I Put My Mom in My Calendar

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Steven Covey

When I was 21, I said to my mom “Mom, get ready. I know you’ve kind of grown attached to me, but I will be moving out soon.”

“Son, you are never leaving.”

Eventually, at 25 I moved out. It was awesome! I had my own space. I moved in with my girlfriend. There were different kinds of responsibilities but it was great. However, with great freedom, came a parent that I kept forgetting to call.

I’d be walking around on a random day and remember that I hadn’t talked to my mom in a couple of days, so I would call. “Hey Mom. How’s it going? How are you?”

My excitement would immediately vanish when her response was inevitable, “Did I fail you as a mother? Maybe I didn’t give you enough love. Maybe I gave you too much love. Because apparently, my son doesn’t remember me!”

“Mom, what do you mean?”

“Two months! It has been two months since you last called me.”

Inevitably, I would be shocked. It didn’t feel like two months. There was so much going on in my life. I was running a business. Things would become overwhelming and calling my mom would slip through the cracks. So many things slipped through the cracks, but my mom never let me forget it. This went on for a couple of years. I would think it had been a couple of days since I had last called my mom and it was always at least a month or maybe even two.

Finally, I found a solution. And so on one Thursday, I called her. “Mom, I have a great idea. Here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna pick a day once a week and I’m gonna put you in my calendar to make sure I don’t forget and to make sure I commit time for you. No one will interrupt that time.” I thought it was a brilliant solution and would be well received. I was so wrong.

Her response was an icy, “What?…. Listen, your mother is above your calendar. Your mother is above everything. How do you forget your mother? What do you mean? Maybe I should go call your assistant, should I go through an assistant to see my own son?”

It ended up being one of the top 10 arguments we’ve ever had. In fact, it was so bad, she stopped talking to me for two months. Even when I would ask my brother how mom was doing his reply was “I’m not supposed to talk to you about her or else I will also get shut out.” She was furious.

Let’s fast forward to July 2022. My mom and I now talk every Saturday. It is in my calendar. And so I was talking to her on Saturday and said, “Mom, your birthday’s coming up, what do you want to do?”  She said she wanted to spend the day with me, go for a walk, go somewhere on the train and just spend a whole day with her son. I looked at my calendar. I knew I needed about 10 hours. So with some hesitancy, I said, “This is gonna take a little time. I can meet you in three weeks, but it’s gonna be after your birthday.”

I was expecting her to snap at me about not making time for her, but all I saw on the video call was her running and then her hand disappeared. “Mom, what are you doing?”

She was smiling and said “I’m putting it in my calendar. I’m not gonna miss this. Let’s go.”

I started laughing and she looked confused because she thought I was laughing at her. But I explained to her how far we’ve come. How she now understands that anything and everything that’s important goes in my calendar. I guess what it comes down to, is living life with intention.

It wasn’t just my mom. There were so many things at the end of the night that I realized I didn’t do, I didn’t follow up with. And so if you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to get the important things done, like taking care of yourself, calling to check in on a friend., whatever it is – put it in your calendar.

I used to think that having something in my calendar meant less freedom.  The opposite is true. My calendar gives me freedom because I get to wake up to a life I’ve created instead of a life that I stumble into.

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