Hi, my name is Amanda and since I’ve had children, ‘procrastination’ has become my middle name.
More specifically, I have what I like to call ‘Motherhood Procrastinative Disease (MPD).’
I guess I could just make the excuse that I’m just busy, but aren’t we all? The main symptom of MPD is having a whole list of mothering related things that you want to accomplish but keep putting off because the tasks seem so daunting.
I think my case is severe; there are so many items on my ‘mommy to-do’ list that I am avoiding like the plague.
I just turned 35 years old. I’ve decided that this year is MY year. I am going to try to cure myself of this MPD I have had going 5 years running.
So, I brainstormed a bunch of things I want to do that I haven’t been able to find the motivation for. I don’t quite know how I am going to accomplish some of them yet, but I guess admitting I have a problem is the first step in fixing anything. Or at least, so I hear.
I started with myself.
Self-care may not seem like a ‘mothering thing’ but it really is.
I can acknowledge I haven’t taken great care of myself since my second child was born.
When I’m stressed, I eat. I don’t sleep well. I’ve been wanting to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes for over two years. I want to run a half marathon before I turn 40. I have done nothing about any of this.
Every day, it seems I look in the mirror and tell myself I need to motivate myself and yet I have a billion excuses as to why I haven’t tried to reach my goal. Then I head to the kitchen and find the nearest package of cookies and eat more than I should. Aside: what does a serving size of cookies actually look like?
This needs to stop.
I’m probably more tired and irritable and could do a lot better a job as a mom if I changed some of my habits and felt more rested. I’ve known this for a while, I just didn’t feel like changing anything.
This week, I realized I was always going to be too busy for self-care and that now is the time. I joined a fitness challenge group and I am hoping that will help motivate me. I am going to work on my sleep habits too. Hopefully, by age 36, I will have this one issue under control and I’ll be on my way to that half marathon.
At 36, I don’t want this one to be a symptom on my MPD list.
Then I thought about my son.
In the beginning of the school year, he insisted on buying a pair of indoor shoes for school that tie. Yes, you read that correctly. They have laces. He was four at the time.
I decided to buy them because I didn’t want to fight it. (Not to mention, they were on sale). I also figured that he is the child who had a perfect pencil grip at a year and a half old. He learned to use an actual screwdriver before he turned three. His fine motor skills are crazy awesome!
I thought teaching him to tie his shoes would be a piece of cake.
Well, what I didn’t account for is that of my two children, he is not the persistent one. At least not when I ask him to complete a task at home. He very well may be persistent for other people. However, if I try to teach him a multi-step task, or try to help him, he gives up and gets upset easily.
I tried to teach him how to tie his shoes a couple of times. It was painful. He would get so frustrated because he couldn’t do it on the first try. As a result, I’ve slacked off trying to help him with this skill.
Luckily, he has managed to watch me as I tie them and can do the first couple of steps. Beyond that, I explain what I’m doing as I tie his shoes, but I have stopped making him try it. I also stopped bringing his shoes home on the weekend so he can work on tying and I have made every excuse as to why it is never an opportune time to try again.
This is avoidance at its best on my part.
His teachers probably hate me because he is the only kid in his class with those dreaded laces and he can’t tie them himself when they come in from the playground.
This is one of those skills he’s going to have to learn from me and my husband. It isn’t like they provide instruction on tying shoes when he goes to kindergarten. Chances are, it will be my luck that he will want another pair with laces next year. Somewhere, I need to find some motivation to stop making excuses and try teaching him again.
He’ll learn eventually, but I think I was his age when I learned to tie my own shoes and the biggest lesson he needs to get from this whole experience is not to give up when something is hard. I can teach him that, but only if I persevere.
Next, I really should get around to trying to potty train my daughter.
I am not really stressing about potty training, as my son only trained when I let him figure it out himself. Yet, she is different and probably totally capable of using the potty at least half the time.
I think my biggest problem here is that I am in semi-denial that my daughter is already two.
Before the end of this year, she will be three years old. You’d think I would just try potty training.
After all, not having to buy diapers would save us so much money. But, I haven’t yet. So here I am, admitting to myself that I keep making excuses for putting it off not because of bad timing, but because I don’t want to admit my daughter isn’t a baby anymore.
In December, I said ‘after the holidays and the craziness dies down, I’ll work on that with her.’ Then I said, ‘maybe Monday when I don’t have to leave the house we’ll start this.’ After that, it was ‘oh darn, your brother is sick, I don’t possibly have time to try to potty train.’
There really is no good time to do this, is there?
Yup, definitely a big symptom of my MPD.
Finally, I think I need to actually move into this house completely.
This is our second house and we didn’t really move into the last one all the way until we were prepping the house for sale.
We’ve lived in this house for almost four years, and I still have a huge pile in the basement of items that don’t have homes, my picture frames are not on my walls and there is a box upstairs of more stuff that I don’t know where to put.
I keep telling myself that we need to finish the kitchen renovation first, I need to order new pictures for my frames before I put them up, I have to wait until my husband has time to help me hang them straight, etc. In actuality, I don’t really need to wait for any of that. It would probably help my sanity if the piles were just gone.
I need to not overthink it, find places for what I want to keep and get rid of the rest.
There is that MPD again. Those piles feel like mountains to me. I’ll need to dig deep.
So, I’ve given myself the pep talk.
I can do this. By the time I turn 36 next year, I’m convinced I will be looking at myself in a very different way and will no longer be procrastinating these daunting tasks.