Why Can’t I Be One of THOSE Moms?

I want to know how to be one of those moms who always has her act together.  You know, the ones who never forget stuff, who are always on time, who always follow through on their promises.

Today I am feeling overwhelmed by my inadequacies.  I’ve always been a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of gal.  And that suited me just fine until I became a mom.  But now when I forget something or I’m late or I just don’t get around to doing something I said I would do, it’s not just myself I’m letting down anymore.   

I have little people depending on me now.  Precious little people who God has entrusted to my care.  People I don’t want to let down.  Every time something happens and I let one of them (and myself) down, I swear to myself that I’m going to get my act together.  And I may do better for a little while, but invariably I fail again.

This morning I failed my daughter.  Actually, it was yesterday.  But today I had to deal with the consequences (and so did she.)  I don’t even want to talk about it, I feel so stupid.  I just want to know why I can’t be one of those women who has her act together.  Is it something you can learn?

If you are super organized and always on top of things, how do you do it?  My calendar is online, for one thing.  I definitely need to start printing it out and posting it so it’s right in front of my face.  Any other suggestions?

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51 thoughts on “Why Can’t I Be One of THOSE Moms?

  1. I totally get what you’re saying. There are days when I feel like I don’t have anything together. I can’t help feeling jealous of moms who do.

  2. I feel EXACTLY the same way. I forgot a dentist appointment for a filling for my daughter just last week. I thought I had it on my Google calendar with an alert but I didn’t. I have since put EVERYTHING on my calendar and printed it. If anyone has an answer, I’d be glad to hear it. I feel like such a loser mom sometimes.

  3. I feel your anguish over this. That’s why I bought a phone/PDA combo that I can download my Outlook calendar onto. Once a week I plug my phone into my computer and run the synch program and I have EVERYTHING with me at all times. My son’s ball games, field trips, soccer games, etc. We also have a family calendar hanging in the kitchen that everything no matter how minute is written on. It’s made a huge difference for us since my husband and I both work full time.

  4. I have no real advice, just know you are not alone!! I blame “momnesia” but really I have never been organized. it sucks when you screw up, though. Been there, and I feel ya.

  5. I’m so glad you posted this. I know exactly how you feel. I have my calendar up in a central location, but don’t always remember to use it :). I’m a little overwhelmed with all of the end of year school stuff and my kids are only in pre-school!!! I’m really looking forward to this summer when we can slow down and do nothing. Give yourself more credit- your kids seem to be happy and healthy.

  6. Oh girl, I don’t have any advice – just sympathy. Cause I’m the worst at being organized and remembering sports practices, birthday parties, and just everything else.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling down. But you know what? In the long run, they won’t remember the forgotten promises and such – they’ll remember how fun Mommy is, how safe she makes them feel, and how much she loves them.

  7. Everyone thinks that I’m one of “THOSE” moms.

    Truth be told, I am like a duck — everything looks all smooth and graceful on the surface, but underneath it all I’m paddling as fast I can to keep afloat. I have my “to do” list online, printed out and hanging in my bathroom, written on Post It notes throughout the house, and scrawled on my hands in fruit-scented marker. I’m always running here and there and sometimes I just have to say “You know, this will just have to do!” as I send my daughter off to school with only half her homework done and store-bought cookies for her class party.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself!

  8. I can relate. This spring I not only forgot to sign up my 9yo for soccer and summer school, (summer school here is fun so he really wanted to go)I also forgot to have him give his teacher something for teacher appreciation week.

    The problem is my desk is a giant black-hole that eats anything that is piled on it, and then spits it out two weeks later when all deadlines have passed.

    Or maybe I’m just a really bad mom.

    Anyway, I find myself frequently having to apologize to my kids for all the things I forget. Hey…. that’s it! I just really want them to learn by example how to apologize! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  9. I’m not one of those moms. I just went out with one of my friends and her 2 kids to the park. She brought sunblock, hand sanitizer, a blanket, enough lunch for me & Lydia, towels to wipe off the wet slides, etc. etc. etc.

    I brought my purse with a sandwich and a banana and thought I was doing good.

  10. I feel your pain….and when you figure out a way to get on track, let me know.

    I think there is just so much going on when your a Mom, it’s easy to push things off to another day, at which point we forget.

    If your kids are fed, clean, clothed and generally happy…then you are doing something right.

  11. This is my life. I posted about it the other day. It really stinks! I had to e-mail the director of my son’s pre-k because I lost a form for his graduation party AND the form for the field trip. It was two different e-mails, because clearly I can’t get my sh*t together enough to know what I’m missing all at one time. Sigh. I’ve tried everything and nothing works. My 5 year old has even started saying “It must be in the black hole….” That’s pretty sad.

  12. I am certainly NOT oneof those moms. I have forgotten more than I care to remember. ONE thing that did help…the calendar, I put it on the fridge. EVERYTHING went on it from Dr. appts, sports practices, school events to Make list of TO TO for party, Order Cake for Bday. Yes, I forgot to order a cake once and well, you can imagine the mad scramble.
    Another thing we did for a while was all those flyers with notices from all the stuff we have to do were clipped together in date order and that was stuck on the fridge too. Then every week, me or hubs would go through it. I am the queen of making a list of things I gotta do and then forgetting where I put the list.
    Good luck!

  13. I seriously pulled my 2nd grader out of school because I couldn’t keep up with all the things that her “perfect”teacher wanted me to sign and send in or the like. That was six years ago. I homeschool my girls now (well, one just finished her first year in college.)
    I think that simplifying helps me. I can’t be running everywhere and doing everything. We have our routine and we pretty much stick with it.
    Also, it doesn’t make us a bad Mom! How many of you are the “fun” Mom? We have disorganization in our personality, but I bet most of you are very creative and fun.

  14. At the risk of seeming totally over-organized, I’ll admit that I am one of “those moms”. Before I give you some of my tips, I’ll let you know that sometimes I wish I wasn’t this pulled together. I know I miss out on some fun moments because I’m trying to stay so organized.

    I use a written weekly calendar that I keep open on my kitchen island most of the time. Everything goes into it – so much so that I call it my brain sometimes. (Including library dues dates, my kids’ practices and classes, out of the ordinary times when my husband is going to be out, school dates, when school papers and items are due, when I need to provide snacks, when I need to pay bills, etc.) It keeps my schedule and also shows everything that needs to happen in that week. It’s probably the thing that helps the most.

    Another thing that really helps is that ever since I started staying home with my kids, I plan very little for Mondays. I really work to keep my schdule clear that day so I can clean, do laundry, get caught up on paperwork, make phone calls, etc. When my kids weren’t in school yet, this was a day they watched too much TV. I figured it all worked out because it really freed me up the rest of the week. It still works now.

    Like most families, this time of year is crazy busy for us. Last week I pulled out a spiral notebook that I’ve been using for all my lists. In it I’ve got lists of who needs what spring/summer clothes, projects I want to do before the kids get out of school, who I need to collect soccer $$ from, errands that I need to run within the next week or so, what teachers I need to buy gifts for, etc. The notebook has a pocket in the front, and all of the papers that I need to do something with go into that.

    Yeah — I know – I’m pretty organized. I do think it’s something you can learn, but I’ve also been this way for a long time. I have a much harder time flying by the seat of my pants.

    And just to make you feel better — yesterday morning there was no milk in the house. My kids aren’t used to this — it was not a great way to start a rainy Monday.

    The truly great thing is that there are many different kinds of moms, and we can all learn from each other. I’m sure part of the reason why I like your blog so much is because I see your free spirit. And that’s something I need to let grow within myself.

  15. Okay first of all, stop thinking there are these other mothers out there that have it all together because they most likely don’t and if they say they do they are probably lying 🙂

    People often think I’ve got it all together because I happen to be organized but believe you me I have other inadequacies for sure. I’m not perfect, you aren’t perfect and your neighbor isn’t perfect. Yes some of us are stronger in some areas than others which is why it’s great to surround yourself with friends that can fill in the gaps for you. Between me and my girlfriends we almost make one “perfect” mom but it takes 5 of us to do it…LOL.

    I just want to encourage you to not beat yourself up. There are definitely things/systems you can put into place to be more organized. Maybe you just haven’t found the system that works for you yet. Having a calendar somewhere central that you can see on a regular basis is a great place to start. Don’t over think it and to keep from getting overwhelmed only work on one new habit at a time.

    Please let me know if I can do anything else to help.

    Hang in there!!

  16. I feel your pain! A friend of mine turned me on to FlyLady and it works!

    Her website is flylady.com – you’ll want to read 2 sections. Why Fly? – short synopsis of FLYing and Beginner BabySteps (if you decide to Fly!) She also has a book which goes more in depth about her “program” — Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley. I checked it out from our local library.

    The great thing about FlyLady is that you can customize it to work for you. You don’t have to do everything she suggests, just do what works for your family.

    Check it out – it may do the trick for ya!

  17. I think that the mom who “has it all together” is really a myth. Not one mom I know has managed to remember everything all the time.

    You can’t feel too badly for letting your kids down – at least don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s a wonderful example of our fallen state and how we SO need God’s Grace to be overcomers. 🙂

  18. Just sympathy from me. I’ve been at this for over 16 years and I STILL am not one of THOSE moms. Probably never will be. Hopefully my kids will earn enough money in their professional lives to pay for their therapy 😉

  19. We all forget things from time to time, we’re human. If its a regular thing then that’s something different. I keep a calendar and take time on Sunday evenings to get a feel for the week ahead. I check the calendar each morning and evening. It only takes a few minutes and helps a lot.
    Don’t be hard on yourself, there’s no such thing as a perfect mom.

  20. You are one of those moms who has her act together, you just don’t feel like it today. Don’t beat yourself up, girlfriend. You’re doing great things.

  21. here’s my big tip, and hoo-boy, it’s an original one: sticky notes. Lotsa, lotsa stickynotes. I post them everywhere and it really works.

  22. I have to agree I think the Mom who has it all together is a myth. All of our have our days (weeks, months) of feeling like we just can’t keep it together. I am in that funk right now. As for one of the way I do try to keep it together. I have 3 calendar… yes 3. One of the frig, on on the wall right next to the computer screen and the outlook one for work on the computer. Everything I need to do is always in front on me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t forget to bring my daughter’s backpack on Friday which means she doesn’t get a prize because you have to bring your backpack to get a prize. Talk about feeling the guilt.

  23. You thought the O for my middle name stood for my birth name? Nope! My middle name is Organized. OK, so I only have 1 kid. That makes it easier. So, I don’t overschedule our family. That also makes it easier.

    I don’t think it’s the method so much as the mindset, but if you hit on a method that works, it’s certain helpful. What works for me is plain and simple: paper and pen. Hey, if a blackberry works for you, great. But me, I like the low-tech way.

    I have one of those big, MONTHLY calendars that you can buy for $25 at Staples, or $1 at the dollar store. 🙂 I put everything in BY HAND. I keep it where I spend most of my time – no, not the kitchen; no, not the laundry room but the VORTEX! Yup, in the computer room!

    Then I keep a little notepad in my purse. I’m always thinking of things and remembering things in the car or drinking offee with a friend or at the store. Whenever I think of something, I jot it down.

    That’s it.

  24. I want to be one of those moms too. Trouble is that I would venture to guess that THOSE moms are overrated, that is, assuming they even exist.

    Hang in there. 🙂 School is almost out!

  25. I second what Organized Junkie said. I’m organized but I have so many other inadequacies I couldn’t begin to count them.

    I wish I were more athletic (and I’m pretty sure everyone who has ever played volleyball or softball with me wishes I were more athletic).

    I wish I had had more children. God didn’t grant me anymore and maybe it’s because I couldn’t muster up to caring for more. Sad realization. Not saying that is true for EVERYONE, just speaking for me and my own inadequacies.

    I wish…. I wish, I wish….I wish you happy happy Tuesday my dear.

  26. I have found that a paper calendar vs. using a calendar on the computer works for me. I like having it front of me, being able to add or erase events and throw it in my purse. I also keep a little spiral bound notebook in my purse for lists or write things down so I don’t forget. I have to write everything down or I won’t remember it!!

  27. I don’t think THOSE mothers exist. Seriously. That’s what I keep telling myself. I think that we THINK they are out there, but they aren’t

    And I sound exactly like you. However, one thing that has helped me TREMENDOUSLY is the Palm Treo that the company provided for me. Now my calendar is online (where I sit most every day) but when I have to go to youth meetings, school meetings, etc I have it with me. Then I just sync it up and we’re good to go.

    It’s helped, but I’m far from being one of those moms. (Hello? This is the woman who COMPLETELY forgot about the science fair until Friday night… and they were due on Monday).

    Keep your chin up. She may be mad at you today but in the end, when she’s grown and gone with kids of her own, she’ll realize just how together you actually are. 😀

  28. I’m no one to give advice on this subject but I just wanted to say that we all struggle with this, no matter how organized we think we are. We have our good days and we have our bad ones. Some days we just disappoint our kids, plain and simple. You are an awesome mom and I’ve been reading for longer than a year so I know this to be true, don’t forget that!

  29. Hahaha–I had to see all the advice and tips because I need to mooch some of it for myself! Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are doing MORE things RIGHT than wrong I’m sure. Try the printed calendar and carry a copy in your bag. Make a list. I’m sure these ladies have great ideas–just don’t tackle too much change at once or it might be overwhelming.

    My biggest thing is being late. I have got to get better at that–and I feel bad that my daughter sees that example.

  30. You’re not alone…obviously! I don’t function well without a list which I can frequently reference. I’m always forgetting things. I really seek to improve in this area and God help me, I think I am, but I’ve stopped beating myself up about and keept trying to take proactive steps to stay on top of things as much as possible.

    Yesterday I completely forgot my 5 year olds swimming lesson!

    Pressin on!

  31. I’m with ya on this one. But really, you’ve got to take a macro view here. You’ve got three kids. And you manage quite a bit more on top of that. At the end of the day, your kids are healthy and fed. I’m assuming the house is still standing. Go easy on yourself. We’re all just trying to take it day by day — and there are plenty of days when I feel I’m holding things together by a thread. I don’t know if that’s any consolation, but you do have plenty of company in your boat.

  32. Nothing original to add. I agree with everyone else, don’t beat yourself up, sometimes good enough has to be OK (this was hard for me, I’m Type A all the way) and sometimes I’d much rather be “fun” mom.

    For all the one times we’ve let our families down, there are five times we’ve come through and often they don’t even realize it. You are a GREAT mom!

  33. No tips or advice from here either. My best friend and I have found a way to cope, though. We have started the “Slacker Mom” club. She even made me a license plate for the front of my van! I know I can never be one of THOSE moms, and I’m learning to be OK with that. I’ll just keep loving my kids and doing the best I can with God’s help. We’re all in the trenches together. Thank you for sharing your heart today.

  34. I think WE ALL struggle to be “one of those moms”. And I think at one time or another, we’ve all had successes and have been that mom. But it’s unrealistic to think that you can be that all of the time. Girl, sometimes I wonder why I can’t do all that you do. You’re working on blog designs, doing the personalized cards, the reviewsings site, playing bunco with the girls and holding down the fort — heck, even posting recipes for goodness sake.

    You ARE doing great! We all have those days when we let people down — it’s inevitable. And one day, your children will let you down — it’s inevitable. But, you’ll love them any way and they love you any way.

    Whatever happened, chances are, your daughter won’t remember in the days to come any way.

    Hold your head up girl — I think you’re AMAZING!

  35. As a student and a Mom I found that my previous “flying by the seat of my pants” was making me look unprofessional and on more than one occasion it was disappointing my child.

    Enter the Palm Treo with a calendar that a.)can be color coded for different children’s events; professional; personal appointments and b.)BEEPS in a non-annoying way to remind you and c.)is always with you because well, your cell phone is always with you.

    I honestly can’t tell you how it saved my life. Oh, and getting my hypothyroid self back to normal thyroid self helped a lot too.

    Go check out the Palm Centuro. Now Blackberry lovers are going to TRY to sway you to their dark side. But their dark side does not have the “color-coded, can tell in one glance where I have to be at any given day this month” feature. It’s a no-brainer.

  36. Also, wanted to add…don’t beat yourself up. My mom was rarely there for the little class parties and such. She HAD to work (single mom). No big deal. I am not medicated or in therapy today because of it. It taught me flexibility, a little toughness when needed and how to be wonderfully thankful when she was able to make it to some event. I think when we are at EVERY event at our kids school it creates a lot of unrealistic expectations…that the world is perfect and it revolves around our kids. NOT true.

  37. I’m not an organized person, but I’m learning. Balance is the key. Find a routine. Follow it and adjust it as needed. I had a routine that I followed until my third child was born. Then I adjusted it. I have a calendar I put all my appointments in. On Sunday night or monday morning I look at it and plan my week. I have a weekly chore planner and a monthly chore planner hanging on my refrigerator. Not every week is perfect, bur it seems to go better if I have a plan that I adjust as needed. Keep up the good work. You’re doing just fine. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Dining on a Dime Cookbook and website have some good tips for cleaning and cooking schedules.

  38. I’m an organized mom, and I agree with the person who said that all of us have weaknesses and sometimes we don’t see those in other people. Same with those people who have the “perfect” anything -marriage, house, whatever. It is as Dr. Phil says – we compare our private lives to other people’s public lives, and that’s just not fair to ourselves.

    I’m pretty organized out of necessity. The problem with that is that I tend to over commit because I see that CAN do it. This leaves very little time to play – which I recall you mention quite often the games you play with your kids. That is awesome! Sometimes I can be guilty of working through my “list” instead of just playing.

    That said, my biggest secret is prayer. I know that sounds all “spiritual” and everything, but it is true. Nothing like a good prayer time to get my priorities straight and figure out which issues are important.

    My other tools are an amazing book called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, and a program called Agendus that I love. I would be at the funny farm without either one.

    I’m sure your daughter will forgive you by bedtime! 🙂

  39. It doesn’t matter what kind of mommy you are; you never feel perfect and everyone makes mistakes.

    Whatever happened to make you feel this way – it’s okay. You are a human being and your child has seen this. It shows her that being human is acceptable and that perfection is not required.

    Someone already mentioned but I will repeat it because I think it’s good to hear. I am more organized than not, but I fear that I don’t enjoy my son or let fun opportunities go by because I’m so focused on the “organized” stuff.

    Just accept who you are – yes, a person who makes mistakes, but also a wonderful person who tries very hard to be the best mommy she knows how to be.


  40. Well, from the looks of all the comments – you are in excellent company! I am in agreement with just about everyone else. If THOSE moms really do exist, they are few and far between. Sure, it doesn’t make us feel any better, but at least knowing most other moms feel the same way has got to count for something! I wish I were one of those moms too! I RARELY feel like I’m put together at all! It’s definitely a daily stuggle. And you know what? Knowing that you – who I think (from reading your blog) is an excellent mom, feels just like I do? That makes me feel much more normal. So thank you for your honesty!

  41. Oh my goodness…this post and all the comments are proof that us mothers LOVE to put “Mommy Guilt” on ourselves and each other. Do you homeschool/not homeschool? Did you breastfeed/bottlefeed? Did you make a nutritious meal with two vegetables for your family every night this week??? Did you? Did YOU???

    What man goes around saying, “I wish I was one of ‘Those Men'”?? They usually don’t, they just do their thing and pretty much care less what other men are doing. We are WAY to hard on ourselves and love to gauge how we are doing as mothers based on what other mothers do or don’t do.

    If you have your day scheduled down to 15 minute increments, your house spotless, and always remember sunscreen and wippies, how much fun are you to be with (as Dr. Phil would say!)?? Were you so busy being perfect that you were grumpy to your kids on the way to having “fun”?

    There is ALWAYS going to be something we fall short on. I screw up EVERY DAY in some way or another. But I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I am only human and I do the best I can as a mom and I don’t let myself or anyone else beat me up about it.

    Jo-Lynn, the fact that you were sensitive enough to think of your daughters feelings today, that you made Strawberry Rhubarb Pie AND that you watch Barefoot Contessa…you are an AWESOME mother (and I haven’t even met you and I know this…)

    No more mother guilt, ladies! 😉

  42. Grace. Give yourself some grace.

    Moms have lots to keep track of, lots to take care of and we are just human.

    I have no advice in this department. I am forgetful, late all the time and have too much on my plate most days.

    Grace. I needs lots of grace.
    Thank goodness I know somewhere I can go to get it. 😉

  43. sorry no advice to offer. i just hope if and when you figure it out you’ll share. no matter what, or how hard i try, i’m always dropping at least one of “the balls”, if not several. i keep telling myself that one day it’ll get easier, but i know that’s a lie. i’m pretty positive it just gets harder.

  44. You are one of THOSE moms. One of THOSE that loves her children to the fullest and does the best she can. One of THOSE that isn’t perfect but doesn’t have to be. One of THOSE whose children love her back and feel so lucky to have her as a Mommy. You are one of THOSE and that is the best kind to be. : )

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