• Alana Stern

"If I'm saying yes to this, what am I saying no to? "



There are a lot of benefits to being a WAHM (Work At Home Mom). I personally love that I don’t have to pack up a lunch for myself. I like saving on travel time and being able to put on a load of laundry during my coffee break. And for me, nothing helps my effectiveness and creativity more that the sweet melodious sound of silence.

However, all that is lost to us WAHMs as the dreaded summer descends and our daily routines are kicked out the window by fighting siblings (why are they home from camp so early?), hungry teens (why do they forget how to use the stove when school stops?), planning of day trips and later bedtimes. Here in Israel, the “hofesh hagadol” (the great vacation) is dubbed by moms nationwide as the “onesh hagadol” (the great punishment). Don’t get me wrong, I do love not having to rush in the mornings, lazy afternoons by the pool and beach, flexible bedtimes and quality catch-up time with my kids; but working from home has its own challenges for self-management. The summer challenge is just the cherry on the top.

There's been a lot of talk lately on some of the FB groups I'm on, as to why so many people with ADHD are entrepreneurs. Typical ADHD traits like creativity, risk-taking and hyper-focus can really help a small business to thrive. With these strengths also come challenges- procrastination, disorganization and forgetfulness. However, the unique combination of these strengths and weaknesses might just be the right combination for successful entrepreneurship. Either way, in this age of endless information, interruptions, work, decisions and physical stuff; self-management can be challenging for anyone.

For this blogpost, I began researching tips on how to survive the summer as a WAHM:

  • Get up an hour before your kids and meditate/pray/strategize your day (OK for me that’s like 5am)

  • Batch cook meals (oh the planning involved in that!)

  • Create a summer schedule for the kids that includes chore time, summer school work and constructive free time (yeah, that will go down well).

  • Take your laptop to the park, pool, beach (where’s the quality kid time in that one?)

I felt overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it. I realized that something’s gotta give. It’s not just ADHDers who suffer from perfectionism. But perfectionism is a myth and I realized I can’t have my cake and eat it too. Ooh, did someone say cake? That would go really well with my coffee about now. And it has eggs(protein), flour (carbs) and sugar (isn’t sugar cane a vegetable?) so that’s a healthy breakfast for the kids right there!

We want it all – the perfect business, the perfectly run home, perfect kids; but perfect ain’t ever happened and ain’t ever gonna happen. Thinking about ditching perfectionism reminded me of this great coaching question from the book The Coaching Habit:

If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?

As the author writes: “It’s all too easy to shove another Yes into the bag of our over-committed lives, hoping that in a Harry Potter magical sort of way it will somehow all be accommodated.”

So ask yourself these questions from the book:

Projects

  • What projects do you need to abandon or postpone?

  • What meetings will you no longer attend?

  • What resources do you need to divert to the Yes?

People

  • What expectations do you need to manage?

  • What relationships will you [put on hold]?

Patterns

  • What habits do you need to break [or temporarily change]?

  • What old stories or dated ambitions do you need to update?

  • What beliefs [and expectations] about yourself do you need to [temporarily] let go of?

For me it’s like this: If I want to keep coaching, teaching and marketing in the summer (my yes), I will lower my summer household standards (my no). What does that translate to in reality? (Don’t forget this important final step when you’re thinking yours’ through). It translates to minimum standards of:

  • kitchen counters clear before bed

  • dishes in sink or dishwasher before bed

  • toys, books and shoes out of the lounge before kids bedtime.

If I want quality time with my kids in the summer (my yes), it translates to me letting that vile luminous orange Wacky Mac into my home once a week (no to no processed dinners). For 8 weeks and that’s it!

And if your business is one that needs extra attention during the summer months (your yes), because that’s when it thrives; ask yourself this: What can I temporarily let go of (your no)?

Wishing you all a summer full of effectiveness, fun and restoration.


Resources:


Stanier, Michael Bungay. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever (p. 166). Box of Crayons Press.


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