Your kiddo can’t find their soccer cleat. You misplaced your car keys…again. If you ask any parent what they want, it’s organization above all. But if you think that an organized parent is a contradiction in terms, just ask Stephanie Vozza, CEO of The Organized Parent. As the mom to Christopher, 13, and Nick, 9, Stephanie created The Organized Parent after struggling to keep her own family organized. Stephanie spoke to Celebrity Parents Magazine about reclaiming your life from your kiddos, and still being a good mom.
“As moms, we tend to put a lot on our plates,” says Vozza. “We want to do everything and be everything for everyone else. Unfortunately, it’s this attitude that leads to a lot of stress and little productivity.” Instead of surrendering to chaos, adapt this attitude of organization — and these tips, too.
1) Empower Your Child To Do Things Themselves
Of course, it’s faster and easier to just pour your toddler a glass of milk, but if you have the time (and patience), let them do it themselves. “The job of a mother isn’t to be a personal assistant to your child,” says Vozza. “A mother’s job is to teach a child to become independent.” The trick, though, is to ditch some of your ideals about how things should be done, since it might get messy and not be perfect. But if that happens, take a deep breath, grab a cleaning cloth, and show them up to mop up a spill.
2) Don’t Be Afraid To Say No
Your child’s teacher wants you to pitch in with the holiday party. Your partner needs you to run an errand for them. Your boss wants you to stay late this week…again. Let’s say this super loud for the people in the back of the room. You are under no obligation to say yes to everything. “Guilt, pressure and the fear of disappointing someone are common reasons why moms allow others to put extra helpings on their plates without saying, ‘No thanks, I’m full,’” says Vozza. But here’s the thing: Saying “no” also applies to your children. Says Vozza: “In fact, it makes you a much better parent, teaching kids that the world doesn’t center around them.”
3) Ask For Help
It’s not written in any bylaws that being a good mom means that you have to shoulder the everyday challenges of parenthood all on your own. Whenever you can get a helping hand, take it — and don’t feel guilty about it. “Moms often think they can — and should — do everything themselves,” says Vozza. “Whether we stay at home or combine work and family, we need help, and we’re better parents when we get it.” Sure, it might be a cliché that it takes a village to raise a child, but it’s completely true.
4) Don’t Be Indispensable
More than likely, your family has become so used to you being the pinch hitter that they don’t even realize how much of a toll it’s taking on you. While it might feel good to be the heroine who saves the day, you’re doing yourself a disservice by always doing for others — and not yourself. “Show your spouse and children where you keep things so they can help themselves,” says Vozza. “Set up systems that others can follow, such as a place to file school papers or phone numbers. And delegate responsibilities to others.”
5) Stop Putting Yourself Last
We eat the burned bagel that we know no one else will want. It’s incredible how moms go without even without thinking about it. Although there might be times when it’s a necessity, stop putting yourself last, advises Vozza. “Start by scheduling ‘me time’ in your planner,” she says. Whether it’s a daily workout, a few minutes alone with a cup of tea or a monthly day of shopping or lunch with friends, when you commit to taking time for yourself you take the first step in reclaiming yourself — and your right to be first, for once.
Organization isn’t just about knowing exactly how many pairs of black socks your kiddo has in their drawer, or making sure that all the dishes are done (even though that would be lovely). Being a good mom is first prioritizing yourself so that you can be the best person (and parent) possible, so that you can focus on the happiness you so desperately deserve.