thicker skin by decluttering negativity, focus really hard on minding your own business, and stop overthinking everything by focusing on the positive.

Declutter Item #2: Worrying about saying “no”
Add the word “no” to your vocabulary! It’s OK to say it. As moms, we don’t like to say “no” because we put too much pressure on ourselves and it can make us feel selfish. Saying “no” is very healthy and most of the time it feels pretty good saying it. Let me remind you: you don’t owe anything to anyone and it’s important to balance the time you offer to others.

Declutter Item #3: Rushing
This is when mindfulness comes into the picture. Mindfulness covers the following areas: being present, increased awareness of the situation you’re in, and not feeling overwhelmed. What does rushing do to our brains? It makes us feel overwhelmed and doesn’t allow us to enjoy the moment. So, with that said, it’s time to be more mindful. Here’s how you can improve mindfulness: adding meditation to your routine, using the 4-7-8 breathing technique when you’re feeling overwhelmed or business is taking a toll on your heart {breath in through the nose for 4 seconds, hold that breath while counting to 7, exhale through the mouth in a forceful way for 8 seconds. I like to make that 8-second breath audible for total relaxation}, and practice mindful eating. We all know we feel better when we’re not rushed. Take some deep breaths and live in the present.

Declutter Item #4: Needing to know all the answers to motherhood
Nobody has all the answers. There’s no parenting book that has all the answers. There’s no professional that has all the answers. Who has all the answers for your family and their needs? YOU!

mental declutteringDeclutter Item #5: Waiting to accomplish longtime dreams or goals
This past summer, my family took a leap of faith to work towards our longtime dream of owning a home on some land so that we could create a small homestead. We were content but we were done waiting so we brought that dream to the forefront of our minds and made it happen. Did we encounter setbacks? Did we ever! But, here we are today building our dream home on six acres of land. And to think that all it took was a for sale sign in the front yard. The rest of the plan rolled out as it was created to do.

The frontal lobe of our brain helps us with reasoning. It makes us think about things and respond to the situation in a sensible way. My frontal lobe kicked into overdrive with the first thought of selling our house but I had to focus on the pros and not the cons. We need our frontal lobe to work but how do we listen to our reasoning without overthinking things? It’s easy, really. You remind yourself of this: you only get one life and tomorrow isn’t promised. Reach for the stars and start working towards your dreams!

Here are three things you can do today to start working towards your dreams: create a clear vision {mentally or physically with a vision board}, list out the steps of how to get there, declutter negative people from your life who aren’t supportive of your goals.

If your heart is feeling heavy in relation to any of those five mental loads, consider this permission to declutter your mind, your worries, and your fears. It won’t happen overnight. It took me three years of physically decluttering the spaces in our home to start seeing mental clarity and permission from myself to let go of these five things. Why fill your head with negative chatter?

You only get one life and it’s time to let go of what others think of you, stop worrying about saying “no”, stop rushing, stop searching for all of the answers, and stop waiting around to follow your dreams.

Mom Struggles: I Was Afraid To Leave The House With My Kids

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As every mom knows, mommin’ is tricky. Each of us has our own struggles, some we recognize and some we don’t.

Within the last year, I have identified one of my own struggles: I realized that I was scared to do things with just the kids and myself.

I have no idea when this happened. When it was just my firstborn and I, we would do everything together. But sometime after the second kiddo came around, I realized that I wasn’t taking my kids places alone anymore. The pandemic didn’t help my struggles either.

Maybe it was the year in quarantine that got me out of practice? Maybe it was the fact that I was now outnumbered? Who knows, but I realized that I didn’t like it.

I am a social person; I like adventure and the outdoors. So do my kiddos, so why was I letting this fear hold me back? They were missing out on so much because of my struggles. Is FOMO still a thing? Or am I too old now?

It seemed like a huge mountain to climb. The fact of the matter was, it was darn overwhelming, and frankly, it was scary. 

I had all these doubts running through my head: What if they don’t listen? What if they run in different directions? What if they throw a tantrum? What if… what if… what if…? Not only did I have these doubts regarding my kiddos, but I had them about myself too. What If I can’t do this alone? What If I lose my crap? What if I forget something? These doubts overpowered everything. But I wanted to get back out there. I wanted to have fun with my boys and not be held back by my struggles.

I started small. I would take the boys with me to the grocery store in town. I swear, to the kids – who has lived a life of quarantine and daycare – the store was a magical place. Both kids had a blast, and really, it wasn’t too bad on my end either. We have now made this a “fun” weekend trip together most weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a grocery pick-up, but I can’t say I never forget anything.

I built up from the grocery store to ice cream trips, from walking to the park and playing to adventures like the zoo. I didn’t do this overnight, and it took time. It took time for me to learn how my kids best responded in public situations. It took even more time to build the confidence to do something bigger, and I am still building that confidence and working on overcoming my struggles in this area.

But it did happen, eventually, over time. All it took was that first step. Soon, that mountain became a hill, and that hill became smaller and smaller. 

Now the kiddos and I do everything together. Farmers market? Sure, why not. Splash pad? You bet – {bring an extra towel – I promise you won’t regret it}! Ice cream and a park play date? Absolutely. 

I can’t say I have been brave enough to make an overnight trip alone, hubs always wants to come {I  can’t blame him}, but maybe someday I will be brave enough. Maybe it’ll come with age, the kid’s age, not mine – well, perhaps both?

The bottom line is, I have learned it gets easier. I promise.

Now, I can take these photos and remember that I can do it. Sure, the trips might not be butterflies and rainbows every time, but the memories are still worth the ups and downs. 

So, take the kids, mama. Take them for them, but take them for you too. You’re a rockstar, no matter what you do, and despite your struggles. So, you might as well make it fun!

Michigan Haunted Houses, Trails, and Attractions

October is here and with it, so are the spooky vibes. We love a good fright at Mid-Michigan Moms and are thrilled to share the many different places to catch a good scare. Mid-Michigan is bursting with haunted houses, schools, trails, farms, sawmills, and more!

Use our interactive map below to find a fun scare in your area or hop in the car, grab a friend, and make it a trip!

michigan haunted house

Did we miss a favorite Mid-Michigan Haunted House or Attraction? Leave us a comment below!

Check out all of our guides and resources to the Mid-Michigan area here! From the best pizza to parks and where kids eat free – We’ve got you covered.

For more of what’s going on in Mid-Michigan, check out our Facebook page.

Get your BOO on!

Tis’ the season to get SPOOKY and nothing is more frightful than NOT being able to participate in all our favorite Halloween festivities… but never fear we at Mid-Michigan Moms have a TON of tricks and treats pandemic friendly to make sure you and your family still have a spooktacular October! 

First up a way to show your friends, family, and neighbors some love by secretly BOO-ing them!

Similar to the ‘bear hunts’, ‘chalk walks’, and our Easter Egg Hunt earlier this Spring, saying ‘Hey Boo!’ works best if lots of neighbors (young and old) participate. So, spread the word, and let’s make #2021Boos happen with these four simple steps…

halloween boo

How to BOO your friends, family, and neighbors:

Get a Container

  • Basket
  • Gift bag
  • Halloween Pail/Bucket
  • Popcorn Bowl
  • Metal Bin

Put these FREE Printouts in the container

  • Print this BEEN BOO’D sign!
  • Include TWO sets of these instructions on how to BOO others {this is very important so saying Hey BOO! can continue} 

Fill your container with:

  • Something to Eat + Drink:
    • Candy
    • Salty Snacks (chips, popcorn, nuts)
    • Apples / Candied Apples
    • Donuts or other Baked Goods
    • Cider
    • Juice Boxes
    • Wine or Cocktail Mixers for the adults!

SECRETLY leave your BOO on the porch or outside the door of those you wish you spook this October!

Remember to keep it simple, fun, and inexpensive. Look in your donation stash for old containers and hit up bargain stores like Dollartree, Big Lots, Target Dollar Spot, and as we mentioned JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s.

halloween treats baked goodsBelow are some cheap and easy sample boo ideas!

Boo-Kit #1 (older couple)

  • Container – Kraft Gift Bag
  • Something to Eat – Donuts from a local Apple Orchard!
  • Something to Do or Use – Fall Scented Candle

Boo-Kit #2 (family with young children)

  • Container – Pumpkin Bucket
  • Something to Eat – Homemade Sugar Cookies
  • Something to Do or Use – Pumpkin Carving Set
  • Added Fun – Spider Webs

Boo-Kit #3 (couple with baby)

  • Container – Metal Tin
  • Something to Eat or Drink – Cocktail Kit including the BOOze!
  • Something to Do or Use – My First Halloween Onesie

Now remember when you BOO your neighbors you don’t want them to know, so make a fun night of it with the whole family {think ding-dong-ditch from our youth} and go big or gourd home!

boo'd sign and instructionsps. *Don’t forget* to capture your boo-ing and share on social media using the hashtag #2021Boos and be sure to tag us at @midmichiganmoms and this October let’s eat, drink, and be SCARY!

Why I Kicked ‘Mom Guilt’ To The Curb

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We’ve all been there, right? Those nagging feelings that make you feel like you’re somehow, in some way, failing as a mom or parent?

After years of struggling to become parents, my husband and I were finally blessed with our daughter in 2017. I naively thought that because we had multiple miscarriages before her being born that I would savor every moment as her mom, do “all the mom things” right, and never want a break from the child I had longed for, for five years. Spoiler alert – I was wrong. You’re not failing as a parent if you need a break.

You’re not failing as a mom if you need time for YOU!

Little did I know, we would have a five-week premature child that would give us a run for our money for the first six months of her life. She didn’t eat well, was hospitalized at three weeks, didn’t sleep due to tummy troubles, and had thickening of the pylorus which caused projectile vomiting.

Meanwhile, I was suffering from severe postpartum depression {I was not at all prepared for this}, which turned into severe anxiety over the well-being of our daughter, and irrational thoughts began to flood my mind. Most days I found myself asking, “How could I be feeling this way when all I wanted was a child?” Was I failing as a parent?

Fast forward to the toddler years. While attempting to embrace the difficulty of toddler days, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a pandemic {as if toddler years were not hard enough!} I began to question my abilities as a parent, a mother, and a wife. I felt like I was failing, and wondered what I was doing wrong.

I found myself wanting a break from motherhood and all things associated with it – and then feeling incredibly guilty for those thoughts. 

Becoming a mom and having feelings of “mom guilt” or that I was failing, was just the beginning. Guilt started to creep in every aspect of my life like the plague! Wife guilt. Work guilt. Friend guilt. Self-care guilt. Regardless of my priorities, I was feeling guilty about not being or doing enough in one area or another. If I was killing it as a mom, I felt like work suffered. If I was crushing it on the working end, I felt like my family suffered. When I took time to spend with friends, I felt I had to sacrifice self-care. I couldn’t win. Then it dawned on me: none of these ‘feelings’ were true. They were just FEELINGS put there by my own doing. Nobody else was making me feel guilty about anything except for ME.

It was then that I began to realize that no amount of fertility struggles changed the essence of being a mom or a parent. No level of success in my professional life was going to change my feelings for sacrificing family time. No distance in running was going to make all the hard stuff go away. I love my husband and value our relationship. Running and exercise both keep me sane. Spending time with friends fills my cup. However, I also came to terms that regardless of my journey in becoming a mom, I was still warranted to feel the same “mom feels” during these trying times. At the end of the day, we are moms – parents – and it’s hard. There is no recipe book. No step-by-step instructions. Only trial and error, and try again. We’re not failing, we’re learning.

Moms, parents, give yourself grace. I have battled the mom guilt long enough and if you’re like me, you have as well. No matter the way you became a parent or the length of time it took, whether you work from home or the office, have a tribe to help or are a single parent, parenting is hard. We all deserve a break from time to time. Mom guilt does not serve you. The end. If you can take one thing from this piece, please take that. I’ll say it again for those in the back; mom guilt does not serve you, and you’re not failing! 

My advice: focus on being intentional, prioritize and give yourself grace. Is it perfect? No. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have to remind myself of this daily. Some days, we just do the best we can do and then we try again tomorrow. 

My advice is basic but if you have any other tips or advice on how you keep the guilt from creeping in, please share!

We could all use a little encouragement and support; that’s what we are here for! 

Ten Must-Haves for a Michigan Fall Color Tour

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It’s October in Michigan, which is a great time for so many things. College football is in full swing. Mosquitoes are finally retreating back where they belong. Bonfires, cider mills, and harvests of crisp local produce abound. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of autumn in Michigan, though, is watching the sensational display of ever-changing colors, textures, sights, and sounds as soon as I step outside.

Though most Michiganders know of the michigan fall color tour, and all of beauty that surrounds us during this time of year, our state was also recently recognized by Thrillist as having some of the best fall sights in the United States. check out the full article here.

Six years ago, a friend and I took an impromptu trip up to the northern Lower Peninsula. We toured the wineries in the Leelanau Peninsula and appreciated the many shops and boutiques of downtown Traverse City, and ended up having so much fun that we decided to find a hotel and stay the night. This trip was so vivid and special to me, especially in being that it was the first that I hadn’t truly planned each detail out. It was the first time I had ever seen a fox, and the fall colors all around me were unlike anything I had recalled seeing at home. Looking back, I think part of this was in intentionally setting out to appreciate Michigan and all of the beauty it has to offer, with minimal distractions and a true ‘go with the flow’ approach. My first Michigan fall color tour was so memorable. 

According to the Michigan Fall Color Map, we are quickly approaching “peak color” in the Lower Peninsula (check it out here). It only lasts a couple of weeks, then it’s another year before we get the same display. I’ve put together ten must-haves for your journey. Grab a cozy sweater, throw on some cute boots, pour that hot cup of coffee, and get ready to set out on a fall adventure you won’t soon forget. 

Fall Color Tour Tip 1: Layer it up!

Fall in Michigan sometimes leads to what feels like all four seasons on the same day. Layer up and keep clothing options open as a forty-degree shift in temperatures isn’t all that uncommon.

Fall Color Tour Tip 2: Treat yourself.

Michigan has so many family-owned coffee shops and cider mills that offer great refreshments. One of my favorite go-to treats is a cinnamon sugar cider mill donut with a hot cup of coffee. Grab something tasty as you hit the road. 

fall color tour

Fall Color Tour Tip 3: Quiet your mind. 

As someone who feels I’m in a constant state of chaos, this one can be tough for me. However, when I truly try to slow down and be mindful of what’s around me, the experience is that much more special. Try to focus on the beauty that lies before you. 

Fall Color Tour Tip 4: Embrace your senses. 

This will help with the slowing down of your mind. Focus on your five senses as you encounter the fall splendor. 

fall color tour
Fall Color Tour Tip 5: Find a travel buddy. 

I had such a great time taking in the fall season with my friend on our impromptu trip. I felt like we were truly able to slow down and enjoy ourselves together instead of rushing to the next thing. Perhaps you and your spouse are in need of a night away. Perhaps you have a dear friend whom you’ve missed catching up with. Perhaps you’re in dire need of a solo trip, too. 

Fall Color Tour Tip 6: Bring stuff to listen to.

Fall color tours require a good amount of driving. Download your favorite music, podcast, or audiobook before you set off. 

Fall Color Tour Tip 7: Grab your journal.

Jot down tidbits of your adventure. Where were your favorite places? What did you see and do there? Would you like to come back again?

fall color tour
Fall Color Tour Tip 8: Snacks. 

There are so many great places for food and beverage in Michigan. Depending on where your adventure takes you, it may be helpful to have some snacks and beverages packed. A favorite lesson learned from dear friends is to bring charcuterie to enjoy while tailgating after wine/brewery tours.

Fall Color Tour Tip 9: Have an idea of your timeline.

Are you taking a day trip or staying for a couple of nights? Having an idea of what your timeline looks like will give you a better sense of how far out of a destination you can set, as well as give you some lead time on finding a place to stay, if needed.

Fall Color Tour Tip 10: A sense of fun and adventure.

Get ready to make memories that will last a lifetime. 

What are your favorite Michigan fall go-to spots and activities? Share with us below!

 

I’m the Go-To Parent, and It’s Exhausting

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The go-to parent. The parent who organizes the family schedule and helps to get everyone where they need to be. The parent who plans or cooks every meal for the week…unless it’s takeout. The parent who organizes the lunch packing and the clothes for the week. The parent that the school calls when the kids need something, or when they fall ill. The parent who reads and responds to all school emails, and fills out the countless, necessary forms. The parent that my kids will always seek our first. The parent that, really, everyone seeks out first.

That’s me. I am the go-to parent and, frankly, it’s exhausting.

When my children were little, I relished my go-to role. I have a teetering Type-A personality. I say teetering because, for the most part, I like to be in charge and control of what’s going on and happening with our family. Organization is my jam, and it throws me off balance when things get too messy or fall out of place for too long.

But as my children get older, their responsibilities are getting greater. Between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and everything that they’re involved in, there are a million things to remember, sign, or organize. Honestly, reading all of the emails that pertain to their little lives could be a full-time job. So could being my childrens’ chauffeur. Zipping from one activity to the next has my gas tank constantly running on empty – and I’m not just talking about my car.

Being the go-to person all the time can be extremely overwhelming. As I often remind my children, I’m a person just like them, and I require rest and downtime, too. it just took me ten years of parenting to realize it.

Oh – did I forget to mention that I also have a spouse? I happen to be married to a wonderful, caring man who works very hard for our family. He’s a great dad, too. He’s just never played the role of the go-to parent.

I take my fair share of the blame here. My Type-A personality definitely edged him out over the years. He would try to help but, oftentimes, I would be critical and pick apart the way he did things. Eventually, he just stopped helping unless I specifically asked. It’s hard to fault him for that. At the same time, I don’t think he would function well as the primary, go-to parent. In his own words, “organization is overrated.” He manages his own schedule, but I don’t think his email inbox could handle the onslaught of our kids’ communications.

So, where do we go from here? Like so many things in marriage, we’re working on it. We’ve been married for fifteen years, so our roles are pretty ingrained.

What we have done is set clear expectations for our children. My speech to them went something like this – “I’m not your maid. I will no longer be picking up your shoes, socks, and underwear from various places around the house.” There was more, but the main theme was organization and responsibility for their own belongings. Such simple concepts, but so easily lost in the busy shuffle of our busy, everyday life. {Also, perhaps a bit harsh, but sometimes blunt honesty works best with my kids to get parenting points across.}

Honestly, I’ll probably always be the go-to parent. No, I can’t do it all, nor should I be expected to fly solo. But, really, no one ever asked me to. My spouse is here if I need him, but he can’t read my mind. My children are also capable of taking a more active role in managing their own lives, they just need to learn. And so I’m learning to ask for help. I’m also setting clear boundaries and limits for myself. Again, such simple concepts, but not always easy.

So, yes, feel free to seek me out first. I am and will always be the go-to parent. But I just might defer you to my spouse or children. 

In + Around Mid-MIchigan