On three separate occasions, three different women asked me to help solve a problem they were experiencing at home. I’m curious . . .
If these were your friends, what advice would you have given?
When Sofia became less than thrilled with her local public schools, she decided to switch to homeschooling. She researched curricula, gathered materials, and transformed her dining room into a classroom. On the first day of school, she was excited to get started!
Unfortunately, her kids, still stuck in summer-mode, were very reluctant to get out of bed. When she woke her son up for the third time, he said, “But Mom, can’t we start whenever we want to? It’s just homeschool.”
What could Sophia do?
Providing home-cooked dinners for her family has always been a bit of a struggle for Tracy. Unfortunately, the downstairs renovations have made cooking healthy seem almost impossible.
After the third night in a row of take-out, staring at another two weeks of construction, she was worried that the whole family was doomed to eat horribly during the entire renovation.
What could Tracy do?
Kayla knew that inviting her cousins (a family of five) to stay with her for two weeks would make the house a little crazy. She was prepared to cope with the sleeping bags, suitcases, clothes, and shoes that would inevitably fill up the house. What she wasn’t prepared for were the toys.
She wanted her kids to have fun with their cousins, of course, but all the hard earned tidy-up habits seemed to disappear once the family arrived. Legos, dolls, beads, and a thousand other tiny toys were scattered everywhere and she couldn’t possibly clean it all herself.
What could Kayla do?
Was it too late?
Each of these women eventually asked for my help. Thankfully, I was able to give them some helpful suggestions, but I did feel as if my hands were somewhat tied.
- Tracy’s kitchen was already under construction, so her cooking options were limited.
- Sofia was already busy taking care of her houseguests, she barely had time to talk to me, let alone to solve the toy problem.
- Sophia’s children had already developed the attitude that homeschool isn’t “real” school and she was scrambling to keep up with the curriculum.
- More significantly, they were already feeling frustrated, tired, and even inadequate.
During our conversations, each woman made a strikingly similar comment:
“I wish I had figured this out beforehand.”
If they had anticipated the problem beforehand, there would have been multiple solutions to choose from and time to put them into action!
Sofia could have . . .
- Had a conversation with her kids about the homeschooling routine.
- Made a poster of the daily schedule.
- Scheduled alarm clocks to act as a “school-bell.”
- Practiced with the kids.
- Set up a rewards system with prizes for following the routine all week.
Kayla could have . . .
- Boxed up the most obnoxious toys, the ones that are hardest to clean up, and hid them temporarily.
- Provided one basket for each visiting kiddo as a holding spot for their personal items.
Tracy could have . . .
- Prepared a bunch of freeze and reheat meals.
- Subscribed to a meal-prep service temporarily.
- Set up a little “camping kitchen” in another room.
There is only one thing that is difficult about solving a problem beforehand: Realizing there will be a problem.
Reading these three stories, you may find yourself wondering, “Why didn’t she take the time to prepare ahead?” Personally, I am often too wrapped up in the frustrations of today to bother with the potential frustrations of the future.
It takes an extra jolt of intentionality to anticipate the future. We have to pause and ask, “What is coming up in my family’s life that could cause frustration? Is there anything I can do now to solve that problem before it begins?”
It takes another jolt of intentionality to work the solution early. It’s not easy, especially for us busy moms. But if you give it a try, even if you only solve a tiny problem early, you will feel the giant return on your investment!
In fact, as I write this article, I am in the middle of solving my own future problems!
Home On Purpose Podcast Episode #9
In this episode I share all about the giant transition coming up in my own life, how I am predicting the bumps in my road ahead, and what I am doing to solve a bunch of problems before they begin.
Guide to a Smooth School Year
Do you have school-aged children at home? The Guide to a Smooth School Year helps you anticipate the most common trouble-spots in a typical school year, and gives you tools and strategies to smooth out the road ahead.
Click below to learn more!