The ultimate parenting hack, if I could pull it off, would be figuring out how to bring back my mojo. That sense of bigger-picture control over my life that I vaguely recall feeling before Kimmie was born.
In other words, the Ability To Get Things Done that I had before becoming a parent.
Memo to self: that sense of control was probably an illusion anyway.
And let’s face it, the self-styled Superwoman who worked, what, 60 hours a week didn’t have much of a life beyond the daily grind.
The Superwoman Illusion
No, that former self who dressed in grown-up clothes to go OUT to work (vs. snatching stolen minutes at my home-office desk, and in doctor’s-office waiting rooms, and in drop-off and pick-up lines) was NOT actually Superwoman.
Or so my psychologist friend Barbara reminded me last week, when I told her about this upcoming post.
No, I almost never accomplished everything on my to-do list in a given day. Or week. Or month, even.
But darn it all, I HAD a to-do list! Multiple lists, in fact. And ways to track what I’d done, when, and how long it had taken me. (And this being way back in the dark ages of the 1990s and 2000s, I did it all by hand.)
Moreover, I updated those lists like clockwork.
Nowadays, it’s (still!) all I can do to find time to shower.
Losing My Mojo
If you’re like so many of my mama friends, that sense of daily accomplishment came to a screeching halt right around when your firstborn arrived. (Though here’s a shout-out to Keisha’s husband, and stay-at-home dads everywhere.)
One day you’re gainfully employed. Then the economy bottoms out around the same time you start a family.
- You’re downsized out of your job.
- And/or it’s cheaper to stay at home than pay for childcare and keep working.
- And/or you relocate across an ocean or two to stay with the one you love. Then you learn that, as the trailing partner, getting a job in your new hometown is darn-near impossible.
Been there, done that. (Except for the moving-across-the-ocean part; in my case, it was just cross-country.)
Suddenly I found myself at home, with a newborn, grabbing a small notebook and writing myself daily to-do lists that went something like this:
- Eat x3
- Take a nap!!!
And there were plenty of days that I couldn’t even manage that much.
Fast-forward past the fog of the first two months, past the total dependence of the first year, past the long wait ’til preschool starts at age 2, past the even longer wait until the youngest is out of diapers.
And I realize that most days, I still can’t seem to find time to make a decent to-do list. I stumble from one fire to the next, putting them out as they pop up, with no sense of long-term goal-planning or project management.
The daily lists in those little notebooks eventually morphed into weekly “to-do” lists. Joy was crossing off each batch of laundry washed/folded/put away (hey, that counts as three separate tasks!), because that meant I was accomplishing something.
Let’s face it, my overstuffed pre-mama work weeks are gone forever. (And that’s fine.) But I’ve yet to find a system that works for my new reality.
I’ve tried plenty of electronic organizational apps, project management systems, and list tabulators. So far, none has stuck.
What is BuJo?
Then I saw an invite on my local mommies listserv, for a workshop on bullet journaling:
Intriguing. And it’s Saturday afternoon: I’ve got child care!
I love that its creator, Ryder Carroll, bills Bullet Journaling as “the analog system for the digital age.” (I also love that he invented the system in part to help him manage his life as someone with a learning disability.)
So I signed up for the workshop. (And got myself an inexpensive starter grid notebook.)
And read up on how people use Bullet Journaling for life-management. From exercise logs and menu-planning, to the twenty urgent tasks they HAVE to accomplish in the next week.
I especially like that BuJo revolves around taking notes, tracking to-do’s, and managing the constant inundation of new info in a way that’s short and quick. Or so it claims.
So, Will BuJo Bring Back My Mojo?
Barbara’s right. There is no magic bullet that will restore my pre-parenthood illusion of having it all together. Or help me keep our living space under control. (And she’s also right that keeping an immaculate house has never been either my strong suit, or #1 on my priority list.)
So far, I’m only a few days into Life On BuJo. And you’re supposed to give the system a good two months before deciding whether or not it’s for you.
But if this hack helps to bring back my mojo -- that is, makes a noticeable difference in my ability to
- get things done,
- keep my life (and home!) organized, and
- feel as if things are NOT constantly spinning out of control,
-- then I’ll be sure to let you know!
Want to learn how the experiment turned out? Read my follow-up post, or learn step-by-step how to start your own bullet journal!