08 March 2012

Of Schedules

As Micaiah turned one, I was in the midst of taking a literature class at my alma mater, "just for fun."  During this same semester, I learned I was pregnant with my second one.  Dealing with a not-yet-walking one-year-old and a rough bout of morning sickness, I found myself overwhelmed with assignments to read hundreds of pages in only two days.  I was definitely not a college student anymore, and even just one class was going to do me in.

My only coping mechanism was to develop a schedule for myself.  So I opened up Excel and mapped it all out - every hour of my day was assigned a task, with many of them taken up by reading.  Even checking my e-mail had its place.  Though I often questioned the logic behind sacrificing family time for reading Edith Warton, I did survive the semester, and even managed to write a 14-page research paper while downing Gatorade and soda crackers and trying to keep it all down.

Point being, budgeting my time, as with money, allowed me to tell my time what it was doing rather than wondering where it all went.

Though I'm definitely not taking another college class at this time (because, clearly, I'm not insane), I find myself, as a mother of three, in need of a little structure.  Because lately my days have ended with me wondering how the house, which I swore I'd clean, was still a mess and what on earth I did with my time for the day, other than brushing off the kids who want to play and feeding the little one who can't be ignored.

Coupled with the feelings posted yesterday, I created a new schedule.  My e-mail has a much smaller place in my day and my children are allotted much more of my attention.  We'll practice Bible verses at breakfast and work together to keep the house clean.  I know it's sad when I have to let my Excel spreadsheet tell me when to play with my kids, but it's better than not playing at all.  And, hopefully, it will someday be such a habit to ignore that laptop and settle onto the floor, singing songs with my small ones, I won't need a written schedule to tell me how it should be done.

Today was Day One of the new schedule and it went as well as I had hoped.  Though the colored slots look rigid on paper, I'm allowing for the flexibility of a newborn who needs to eat on his time, not necessarily mine, and a daughter who may not feel like working on "homework" (it's the word she came up with, not me) during the allotted time.  And I'm okay with that - the point is spending time with them, not being their drill sergeant.

I can't guarantee I won't wake up next week too exhausted to pay attention to what I should be doing, but for today I feel responsible and attentive, so let's dwell on that, shall we?

1,000 Gifts:
43. Rain pattering on the fireplace flue.
44. A dying battery on a re-discovered toy that is being shared between brother and sister.
45. A little boy declaring, "Daddy home!"
46. A gift broken: The Stoneware I cracked while making dinner that, thankfully, is still usable (for now).
47. A gift fixed: The puzzle pieces my daughter insist be glued together so the elephant can be "fixed" - she doesn't recognize it's his "brokenness" that helps us make him whole.
48. A gift thrifted: These garage sale couches which catch our weariness every day.

Taking Time for Play: An Animal:

All three of my animals settled near the fireplace, watching Caillou together this afternoon, and as I snapped photos of my newborn, clad in his monkey pj's, resting on his brother's animal blanket, a song played from the television about big brothers and big sisters and how great they are.  Precious moments captured - I am "Lucky," indeed.

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