I like people. One of the best parts of my job is working with people from all ages and stages. I learn something new from a client almost every day! In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would point out some of the things I particularly love about working with Moms. If you are a Mom out there (in any form), my hat is off to you!
Moms make great clients because:
MOMS KNOW WHAT EVERYTHING IS
Moms are like a walking Google. No matter what we come across, they know everything about it: where it came from, whether it has a name (and what that name is), to whom it belongs, whether it needs to be put in a safe place, etc.
The amazing Moms I’ve worked with can do things like:
- Look at a tiny little object and immediately know that it is a broken piece to a favorite toy that needs to be saved
- Identify puzzle and board game pieces, and know whether the corresponding game is still in the house
- Delineate one child’s sock from another, even when they are the same size and color
- Distinguish a book that has been borrowed from one that is owned (including the ones that are owned but were bought at a library sale and still have the library tag on the spine)
- Recognize which dolls are loved and which aren’t from a basket full of naked ones
- Set apart the Lego creation that needs to be displayed vs. the one that can be taken apart
- Remember which hair bands/belts/pants/etc. will be tolerated (and hence used) as opposed to those that won’t
- Clarify which sunscreen can be used by which child
- Single out the toys that will be used as weapons, and therefore need special storage treatment
These are just a few of countless examples. When a Mom seems anxious about decluttering, I often reassure her that she needn’t worry. She knows what her children’s favorite things are, and it is unlikely that she will accidentally get rid of them.
MOMS WORK REALLY HARD
Moms are used to working hard. They are usually up early and moving rapidly through the day from one thing to another before they can crash into bed at night. Whether they work outside the home or not, they are busy! When I work with Moms, I know I will be focused and moving quickly for the entire session. We are going to be getting a lot done. Every second counts. After all, there is usually some child who needs to be picked up soon. Sometimes, Moms are so focused on finishing the project that I need to remind them to stop and have a sip of water or take a moment to go to the bathroom. J
Moms also tend to be very physically strong. They are used to hauling children up flights of stairs and lugging all kinds of kid paraphernalia around. Need a box of paper hauled up to the attic? Ask a Mom!
MOMS TELL GREAT STORIES
Actually, this is true for all of my clients. I love hearing client stories; they are always interesting, often educational, and enrich my life. What is special about Mom stories is that they tend to be funny.
There was the time a Mom walked into the laundry room to find her son up on the counter, pulling the iron out of the upper cabinet (hence, the security lock that is now in place).
Or the Mom whose child came running into the kitchen, pointing energetically at the paper towels (because she was too young to talk), and then running into the family room to “wash away” the permanent marker she drew all over the wooden coffee table.
Then there was the story of the little boy who wanted to open all of the kitchen cabinets and then lie down on the floor and just “think about” what everything looked like on the shelves.
Many Moms of teenagers have a story about the “aroma of Axe” all over the house or the heaps of freshly laundered clothing that pile up on the bedroom floor. [Note: I always recommend that the teen be required to at least keep a clear path from the bed to the door for safety reasons.]
Most of these stories arise from our discussion of what to put where, and how to ensure safety and respect while keeping the chaos under control. I love that Moms can tell stories of difficult, interruptive, expensive problems without malice. We just laugh and then design a customized system with these children in mind.
MOMS ARE SOFTIES AT HEART
Everyone struggles a bit when it comes to making decisions about sentimental items: gifts from a dear friend, things that belonged to a deceased relative, love letters, photographs, etc. Yet Moms seem to wrestle more than anyone when dealing with emotional objects. Moms perceive value in almost everything:
- A necklace made from dental floss and plastic beads? That must be kept.
- A scrap of paper on which a child drew a picture of Mom and a heart? Surely that should be hung up.
- The cast from when a child broke his arm at age 2? Yep, that’s a keeper!
- The “before braces” mold of a child’s teeth? He’ll want that someday, right?
I often tell my girls (now adults) that they will find few people who will care about every single little detail of their lives the way their Mom does. I love it all. I still want to know
- What was everyone was wearing?
- Did her feet hurt from wearing the high shoes?
- Was the music loud?
- What exactly did the professor say?
- How much did it cost?
… Moms thrive on these details.
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It is always a little risky to talk about Mother’s Day. Many people grow up without a Mom. Likewise, many women wish to be Moms, but aren’t able to fulfill this dream. My intent here is not to minimize the void that this holiday can exacerbate, but only to express thanks to the many Moms who have invited me in, shared their stories and offered me the privilege of bringing order to their lives.
What do you admire most about the Moms in your life?