Much has been written about the ‘invisible load’ that Moms carry.
Moms tend to do household work that goes largely unnoticed and unacknowledged.
Tasks like keeping track of dentist and doctor appointments for the entire family. Making sure your kids call Grandma on her birthday and Grandparents Day. Juggling work and sports schedules. Remembering shoe sizes, friends and family birthdays, school spirit days. Remembering which practice uniform is supposed to be worn to practice on Tuesdays. Mentally keeping track of time and reminding your kids for the third time that they need to get ready for practice now.
Unfortunately all this invisible labor and mental load is exhausting for moms, even when you’re organized.
So Mom – let’s be honest.
- Do your kids wait until the last minute to get ready for practice and games?
- Have you turned the car around because someone forgot a piece of equipment minutes before you arrive at the field?
- Are your weeknights chaotic,and your weekend mornings stressful?
- Do you think your kids are at the age where they could stand to take on more responsibility?
- Are you tired, frustrated, or stressed out with everything you need to do to keep your sports family running?
- Does your brain spin with the invisible load of remembering to do all.the.things?
My guess is that at least one of the above statements applies to you.
You’re probably exhausted by the mental load that you carry.
So, as Moms, what can we do about this?
The answer may surprise you.
A documented process is an efficient process. A checklist is simply a documented process, broken into little bite size tasks.
I’ve been using checklists in my own family for years. When my kids first got into sports and I was not only balancing my corporate day job but also my first business, I needed to find ways to keep myself organized.
My inspiration to use checklists comes from my time in the Navy, as well as many years of corporate project management experience in LEAN, Six Sigma, and other project management principles. In both the Navy as well as in corporate environments, standardizing work leads to efficiency as well as consistent results.
We have used checklists to great success in our own household. We’re a busy family, and we usually have commitments 6-7 days a week. By implementing checklists, our children not only feel like they contribute to our household (which they do), but they are creating routines that will help make them responsible adults.
Tips for Using Checklists
- After printing out the checklists you want to use, laminate the checklist or stick it in a plastic cover. These are the plastic sheet protectors I use for most of our checklists.
- You can also pop the checklist in an 8.5 X 12 inch picture frame and mount it on the wall or prop it next to the place where the task will be performed.
- Keep a dry erase marker near the checklist so you or your kids can ‘check off’ each task.
- When introducing a checklist to your kid, demonstrate how to perform the task. For instance, if your kid has never operated the washer or dryer I definitely recommend a run through the first time! You may need to demonstrate or supervise several times before they’re ready to perform the task on their own.
- Step back and let them perform the task, even if it’s not perfectly executed.
- Be sure to thank your kid when they have completed a checklist!