So I says to Master 11, I says “Go look in your room for these two socks – I can’t find their mate.”
He says okay and goes up to look.
“I found one, Mom!” he says, and throws it down to me. It matches neither of the socks I have waiting. “That’s not it – now you have three to find!” I say.
He goes and looks again. “I found two!” He yells, and throws it down. Not only do they not match the three I have in my hand, they’re not even his socks.
“How on earth do you have single socks that aren’t even yours? Go look again!”
“Ok. I’ll go look in my sock drawer,” he says. I laugh and ask “Where were you looking before?”
Then he comes down with 4 socks. We successfully match a few pairs, but we still have some unmatched socks. So I go upstairs and have a hunt through his drawers.
The whole time he is yelling at me about privacy and how I shouldn’t go through his dresser. “Why?” I ask. “Do you have anything private in here?”
“NO!” he yells. “It’s the principle of the thing”
Nevertheless, I persevere and come up with two more socks. I take them downstairs, and continue on my way.
But then I’m back on my way upstairs and he yells “NO YOU ARE NOT GOING THROUGH MY JUNK DRAWER!”
I tell him I wasn’t even aware of his junk drawer and we playfully tussle for a moment while he tells me his junk drawer is completely off limits.
“Why?” I ask. “Do you… <snarf> do you… <giggle> DO YOU HAVE SOCKS IN THERE?”
We both lost it and dissolved into hysterical laughter.
At which point I decided to give up and went downstairs.
Then faintly I hear upstairs …
“Mom? I looked under my bed… I FOUND ANOTHER SOCK!!”
I’m still laughing. And I still have 6 unmatched socks.
I know what you’re thinking – WINTER? It’s hot here in (North America/Europe/Japan/other Northern Hemisphere location).
But here in the Southern Hemisphere it is most definitely winter. Got down to 4C the other night. I’ve been sleeping with all my woolies on, a hot water bottle, AND the all-important warm husband (who, I might add, keeps insisting I have too many blankets on the bed and it’s too hot for him to sleep).
Bonus – two weeks off school and work! Yay!! When my children were in preschool I could not understand all the other mums who would cheer and breathe a sigh of relief for the school holidays.
“You don’t understand!” I would wail. “They’ll be asking me WHY they can’t go to preschool music, and WHY they can’t go to Playcentre, and WHY we can’t go all the things they usually do. It will be HORRIBLE!!!”
But the school mums would just smile knowingly and reiterate how happy they would be to have their children home for two weeks.
Both my children are in school now, and I understand.
Two whole weeks of not having to get up on time in the morning and get ready to get to school and work. Two whole weeks of doing what we want to do. Two whole weeks of listening to my children tell me all about what they’re doing and what’s going on and what they want to do and how they’re hungry, and thirsty, and tired, and why isn’t it their turn on the computer and I’m BORED and… oh. hmmmm.
Well, let’s just concentrate on not having to get up in the morning and we get to do what we want to do, shall we? I really like the lie-in (sleeping in!!)
Many of my offline friends ask me how I manage to juggle 7 different work hats, plus my Mom hat and my housework hat without getting snowed under. I’m going to do a presentation for them, but thought I’d give it a practice go here so you can tell me if I’m missing anything or need to go into further details. So without further ado, I give you:
Time Management Tips, by Broot
1. Get a good calendar or diary and use it! I personally prefer the FlyLady calendar because of the big squares – lots of room to write lots of stuff. My calendar is always choca (“CHOCK-ah” as they say in NZ – it means very full!). But the key thing is to find one that works for you and use it.
2. Priority lists!! Having a big list is good, but it really helps to have a smaller priority list to work on. Means you get the important stuff done, AND you get to cross stuff off!
3. If you’re on Facebook, turn the games off. I took the step of turning off all Facebook Application Platforms after years of being stuck on the computer chained to the games. No platforms means less viruses, and more time to actually connect/network with people!!
4. Know your most productive time of the day and use it to your advantage. Plan to do work at your most productive time. I have no problem working with the parents and children in the morning, because that’s physical and verbal work, not paperwork. There is absolutely no point, however, in trying to get me to do any paperwork, phone calls or other problem solving work before 11am. After lunch and right before dinner are my most productive times – and that’s when I get my paperwork, bills, housework and writing done!
5. If you need uninterrupted space to work, then make it so. Turn off the TV, turn off the phones, turn off the music, turn off all your instant chat programs, and keep your email client closed. Any distraction when you’re “in the zone” puts you back about 30 minutes while you get back into your groove. Seriously. One 2 second distraction will take you 30 minutes from which to recover.
6. (BONUS) Learn to say “No” when you are overcommitted. I limit myself to 3 night meetings a week, prioritise for the most important meetings, and say “No!” to the rest. I do the same thing for my field work – no more than 3 mornings in a week. The other days are for paperwork and housework and anything else I need to get done!
And that’s really it in a nutshell. I could mention procrastinating (at which I am extremely proficient!) but that’s a whole ‘nother post entirely!
This post is in honour of Mother’s Day and my mother who insisted I walk nearly 5km (3mi – that’s one way, by the way) to school even when it was uphill both to school and back, even when it was pouring so hard the raindrops were bouncing off the road, and the snowpiles were up to my knees and it was well below freezing outside.*
Ten reasons why I make my children walk to school in the pouring rain:
1. Walking is good for them and the environment.
2. It takes us about 3 minutes to walk to school and about 7 minutes to drive. (Gotta love pass-through alleyways!)
3. The way the parents drive around here in the rain? Sheesh. It’s safer to walk.
4. Splashing in puddles. ‘Nuff said.
5. Justifying the purchase of cute rainjackets, matching umbrellas, and gumboots.
6. My mother made me walk to school in the rain AND the snow. And I had a lot farther to walk. (See first paragraph.)
7. So the children can help their class win the Feet First competition (Class with the most people walking/riding their bikes/using the bus gets a prize at the end of the year.)
8. When they’re older, the children will have a true “When I was your age, my mother made me walk to school in the pouring rain!” story to tell that will shock and awe their children and grandchildren.
9. I can honestly claim the title “Mean Mum” and wear it with pride.
10. Just by walking down the street with my kids in our rain gear I can make all the other parents either feel guilty they aren’t doing it too, or think that I’m insane. Either’s good. 😉
* My mother did that despite spending the majority of her school years living on a delta plain (very flat, no hills), across the street from her school, in a city that rarely saw more than a couple of centimetres of snow every year. Yeah, my “walking to school” stories trump her stories any day.
There’s this deep dark well. It’s got water in it, way far down. And the water is deep, too. Over the heads of the tallest people.
Every once in awhile, we climb in, and start climbing down before we realise we really don’t want to be there. And the climb back up is much harder than the climb down.
Sometimes we fall into it, but we manage to grab the sides as we’re falling. We can see the light at the top of the well, and we still feel strong, so we can climb our way back out. Other days we fall in deeper, and it’s a lot harder to climb to the top. The climb is exhausting.
Then there are times when we think we’re at the top of the well, only to suddenly find we’re really in a bucket going down… it’s not until we find ourselves floating on top of the well water or even under the water that we realise what happened.
The bucket can also be our saviour – we can climb in, and get lifted to the top. Sometimes the bucket goes back up quickly, but sometimes it’s still a slow, arduous, and tiring process.
But the worst is when we fall into the water. The water drains our strength. Treading water is tiring. We get cold. We’re too wet to grab the sides of the well to climb out. We can see the light at the top of the well but it is way too far away.
When we can’t tread water anymore, we start to drown. That’s when everything seems really impossible. By now, only the bucket can save us. Sometimes only the right coloured bucket.
And by now, those of you who have been in the well know exactly what I’m talking about. We know that sometimes we can pull ourselves out of depression, but other times we’re just too far down into the well.
When you fall down the well, yell for the bucket. Whether your bucket is your friends, your family, medication, or whatever else is going to help.
Because you and I both know that being in the well is exhausting, it’s a long way back out, and it’s hard to get out by ourselves.