My Basic Motherhood Plan

By September 19, 2011Get Inspired

My house was messy. The was sink full of dishes. My email inbox was exploding. So, I went to a cozy restaurant to discuss the nuances and hidden themes of the Boxcar Children series.

The Pareto Principle

There is an economic principle that states that 20 percent of the effort results in 80 percent of the result. This principle is often referred to in business, productivity and management.

I’m going to introduce it to motherhood.

As mothers, we have a lot on our plates, many things we could or should be doing. But only 20% of those things will bring us the 80% of results we’re looking for. In my case, clearing my inbox, washing dishes or tidying my house wasn’t going to deepen my relationship with my children. Yes, these chores were screaming at me to be done, but the urgent things are rarely the important ones.

Instead, I took my 9 year old and we had our inaugural Mommy/Daughter book club. Just the two of us. We talked about the book we’d read. Choices the characters made. Our favorite parts of the book. We laughed, took pictures of ourselves and ate yummy bagels.

My Plan

Imagine a dartboard. A target in the middle with a couple larger circles around it. My kids are the target. The next circle is all the “things” I do for my kids. Cook, clean, chauffer etc. The largest circle is reading parenting books and learning about being a mom. Hitting any one of those circles will earn me “mommy” points. But focusing on the target will bring me most of my results.

So my motherhood plan is to hit the target as often as possible. To run around my children less and run to them more.

Listen. Look them in the eye. Get on the floor. Read Boxcar Children books.

Speaking of which, I’d better go. Next bookclub meeting is Saturday.

What is one 20% thing you can do with your child today?

Leave a Comment



  • Tiffany says:

    I love the idea of Mommy/Daughter book club. I can’t wait until my son is old enough to do something like that. I also love the analogy of the target. What a great thought. I find myself often missing the target and doing the urgent instead of the important. I pray the Lord helps me to focus more on creating memories with my children.

  • Tasha says:

    I love the target analogy as well! I think I might actually draw it out and hang it up over my desk, haha. Thank you for the encouragement, Kat!!

  • Fantastic analogy with the target. Sometimes, we are so busy doing things for our kids and family, that we forget to actually be WITH them. That’s truly where it matters most. And when you are with them, BE WITH THEM. Don’t be checking your phone or thinking about other things you should be doing. Participate in those moments 100% because your kids will notice and appreciate it!

  • Ah, this is been on my mind lately too. We’ve gotten a little out of whack with the start of school and the fall weather kicking us into fall farm chores…and on and on. But I’ve decided that teaching her to cook is my main focus for practical homemaking with my girl for the year (she’s 7) and we’ve kicked the boys out of the kitchen and made dinner just the two of us a couple times now and it was just…wonderful. Magical. Precious. My 20% will be NOT multitasking all through dinner prep (throwing in laundry, straightening counters, sorting mail), but just. doing. dinner. with. her.

  • I love you, Kat. What a perfect picture.

    When Lydia starts reading can we do the bookclub with you? 😉

  • Tiffany Brown says:

    Finish building our Chuggington city 🙂 I was so busy this weekend I kept promising him I would do it and I haven’t 🙁 So you know tonight everything will take a back sit 🙂 We have a date. Thank you for this I needed to hear this today.

  • Lisa Grace says:

    Thank you so much for this great visual image … I’m going to doodle up a dart board of my own today 🙂

  • Kayse says:

    What an insightful post! I love the mommy/daughter book club idea too. So special!!!

    After reading this I am challenged to also apply this principle to my marriage. With babies and laundry and dinner and dishes I struggle with doing more FOR my hubby than WITH him. Thank you!

  • I love this idea!! Now that my daughter is reading, I’m definitely going to start doing this. What a great post and a reminder of what is truly important in our day to day!

  • Dawn says:

    Thanks for sharing this today. It is so true! It is our presence in their lives that they will remember!

  • katitav says:

    Your post really hits home! “The urgent isn’t always the most important”- that really resonated with me. We spend each night before bed snuggled up reading books and THAT is the most fulfilling moment of the day for everyone. Today I am going to also carve out some time and go for a walk around the neighborhood with the kiddos.

  • Gina says:

    You picked the right name for your blog for sure! 🙂 I am always inspired when I read. I subscribe through email but, I had to click right over and comment. God has been speaking this same thing to me. I feel like every so often I need to reevaluate and make sure that what I am focusing on is really the important stuff. I love your book club idea. Question…do you both read a book separately and then discuss it or are you reading it together? Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

  • Kim says:

    Awesome idea! I need to remember that because I’m working on not being a “perfectionist.” I’ve come a long way, and spending time with family is the target!

  • Darla says:

    Ohh yes great analogy!! Courtney at also had a great analogy about lingering with God!! I do think word pictures help us so much (at least me i am a visual learner) Thanks for your blog Kat! i have been following for about a year & half now & it has helped me to maximize & i am participating in the support group for the first time this session! May God richly bless you & your family
    ps bought 3rd world symphony on itunes last night and listened to it during my quiet time! 🙂

  • Camille says:

    My bathrooms need cleaning, the house is a disaster area … But I am at the pool with my kids enjoying the last days of summer! Thanks for the reminder that I am exactly where I should be.

  • Archer says:

    I really love this mommy-daughter book club idea! What a great way to nurture both a love of reading and an important relationship!

  • Chas says:

    I really love this post! My little girl is only 4 months old, but I’ve been trying to focus on HER when she’s awake, rather than having her watch me do my personal errands or house chores. The dishes and laundry will ALWAYS be there…she won’t remember that it got done, but she will remember when we sang, played and read Bible stories together.

  • melanie says:

    How do you do that? Make wisdom sound so practical? I’ve been trying to explain why the constant cleaning maintenance seems so unnecessary in light of all the other things – and now you’ve given me the “Pareto Principal” to communicate it more effectively. And it sounds like someone needs to create a printable target template. Just sayin’…

  • Polly says:

    I love, love, love this target concept.

    And for once, I have done the cool thing before I read it in a blog…I taught my girls how to “hand sew” this weekend. I was worn out, had a headache, the other kids were clamoring, but I had promised them the day before that I would do it, and by golly, with the Lord’s strength, we were able to have some time to settle in and learn a really cool life skill while having fun at the same time.

    Thanks for the very helpful visual!

  • Lisa Fischer says:

    Ditto on all previous comments so I’ll humbly offer my 20% for today. I got on the floor and played jenga with my son… and I smiled at him and looked him in the eyes when he spoke to me… and I bent over to hear his little voice… and we took time to snuggle (surrounded by clutter on all sides of the couch)… and I tickled him and his contagious laugh filled my heart to overflowing. And when his sister gets home from school, I’ll apply what I learned today about 20%.

  • Lynn says:

    I just teared up. I’m rushing cleaning my inbox while going through my to-do list in the back of my mind. My list isn’t shrinking any . . . I was feeling overwhelmed and even a little grouchy. Thank you for this post. Your words hit this target. I got it. Thanks! 🙂 I gotta go snuggle with my kids now. God bless you! Thank you!

  • Courtney says:

    I finished reading, and literally said out loud, “Well that is just stinkin’ awesome.” I mean really – wow. You just made a bunch of people (including me) better moms. Thank you.

  • Diane says:

    I love the idea of “running around my children less and running to them more”! Thank you for this!

  • Shannon says:

    Wow oh how true!! you hit the nail on the head ….To run around my children less and run to them more. Oh how I love that phrase. I have left a huge pile of laundry and dishes today but I played and enjoyed my boys……that stuff always waits. Thanks for the confirmation 🙂

  • Rachael says:

    You’re awesome Kat. Just what I needed to hear this morning.

  • Sharon says:

    I so needed to hear this (and put this into action)! My house is a disaster area and I feel like if I could just make a place for each thing and teach my toddler to put things back in their place, life would be grand. But, honestly, she’d rather me play with her, than show her how to organize things!

  • Donna says:

    This is a great post. I love to read and look forward to having a book club with my daughter (she’s almost three). We already read books together, but it will be awesome when she can share her ideas about what she reads as well.

    I also love the analogy of the dart board and focusing in on the most important things. I struggle everyday with concentrating too much on the maintenance of life (chores, errands, etc) and not enough on the enjoyment of it.

  • Sally Thompson says:

    Good parenting is really a very important of us mom.. You sure know how to handle you child! Thanks for a great post..

  • […] My Basic Motherhood Plan {Inspired to Action} […]

  • Yelena says:

    Wow! You are sooo right! In fact profound!

  • Gretchen says:

    Kat! I’m fairly new to your blog, and am loving it. I’m a mom of four kiddos from 12 to 3 and the stuff really piles up! Thanks for the reminder. My mom was a “spend time with the kids, the stuff will always be around” kind of mom for which I’m terribly grateful. This was an exceptional post with an important message!
    (Also, our family is very book-focused and I was curious if you and your daughter read the book separately or out loud together before book club meetings…thanks once more for the post!!)

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  • Amy says:

    My daughter is 17years old, and it’s easy to just let school and the stress of college applications take over, but tonight we ventured on a journey that we are both excited about…we’re taking Greek language lessons together! This is something that will bind us together for years to come, and focuses on something very important…our heritage. I’m glad we decided that this is as much of a priority, if not more, than homework!