Thursday, August 04, 2011

Excelling

I'm considering whether it would be a) crazy or b) not crazy to create a master schedule for Life in the Fall.

You see, Life in the Fall scares me. It's when the shit hits the fan, in terms of busy, and I'm not such a coper that when the shit hits the fan I calm everyone down. Rather, it's more like when the shit hits the fan, I leap up onto the table, grab hold of the fan, and hang on for dear life, screaming at everyone to "hurry up! for god's sake, I said could you HURRY UP!"

So since one of my talents (I'm calling all my old jobs that now, since we've been reading so many fairy books where whatever the fairy is good at is called his or her talent, and I kind of like that better than boring old skills) is event planning, I thought perhaps I could consider my life, and the life of my brood, one big Event with many smaller events occurring throughout, sometimes simultaneously. Not simultaneously like I'm reading the paper, drinking coffee, and pretending to listen to two people and pretending not to hear the third and smallest. More simultaneous like one person has to be at French preschool and another needs to be eating lunch in the car while being driven to what seemed like a terrific idea at the time, lunchtime piano lessons. (I wasn't certifiably crazy at the time, meaning, I wasn't pregnant, so I'm not sure how that slid by the working side of my brain...ah, lunchtime piano? you mean, pick her up early from school, with the baby in the van instead of at home napping, and get her to eat her lunch without spilling all over, and convince her it's going to be "super fun" to go to piano, and then SIT and WAIT outside for half an hour, and then drive her back to school LATE).

Seriously. What the fuck was I thinking?

Anyways, back to my new master plan. See, this summer the kids were driving me batshit crazy with their "what are we doing today?" questioning, which sounds very innocent but in reality was like a volley of gunshots fired at me first thing every morning. Listen closely. "Whatarewedoingtoday,mommy?Isaid,whatarewedoingtodaymommywhatarewedoingtoday?canIhaveafriendover?whydoesshegettohaveafriendoverthat'snotfairshealwaysgetsafriendoverhuhthat'snotfairwhatdoIgettodo?" Like gunshots, I swear.

So I created this simple calender that you can print off the Internet for free (this entailed me having to call my Internet provider out and hours on the phone convincing the Internet provider that the reason my wireless printer wouldn't work was their fault, not mine, not an easy task when Internet provider is a Crown corporation...if you're not from Canada google Crown corporations + suck and you'll see what I mean, god I miss IT people...they're like magic) and creating a little road map of the summer months.

Nothing more extravagant than a white piece of paper with things like Gym and Camp and Have a friend over on it, but it worked.

And when I say it worked, it worked for them, and for me. Seems I thrive on having a little structure, a little game plan. Probably from years as a freelancer, where if I didn't have a plan I was set adrift in my own ability to get absolutely nothing done, something I unfortunately perfected until I started scheduling my own life in Outlook.

Here's how I see it. A strategy session (or two), where we sit down and put it all on the table. How do each of us ladies see our fall mapping out? What's important to us? What will make it all more than bearable (dare I say it - pleasant?).  For one it might be lasagna after every swim lesson. Another, perhaps a snack in the car, waiting, after dance. Organizing what meals need to be prepared in advance and what bags need to be packed and with what will save me from the frantic pace I set last year, where it didn't just feel like I was two steps behind, I really was.

Maybe this is what moms on mat leave do. We use the ...talents...we honed in our workplaces to create bearable, livable lives, where colour-coded spreadsheets make everyone breathe easy.

We'll see. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

“The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.”

I've got three gorgeous girls. Three gorgeous girls, who are so wholeheartedly and unabashedly ready to scoop up every single thing they can learn.

And they've got me. With my anger management workbooks and the veritable library of self help books (interspersed, of course, with the entire Shopaholics series and no less than several hundred other pop fiction reads); they have someone who also is unabashedly ready to scoop up every single thing I can learn. About being a better person; a better mother. Better wife. Friend. Aunt. Woman. Daughter.

I used to be embarrassed by this direction; by the idea that I needed such work. And then I read "Who will cry when I die" by Robin Sharma, promptly ordered all his other books, and stopped thinking it was a reflection of my failures that I still need (a lot) of work. In one of them he conceded the same; that he had once judged people he saw toting tomes on self repair. And then he (and later, I), realized. What better project? What better place to direct energy? If I carried around books on getting ahead at work, or how to paint a better picture, or build a better bookcase, no one would judge. Why should anyone judge if I want to be a better person?
And so I'm not so ashamed, anymore. Not so ashamed of my desire to be better. Of my plan to wear a bracelet to remind me to be kind. (I know...it is poor when you need a bracelet to remind you to be kind. Nonetheless). Not ashamed to admit that I'm so far from perfect...

But I'm going to give it my best shot. And if that includes a constant and conscious working on being a better person, so be it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

1. Discover Your Calling

I feel a bit like Barbie, trying to figure out if I'm a doctor, a fashionista, Ken's girlfriend, or a cake maker. Those are the Barbie's we have here, anyways, I'm pretty sure there's a Barbie for every profession nowadays.

I have a pretty good idea what my talents are. Trouble is, it took me a while to figure it all out, and I'm not one of those people who knew when they were in grade ten that they were going to be a doctor. If I go way back, I always wanted to be the editor of McLeans. That dream has been passed over somewhat, and I must say I like the new editor quite a lot so I wouldn't want to take that job from him. I also wanted to be a lawyer, and now there are all the studies describing how women are so fed up with the hours that they're leaving the profession in droves, I'm glad I'm not stuck in that rut.

Another issue I struggle with is that I like to have many talents. Interior decorator, writer, event planner, socialite, fashionista, perfect wife, even more perfect mother - it's too much. I need to get a handle on picking one or two and letting the other stuff go.

Or do I? Can't I have several? Maybe some come and go, like the winter of crystal art (I'll have to find that old blog post). Hopefully that comes again. I miss my hand cramping, and ordering tiny pieces of Swarofski crystal off the Internet. Discovering that there are different qualities of glue.

And running comes and goes in my life, dependent on so much, like time and dedication and ease and where I'm at in the generating of children. I forgive the [not] running...why not the [not] writing and the [not] perfect parenting?

I like where I'm going with this. Maybe, for me, the discover your calling has happened. Maybe it's less of discovery and more of, shall I say, get on with it.

I think that's it.