(The list at the bottom of this article will be updated over the next few weeks.)
Motherhood changed me. I knew it would. But knowing that something will happen and watching it happen are often two very different things.
In my pre-motherhood life, I had two careers. One was in the corporate world doing a variety of jobs nearly all of which had major “event management” components. My other career was in education. Unlike the regular classroom teacher, however, I was a Campus Minister. As Campus Minister, I had a heavy event schedule to manage with retreats for hundreds of students in K-12th grades, liturgies, convention hosting, major service projects, and vibrant Catholic school life. In both careers, I spent a large portion of every week moving people and coordinating details for major events. And, I loved it. Absolutely loved it.
Naturally, I was the young professional who had a Palm Pilot. As a teacher, I used a hybrid system of the early digital calendars and several paper calendars. Planning was something that gave me joy and satisfaction. And I was good at it.
Then I had a baby. Suddenly, there was nothing to schedule. Sure, there were some appointments, but for the most part, having a planner just made me sad. All the white space was a reminder of all that I had “given up” in order to do this mommy thing. A thing that I wasn’t naturally good at – babies are not my speciality.
As our family grew and homeschooling became a reality for us, I was again wishing to have and use a planner. Our homeschooling style, however, doesn’t lend itself to a highly structured calendar or planner system. So, for years I have missed the Planner Girl who doesn’t live here anymore.
And then… a funny thing happened. Just as my babies started to need less of me, my volunteer life started to explode. Living without a planner now is insane. There is no way that I can keep all of the promises I need to keep if I do not have a powerful set of tools to help me.
There are many ways to plan. In the last 12-18 months, I have spent hours on Jen Mackintosh’s website, Wildflowers and Marbles, studying her planning, her systems, her way of doing things. At first, I found it utterly overwhelming. The longer I studied, however, the more genius I saw in it all. Like her, I have many different and competing needs, and the only way for me to keep first things first is to be extraordinarily intentional about how I steward my time.
Last November I was done looking and studying, and I was ready to jump in. Jen blessed me with some things from Erin Condren to get started. I am not embarrassed at all about the squealing I did when that big beautiful box arrived. (If you are not an EC customer and would like to be one, you can sign up through this link and get a $10 credit for your first order – I get a credit too.)
Rather than write one unreadably long post, I have broken my systems down into a series of posts linked below. Nearly all of my ideas had their genesis in something or another that Jen has written about. If you find that you want more ideas to sift through, do go play on her site and follow her on Instagram.
Powersheets: What I Have, How I Used Them, What I Plan To Do In The Future
Living Life Planner
Liturgical Living Planner
Cathedral Book & Gift Planner