Jenn left me a comment the other day:
I've been thinking a lot about the frog concept and would you agree that it's tricky for mothers? Isn't it more important for us to be in the moment and available to our children than thinking about accomplishments? But we should also be efficient as our time is so short. As you said, my frog is getting dinner on the table and sleeping. I am listening to the podcast again with my daughter now and having many thoughts. :) I wish we could discuss it together!I'd like to discuss it, too! So I thought I would extend an invitation to discuss in the combox. If you have read the book (or even if you haven't and you just want to discuss the concepts), please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know what other mothers think of this book.
In case you haven't read it, the basic idea of the book is that you can get more things done if you will simply do your most important task first, right away, instead of piddling away your time on less important tasks. (The title of the book is taken from a Mark Twain quote to the effect of, "If you eat a live frog every morning, nothing else you do that day will seem so bad." Yes, I'm paraphrasing, because I'm too lazy to go get the book and look it up.) On the one hand, this makes perfect sense, and his assertion that "you will never be able to do everything" is a comforting one, since there are days when I feel like I am literally suffocating beneath a to-do list which has no chance of ever being finished. On the other hand... Brian Tracy wrote this for people at work, so he assumes that you have a definitive start and end time for your work, and that you are focused on actual tasks with beginnings and ends. Mom-work, on the other hand, is much less definable (in my experience anyway.)
For instance, when I finished the book, I came out into the kitchen in the morning where my husband was making coffee and I said, "I finished that Frog book, but I can't figure out if I'm supposed to start eating frogs before or after breakfast. Can I have a cup of coffee first? Or a shower?"
It took him a minute or two to catch on to what I was talking about.
Anyway, in the time that has elapsed since beginning this post (lo, these many days ago), I've done some more thinking and reading, and I'm not sure I like the "frog" concept applied to motherhood at all. I mean, maybe if you could narrow it down to categories like housework or school and apply it that way, but you still run into the fact that motherhood is full of "interruptions", the type that can really be classified as such and more importantly, the type of "interruptions" that really aren't at all, that have everything to do with mothering, putting a band-aid on a scrape or reading a book to a two year old or walking a colicy baby back and forth, back and forth, across the kitchen for hours, or playing referee to two boys who are scuffling over their Lego army bases again.
And you know, this is the thing that gets me about a lot of organization and "getting it done" books in general. I recently also finished Sink Reflections by the Flylady, because I thought a book would be less overwhelming than the emails, which I unsubscribed to many years ago. I think this book is a lot more applicable than the Frog book to life at home, but trying to use all her systems with my large family has just never seemed to work. There's the timer-thing, for instance. Say I'm in the kitchen and I set the timer to work for fifteen minutes. As soon as the timer starts going, inevitably a kid will enter the kitchen starving or dying of thirst, attempt to pull a full gallon of milk off the top shelf of the refrigerator, and spill half of it all over the floor. Or I will, or something. (Last time it was a bottle of coconut aminos I knocked out of the pantry that hit the floor and shattered its cap.) After I deal with everything I need to deal with, there are even more dishes surrounding the sink that is supposed to be shiny and I'm at a negative five minutes as far as work accomplished. And don't even get me started on laundry.
I guess I'm thinking about this more right now because I'm trying to dig myself out of the first trimester mess, and I have a bunch of 9 and under boys who are making me pull my hair out as far as chores are concerned. And I think it's good to think about it. But I think the priority in the house has to be the people in it and not the systems. It's true that a clean house benefits everyone in it, but there are many times that time spent with a child is much more important than making a dent in the laundry pile... or cleaning out the garage... or phonics or math... or whatever it is you decide your frog of the day is.