this is for her, and maybe you too

Here is a letter I wrote to a mom. She wrote: I am struggling severely with over-researching and planning as an excuse to not engage and just “do”. I have been beating myself up over it, feeling really stuck and burned out… It’s discouraging. Any advice how to stop the over planning madness? 

Dear Discouraged Mom,

First, let me just put my hand on your shoulder and say “thank you” for being honest and raw. It’s so hard to be vulnerable when things are cluttered in the brain. I know, I’ve been discouraged far too many times, and I consequently feel the urge to “hide” any evidence of failure so that I (and everyone I value) continue to believe that we have something “perfect” going on at our house. So, thank you for peeling a little of that false perfect off. It’s a good exercise for us all.

Second, to answer your request for advice on “how to stop the over planning madness”, Here are some suggestions:

  1.  I would take a screen fast. Sign out, log off, power down, and get some distance. For me, that looks like an hour of complete silence in the morning, or 10 minutes in my bedroom alone in the afternoon. Silence will work wonders for your brain! If you make this a habit, I would bet that over time you’ll see that clutter slowly clear up. Not all at once, heaven knows that all those good ideas can’t just disappear in a day. But giving your mind some consistent space and time to evaluate your own thoughts, ideas, dreams, etc. will empower you to make the excellent choice for your home, your children, and for YOU. Excellence is the goal – not perfection. Excellence is doing the best given the situation and resources; it allows grace. Perfection is bossy and says there’s only one right way to do it. No grace allowed.
  2. I would work on anchors. The things you have to do each day just to survive: eat, sleep, and hygiene. Knit reading, singing, and problem-solving into the fabric of your routine. And while you are doing this knitting, stop doing all the other “good things.” Put down the Instructors Guides and walk away. We sing in the morning when we have certain activities that call for us getting ready quickly like: “chomp, chomp; chore, chore; get out the door, get out the door.” That’s one of my kids’ favorite chants – our family’s anthem cry for early morning commitments that work against the grain of lazing around in pajamas all morning. It reminds us all that we are on the same team. Another one is we work through read alouds at lunch. We eat everyday, and we want to read everyday. But if we don’t knit the reading to something essential, sometimes it doesn’t happen.
  3. I would remove any and all thoughts of competition. This may not be something you wrestle with, but I have found it in myself that when I am looking for inspiration or ideas, I unwittingly start to compare and compete in order to feel competent. Hear me when I say, that is not where your competency comes from! No one can hand you their competency nor can they take yours from you. If you start to feel discouraged before you even begin, stop and regroup before seeking inspiration again. You may be surprised to find the inspiration is already inside of you – and just by giving yourself that silence I talked about 1st – the next right choice becomes clear.

You have my hand, friend. Let’s walk another mile together.



{This was my reply to a comment on the article I wrote for Simple Homeschool. See the original post here.}

sally clarkson God designed


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