How I’m Beating Compulsive-Project-Starteritis and Yes Girl Syndrome

Can I fill y’all in on something? I love to start projects. I don’t know what it is–but if there’s a 14-day or 30-day challenge for something, I’m all over it. And it’s not just defined time projects, I love the challenge of starting just about anything. Redecorating a room one month, learning to play guitar the next month or organizing all our digital photos. I love the competitiveness and newness of it all.

Oh, and something else you should know…I find it very hard to say, “no.” Even when I really, really want to say no or know there’s no way in the world I have the time or resources to take on a commitment, I’ll likely still say, “yes.” I don’t know when I started becoming the yes girl, but I just can’t stand the thought of disappointing, letting someone down or not being able to show I can do whatever it is that needs to be done–you know, superwoman style.

These “issues” might not be so bad except for one problem. I’m not equally as enthusiastic about completing things (unless it’s work related, of course). Case in point, I had grand visions for my baby girl’s nursery. She’s three now, and it’s still not completed. I have unused fabric for curtains I wanted to make for the kids’ playroom. My 40 before Forty list that I’ve barely touched. Partially used Spanish workbooks from when I dreamed of being bilingual. I could go on and on, but why depress myself?

The point is that I’ve found a new tool in my tool box for beating this deficiency, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. As moms, I’m guessing some of you too might have compulsive-project-starteritis or yes girl syndrome.

Whatever the case may be, we’re going to shake things up slow with just a few baby steps to start off with…

1. Make a list of some of the things you’ve left undone or should have said no to.

Don’t go overboard. Again, the trick is not to depress ourselves before we get started. The point here is to look for trends and patterns in the types of commitments we’re not excited about fulfilling or projects that never get finished.

2. Identify reasons why these projects, tasks or whatever weren’t the right fit or anything you gave up by taking them on.

Before you get started, I have to give you one rule for completing this task. Don’t let “time” be one of your reasons. Let’s keep it real, we all know that we will find a way to make time for the things we really want to do. So dig deep and really think about what happened. Maybe you took on something you weren’t really interested in or perfectionism crept in. Perhaps you didn’t have the money to complete a project or you were afraid of failing.

3. Review  your list again.

Have you felt guilty or burdened for not completing anything on your list? Do any of these items continue to haunt or taunt you? Does not completing any of these items make you feel less than? If so, extend yourself a big heaping dose of grace and forgiveness right now. I’m serious. Don’t move on to the next step until you’ve done this.

4. Take your list, crumble it up and toss it in the trash or burn it.

This is all about new beginnings. As Elsa would say, “Let it go.”

5. Make a promise.

Write this down or start repeating it over and over: “Before adding anything new, I will make space by getting rid of something first.” And don’t think this just applies to buying new clothes to put in your closet. Apply this new mindset to everything–whether it’s starting new projects, buying new books to read, joining a 30-day challenge or volunteering for an event.

6. Stay tuned next week for our next steps.

Library Lion and Other Go-to Books for Kids (and Kids at Heart)

This post feels a little strange to write considering my daughter is a teenager. However, as this year has been a bit of a struggle for us, we’ve realized something…

No matter how old you are, sometimes you still need someone to read to you. Out loud. Because there’s nothing like hearing your favorite book when you’re feeling low.

We own our two all-time favorites—Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes—so they’re easy to find when we need them. But, as we reminisced about other favorites we used to read when she was younger, we decided it was time to make a trip to the library…to the children’s section.

We went on a weekend when it wasn’t busy and we could take our time going down memory lane. I think she was slightly embarrassed when I asked the librarian for help remembering titles and authors, but she smiled when we found them and brought them home.

Here are five of our favorite go-to books…

Library Lion

by Michelle Knudsen

Library LionWe love this book. It’s the story of a lion that comes to the library and is allowed to hang out there as long as he follows the rules. The way it reads is calming and the story has a wonderful message about friendship, looking out for one another, and reminds us that sometimes there is a reason to break the rules. And honestly, how cool would it be for a big friendly lion to hang out at the library!?!



by Kevin Henkes


Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name, until she starts school and other girls (mice) make fun of her and her name. Chrysanthemum’s perspective is completely changed by what others say, until they meet their admired music teacher …with a name as different as Chrysanthemum’s. Suddenly, everything looks brighter, and the mice learn that different isn’t bad. The cadence of the text is calming and reassuring, and the message is encouraging in real life situations.


The Butter Battle Book

by Dr. Seuss

Butter BattleAlmost anything by Dr. Seuss is fun to read, but The Butter Battle Book is one of my daughter’s favorites. It’s the story of the Yooks on one side of the wall, and the Zooks who live on the other side of the wall. What divides them—what they can’t agree on—what they’ll go to war over…is how to eat their bread—butter side up or butter side down. Sounds silly, and yet so many of Dr. Seuss’ books echo society. He just makes it more fun to think about.


Officer Buckle and Gloria

by Peggy Rathmann

Officer Buckle

Officer Buckle is the police officer who gives boring safety tip speeches at the schools. When the police department adds Gloria, the police dog, to the force, she steals the show. The children love her, but Officer Buckle has some trouble learning to work as a team and share the spotlight. This book is just plain fun to read and has a good message about working with a buddy.


Owl Babies

by Martin Waddell

Owl BabiesThis one is a favorite because of the soothing cadence of the text, and the cute story about three little owls waiting for their mommy to return home. It’s short and simple, and yet the copy of the book from the library is beat up and taped together, so obviously we’re not the only ones who enjoy it.



What children’s books are on your go-to list? Would you share your favorite in the comments? I know I’m not up on the most recent picture books, so maybe it’s time to try some new ones…no matter how old my teenager is.


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