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          Advice for Overscheduled Moms

          October 28, 2003

          Are you stressed out, sleep deprived and exhausted from your overwhelming schedule? Dr. Phil believes that parents need to take care of themselves first, in order to be able to take care of others, and offers this advice:

          Acknowledge your role.
          Stop playing the victim. How much of your current situation have you created? Are you the sole architect of your hectic, overscheduled life?

          Ask yourself why you’ve created this.
          What are you trying to prove? Are you trying to prove to yourself or to the world that you are a supermom? Are you running from something? Are you trying to stay so busy that you don’t have time to think about something that is deeply troubling you?

          Change your definition of what a “good mother” is.
          A good mother isn’t necessarily the person who gets the most activities done in the least amount of time. Many moms get overscheduled because they feel they have to be the most efficient, most giving, most sacrificing, highest achieving, “best” mother they can possibly be. Perhaps if you asked your children to define “best mom,” they would use words like available, accessible, relaxed, loving and caring.

          Learn to delegate.
          You are not a failure as a wife, mother, or employee if you delegate. This includes delegating to your husband and children.

          Learn to let go.
          After you delegate a task, you must learn to let go of it. That means not monitoring it, hovering over the person you delegated to and inspecting the job afterward.

          Ask yourself "What if?"
          Go ahead and ask yourself questions like, "What if I delegated the laundry, and it didn't get done 100 percent the way I do it? What if it only got done 80 percent up to my standard? Would the world cave in?" Now answer the questions.

          Let go of the guilt.
          Realize that you cannot be all things to all people. You are not a bad, selfish person if you can't do it all.

          Understand that schedules don't solve the problem.
          If you have attempted to ease the chaos in your life by creating a highly detailed and concise schedule, you're probably wondering why it hasn't helped. Your life is still hectic because you haven't eliminated the chaos, you've just ordered it. Maybe you need to cross some things off your schedule.

          Look at your child's schedule.
          If you've overscheduled your children, ask yourself why. Could you feel guilty for not being there? Do you justify keeping them busy with classes, sports, etc., because you're not there? What would be wrong with letting your child chill out?

          Learn to say no.
          The world will take what you give. As long as you keep giving and giving and refusing to say no, others will keep taking and taking. People do what works, and you teach people how to treat you. Saying no when it's appropriate does not make you an evil person. Keep in mind that when you say yes to something that you have no time to do outside of the home, you are essentially saying no to your child.

          Make time for yourself.
          If you take care of yourself first, you can ensure that you will be mentally, physically and emotionally there for your family.

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