Monday, October 2, 2017

Five Habits of Highly Successful {at looking like they have it together} Moms

I’ve been married for an amazing 16 years. Since those looooong ago single days I added a hubby, four kids, a house, about a million socks without matches, a certificate in master gardening, a new job, a looooot of volunteer hours with the PTA, and about 40 pounds. Do I love each of my kids ten pounds’ worth? Let’s go with yes.

The point is … in 16 years life has gone from just the two of us sleeping in on Saturday mornings and taking lazy walks dreaming about the future to BAM! So. Crazy. Busy.

Even after 16 years I can't be serious when we try to take couple photos now.
They always turn into awkward engagement photo reenactments.

First baby: Dreamy.
Second baby: We’ve totally got this!
Third baby: Outnumbered but I have adorable little helpers.
Fourth baby: What the?!?

I mean, after my last baby it took me nearly five years to finally buy a new bra and nearly eight before I went back to the dentist.. Anyhoooooo ...

Someday my house will be quiet and I’ll miss the noise, the graffitied walls (the 8-year-old still. draws. on. the. walls.), the constant shock over how quickly food disappears, but, for now, I just have to keep up with the crazy.

So here are the FIVE things that help me keep up the facade that we have our lives together.

1. Adjust, Don’t “Lower,” Your Expectations.
Can we, just for one second, vent about this phrase?? Lowering my expectations? Really? How about setting expectations that sit wherever the heck you want because they make sense for your reality?

For example, I used to make dinner every night. That’s because I actually got the grocery shopping done. And that’s because I actually made a menu. And that’s because I had two seconds at a time to think about life. But now things have changed and I no longer make menus or trips to the store or dinner. My goal has become to make dinner two nights a week. I adjusted my expectations to our reality. I didn't lower them.

Do I miss our evening ritual of catching up {complaining} about our days, talking {moaning} about what might be happening the next day, or everyone pitching in {disappearing} when it was time to clean up? Maybe a little. But it sure is nice to feel good about myself a couple times a week instead of feeling like a crap mom on the five nights we don’t get to eat together.

The benefit to this is that my kids can now successfully cook dinner for themselves (you’re welcome, future college children), do their own laundry (you’re welcome, future college roommates) and quickly do their chores 1o minutes before I get home and pretend they weren’t watching TV (you’re welcome, um, no one).

2. Like Your Kids.
Okay, we have to love our kids. It’s natural. We can’t help it. But sometimes they're really hard to like! It takes a lot of effort to look past the twerp they are currently and see the amazing human they’re trying so desperately to turn themselves into.

Try to love having your kiddos around. Mine are hilarious - when they’re not arguing. My oldest can quote movies so well that no one even realizes she’s doing it. She can sing. Play guitar. Frankly, there’s not much she can’t do. My second is totally into parkour (like running up the sides of buildings and flipping off!) and I’m constantly amazed by what he’s brave enough to do. My third is going to be the most amazing soccer player who has ever lived or breathed or walked the earth, At least he will be to me. And, guys, he has this smile! Like melt-my-heart-every-single-time smile. My littlest is a vandal. But a super cute one! (Seriously, though. She draws on everything! But if you give her a coloring page and some markers she looks at you like, really? You want me to color? I’m, like, already 8 and stuff.) Let’s just agree that some phases are easier to like than others.

All in all, my kids are the ones other people watch with wide eyes and say, “Wow! They have a lot of energy!” Yes, they do and I like it!

3. Change Your Attitude.
One day on the phone my BFF was telling me about her rough day and the she said, “I just have to change my attitude.” I thought, hello? Just change your attitude? Uh. Okay. But she’s pretty much the smartest person I know and she actually has her life together so I decided I would try it. It’s amazing what happens in your brain when you decide to be positive. Guess what? All your problems are manageable. Smiling? It’s magical. A smiling mom makes kids feel safe. A mom who’s smiling on the inside, too? There’s no stopping her. Thanks, bestie. You’re a keeper.

4. Do Things For Yourself.
Sounds heavenly, right? Run. Right now. Hang out with some friends. Buy yourself a new book. Hide in the car and devour a milkshake like there’s no tomorrow. (True story.) Or get really crazy and plan an actual night out. Sometimes we moms experience this awful condition called Mom Guilt. Its symptoms include feeling badly about absolutely nothing. That is all. When we remember that we are actual people then our kids remember that we are actual people. And actual people have feelings and needs and flaws and that’s okay. It’s like that oxygen mask comparison. You have to put your mask on first if you have any chance of helping others. The struggle is real, but you are worth it.

5. Do Things For Others.
I actually do a lot of volunteering. Sounds amazing, I know (don’t worry … I just rolled my eyes at myself), but honestly it’s my way of getting to know my kids’ teachers and principals and office staff. It’s pretty great when you get a voicemail from the secretary at school laughing and saying, “Hey, Jen! Call us when you get a sec. Jonah stuck a penny up his nose.” Then more laughing. The penny up his nose part was slightly terrifying, but the voicemail could have gone like this: “Hi, Mrs. Sorensen. This is your offsprings’ school calling. We don’t really know who you are or who your child is, but this is the phone number he gave us and he is currently sitting with our medical professional who is performing an extraction of a coin right out the part of his face where he breathes. Please call us back at your earliest convenience.” I mean, it could have. It probably wouldn’t have, but still, it’s better if they know you, right?

Even though I have slightly evil reasons for volunteering, I’ve still been lucky enough to give so many tests to sweet little ones who needed some one-on-one support, smiles to kids who were having a rough day, high-fives to classes walking quietly through the halls - or at least they were quiet before the high-fives started, sorry teacher. And through all of those hours at schools I’ve always been thankful for the next mom to walk through the doors and do just the same thing for my little ones.

 My people.
Alli, Jonah (blue shirt), Asher (blondie with the glasses), Sophie tethered to me,
and Josh right in the middle of all the crazies.

The bottom line is, my friends, no one has it together. We just think they do. I’m pretty good at a few things. You’re pretty good at a few things. But mostly we’re good at thinking everyone else is better at everything else than we are and it’s just not true. So stop it. Do what you can. Tell yourself you’re doing a good job. Tell your kids they’re awesome and hilarious and that there’s no one out there better at being them than them. Then tell them to put their laundry away. Again.

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Mormon Mom Planner Blog Post: 5 Habits of Moms Who Are Good At Keeping It Together


  1. This is so perfect! I feel like we have had this conversation! :)

  2. Love this post, all so true plus it never ends even when your 72 and your children have children! Keep up the good work.

  3. I agree with the phrase "lower your expectations". I feel like if I went any lower we'd be on our way down to hell. It has such negative connotations..... that your expectations aren't good enough. sigh. That's all.... just wanted to say I agree. love your work. (I used to have more to say, but then I had four kids and then I tried to stop drinking sugary drinks the other day and now I'm just a mess).