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Are mothers “task delayers” if they choose to prioritize motherhood?

An unconventional time management reflection on motherhood

By Gabriela Trofin-TatárPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Are mothers “task delayers” if they choose to prioritize motherhood?
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Have you heard about task delayers and procrastinators?

They are not one and the same.

And what about task delayers in the area of motherhood?

What does motherhood really mean?

I read an article in The Washington Post about how 10 mothers define motherhood. I had to laugh out loud while being continuously interrupted by my own kids, which is a proven fact across all definitions. I only chose a few of the definitions and wrote down my ideas below each one.

Motherhood is perpetual failure at multi-tasking.

It’s the ultimate roller coaster of joy and sorrow, comfort and fear, love and hate, fast and slow, past and future. — Libby Chisholm Fearnley

Motherhood is indeed a marvelous and scary rollercoaster ride through all the feelings and the daily avalanche of small and bigger actions our kids need us for.

I don’t want her to remember fights over shoes, or empty threats I made in frustration, or the disappointments of being young. I want her to remember the feeling of pressing her back against my chest, or climbing into my lap, and, for a little bit, being totally protected. — Terri Rupar

I try to remind myself every single day:

What do I want my kids to remember me for?

The times I scream out of frustration? The times I cry because I could not sleep enough the night before? No.

By Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash

I want them to remember our cuddles and laughs over whatever stupid character in the cartoons or stories they are interested in. Currently, that's Skibidi toilet. Don’t ask. The songs are good, the actual poopy farty things they like …. well… They like all the things they find cool in school. If we show a bit of interest they start telling stories and talk with shiny lights in their eyes. It’s an amazing transformation in how they get excited to talk about what they like. This is a connection we form. I want them to remember that we had a connection.

She is a mother. She is vulnerable (just hurt her child, and you’ll see) and she is strong (just hurt her child, and you’ll see). She has been elevated (she is Mom) and she has been demeaned (she is just a mom). She is full (loving a child so completely will do that to you) and she is empty (loving a child so completely will do that to you). Who says she can’t have it all? She has everything. — Sharon Holbrook

Motherhood is so full of contradictions and fulfillment, so controversially exhausting yet overflowing with the oxytocin of happiness. It’s not a condition, and it shouldn't be a fixed state from which you cannot get out, like a closed box. Though, for many mothers, it feels like a trap.

Our society still helps with preserving the limiting beliefs transmitted over generations up to this modern age. As a mother, you need to really find out if the inner transformation you've gone through makes sense and helps you rise above your state as a mother and/or maybe that of a wife at the same time.

Can you go back to work or do you want to change careers?

Can you manage the household chores alone or together with your partner while raising kids and working full-time?

Can you have it all and still feel fulfilled as a mother?

By Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I’d like to tell you what motherhood means to me, except it’s challenging to sit at my desk while my pockets are full of rocks.

(…) My son finds these rocks and urges me to have them, slips them into my good purse, sweetens the deal with crumbling leaves, an array of sticks, wildflowers, the occasional cicada shell.

He gives me the world. Or tries to.

Maggie Downs

We are rock holders and the finders of missed socks or that special dinosaur t-shirt they love. We know what they need before they explain it, and we make sure they get their favorite snack after swimming practice. We know they need a hug at the randomest of times and they know when to give us a kiss because they love the taste or the colors on their plate.

Motherhood is like that one dream you had when you were 16 where you have this big test at school in history. You study for weeks about the American Revolution, but when you get to your chair you find out that the test was actually in math. So now you’re stuck trying to figure out the square root of an elephant multiplied by the weight of a neutron star and it isn’t until after the test is over that you find out the answer was Purple. –Malinda Ruzicka Carlson

Motherhood makes sense and then it doesn't. It feels like a test and then you suddenly get a prize, for being there for them when they need you most, for telling them “I see you, baby!”.

Do mothers manage time or is it the other way around?

By Brands&People on Unsplash

I was reading an article in The Atlantic, Why People Wait 10 Days to Do Something That Takes 10 Minutes, and a chord was struck. I found myself questioning if what I’m doing every day as a mother is delaying tasks or making choices between the multitude of chores and self-care opportunities.

Here’s where mom guilt comes in, too. I’d chuckle and cry at the same time if it wasn't true.

The theory on guilt and stress says that mothers may experience these feelings if they delay essential tasks related to their children’s well-being or their own self-care. This can be exacerbated if they feel they are not meeting societal or personal expectations of what a “good mother” should do.

By Jannes Jacobs on Unsplash

Societal expectations and cultural norms about motherhood can influence how we mothers approach tasks and responsibilities. Some societies may burden mothers with being responsible for all household and childcare duties, leading to potential delays in other areas of life.

Does it mean I am delaying tasks if I choose to prioritize motherhood? If I choose the time spent with my kids above the million house chores… does it make me less?

Imagine if I leave the dust to gather on the shelf and do not vacuum the crumbs under the table (they are always there no matter if I swipe them or not ). Instead, I chose to go outside and explore the forest with my boys. Does it mean we live in a pigsty?

My boys' wondrous discovery of nature together with their mom matters more than vacuuming the crumbs off the floor!

The theory

Time management theory for mothers says that mothers often have to balance a multitude of tasks and responsibilities. Taking care of their children is (supposedly!) at the top, then managing household chores, and potentially working a job, be it full-time or part-time.

In this context, “task delayers” could refer to individuals who struggle with time management, which could create challenges for mothers in juggling their various responsibilities.

On the flip side, “task delayers” might also be seen as mothers who, due to their many responsibilities, find it challenging to make time for themselves and their own tasks or self-care. They may delay or deprioritize their personal needs in favor of caring for their children.

While some mothers may struggle with task management or procrastination, others may excel in balancing their responsibilities effectively. Personal circumstances, support systems, and societal factors influence the relationship between these two concepts.

The reality of my motherhood

By Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I speak from my own perspective because I do not compare myself to others. After many books read and many therapy/therapeutic discussions I felt I've grown as a mother and as the person I am now.

I choose tasks that fulfill me and the needs of my children. I am flexible and I adapt to life situations as they arise. I cannot control everything and I am okay with it, though I had to learn this throughout the years.

If my endeavors and basic needs are fulfilled, then my glass overspills. Thus, I can give my family the support they need from me, while I remain sane and caring.

This is only possible with a support system that understands and helps me when I ask for help.

Motherhood is not about ticking all the boxes and it goes beyond time management. I feel it is a continuously changing flow, with plenty of breathing in and out, with a bit of zen and a bit of chaos, and a marvelous complexly built connection with my children.


***I originally published this story on Medium.***

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About the Creator

Gabriela Trofin-Tatár

Full Stack Developer in the making and mother of 3 littles. Curious, bookaholic and travel addict. I also write on Medium and Substack: &

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Comments (1)

  • Ainy Abraham3 months ago

    You are right..motherhood is not a simple relation. It has demands, sacrifices and above all ignoring tasks that hinder it's growth.

Gabriela Trofin-TatárWritten by Gabriela Trofin-Tatár

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