You try hard to organise your family so that you can all be happy, stable and fulfilled.
Lists. Diaries. Star charts. Project plans. Spreadsheets.
And for a little while, order comes to your household. Life becomes smoother, sweeter. You and your kids head out the door every morning feeling happy, feeling like you’re in control. You’ve got this.
Speed bumps are tiny, bills are paid, lunches are packed.
Then, life happens. Someone gets sick, someone works late, someone has a meltdown. Or you get tired. So tired. So tired you ache.
By the end of the day, all you can do is pull into a drive through and stagger home. Dinner comes in a cardboard box.
You feel like you’ve failed. But you haven’t. It’s not you.
There are three good reasons why these big, muscular systems don’t work when it comes to managing your home. And it’s nothing to do with you. It’s to do with the thinking behind the systems.
Firstly, the whole notion of total, sweeping change comes from traditional industrial management approaches. In the ego-driven jungle of the business world, the gorilla who can shout the loudest is the alpha. And demanding a drastic, radical change is a great way of establishing who is the boss.
Second, this approach is based on a command and control, military model. Someone barks out orders, and everyone jumps. Which works great with adults, who are already socialized, and depend on the organization for their livelihood. With kids? Not so much.
And thirdly, all these GTD-style approaches assume that behind the scenes, someone else is doing all the maintenance work. The ‘invisible’ stuff. Cleaning the toilet, cooking the meals, folding the towels. While the ‘real’ players Get Things Done.
In your world, the person doing all this ‘invisible work’ is you.
You are physically inhabiting two worlds and doing the emotional and practical work for both.
Don’t believe me? Imagine if people behaved at work like your children do at home.
Does your boss ever have someone run up behind him, grab him and rub their snot on the back of his legs? Does a manager ever fall on the floor and start screaming, because the food on their plate touches each other? Does a worker ever shout “You’re so mean!” stamp out of a meeting and throw themselves onto a couch?
You are raising beloved but irrational little beings with limited attention spans and no social skills. Office rules do not apply. Office thinking will never, ever give you what you want.
An ordered home, a place where everyone feels safe. A sense of confidence about your future.
But there is other thinking. Another way of managing life. Of organizing all those daily routines so that they flow. So that when things go wrong, the system just adapts and chugs along.
There are different terms for it. Small changes, kaizen. And there’s a whole body of work that proves it works. It makes a tiny difference, but a lasting one. Then another, and another. And before you now it, you’re back to enjoying your mornings. Keep reading to find out more. Or explore a blog category to try out some tips.