It’s been a few weeks since I posted about my frustrations with balancing “it” all. As always, I felt better just as a result of getting it all out. I have also been ruminating on what you all said and have made a few adjustments to my attitude and my daily life. Mostly, I find myself remembering your thoughts throughout the day and often that is enough to shift my focus to what really matters. Me. My Family. Enjoying the Everyday.
To this end here are some things that I have done / thought since last posting on this topic:
1 – Stayed conscience of the joy of little things. So many people have said it better than me. To repeat it in less eloquent terms: Life is made up of little thing. Big things happen here and there. But the little things happen all the time. Find joy in them. You’ll always have to wash dishes, do laundry, and commute. Find the joy there and meditate on that.
2 – Along those same lines I’m learning that a lot of being a parent is tedious, menial and slave labor. (This is not to say it is without its rewards and, in my opinion, worth the work. But let’s face it – wiping someone’s ass every day? Not my idea of a good time). I’m working in giggles and laughter, and recognition that a – it will become less tedious (you told me it would! i believe you!) b – there is comfort and intimacy in the tedium. Right about the time I posted I found this post on design mom. There is a new publication, Seeing the Everyday, “A new magazine finding poetry in the prosaic”. (If you go here you can see a sample .pdf). It looks beautiful. This is EXACTLY what I’m trying to do – see the everyday. (btw – Juli – you got a subscription for Mother’s Day! I keep forgetting to tell you. )
3 – When I walk into work I take a sticky note and write the time at which I need to leave the office. I hang it on my computer monitor. When it gets to be that time I leave. If I still have work I decide how badly it needs to be done. If I am on a deadline (which I often am – my work is deadline based) I will bring home pieces of work to do after Sophia goes to bed. When I work at home I work on my unplugged laptop. When the battery dies…I stop working. It’s a great control mechanisms for someone who’s inner perfectionist often gets the better of her.
4 – One of the things mentioned was the need to develop a routine. Stay organized and work within that system. I realized that since moving from Boston – we don’t have a system. We are not organized. Our house is a mess – Sophia’s dresser drawers had cloths thrown into them when we first got into the house (we had about 2 hours to get her room set up before bedtime) and I haven’t had time to organize them. This causes all kinds of time suck during our morning routine. Finding a matching pair of socks?! Oy. Those damn tiny socks will be the end of me. Bury me in tiny sock singletons.
I haven’t had time to organize because my free time is spent trying to catch up with the dishes, laundry, and dust bunnies. So, I asked for help. My parents came over this past weekend and helped us do some stuff around the house. It was awesome because I was caught up and can now spend some time organizing and getting a system down. Hopefully I can stay ahead of the curve! Now, we weren’t always so lucky. We just recently moved back “home”, closer to family. However, our friends in Boston did the same type of thing for us when we put our condo on the market last spring. Sophia was a VERY fussy two-month old and there way no way we were going to be able to get our house into show worthy condition without help. So – I emailed our friends and they showed up one Saturday. I was embarrassed and felt horrible asking for that kind of help – but I saw no other way. I think we must have had at least 10 people there. Cleaning and organizing our teeny condo. If we would have done that on our own it would have taken us WEEKS. These guys blew it out in a few hours. And you know what – we showed the condo the next weekend and had an offer within two weeks. We would have missed those buyers. Asking for help usually pays off big. Knowing you have friends and family who are willing to clean for you? Pays off way bigger. I am still moved when I think of what happened that weekend. Those are some friends.
5 – At the suggestion of Kathy I have subscribed to the Six O’Clock Scramble. (BTW – Kathy posted her great comment on her site and got some more great comments – go read if you’re looking for inspiration.) We took our first trip to the grocery with the grocery list provided by the service and I made our first meal from it last night. So. Yum. Tonight we’ll try another. I love to cook and not having the time to do it has really made me sad. I hope this is a good solution.
6 – Prioritize. Reassess. Prioritize. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. You are so right! This is where I am trying to direct my thinking. Living consciously. We had a conversation about this at my knitting group a few months ago. How living with purpose has often been a bit of a thorn in my side because it’s just one. more. thing. to. do. My friend Amy, (sadly blogless, but a Ravelrer) noted that being stressed about living consciously kind of goes against the whole principle. She somehow explained it all in a way that clicked. You do the best you can, you reassess, you try not to get lost in the little things. You do the best you can, you pay attention, you screw up, you make a change. You are thus…living consciously.
7 – I have also had to remind myself that me screwing up and making it right is a waaaaayyyyy better model for my daughter than the alternative. This ties up the idea of letting go of perfection and embracing humanity. It is also my work and management style in my professional life. If I don’t know the answer – I admit it and find it. If I screw up – I admit it and fix it. If someone who works for me screws up – I expect that they will nod to the screw up and move on. Shit happens. We are not infallible. Why would I want to provide that kind of model for my daughter?
I think that’s about all. Overall, I feel a bit more relaxed and hope to tweak this whole LIFE thing as I go – I’m sure you’ll continue to hear about it.
How are you doing with it all?