Thursday, November 06, 2008

Keeping myself intact

Sir O is wailing in his crib (consequences, consequences), and Mr Renn is off watching some football game someplace (I am too nice).

I am contemplating deep and meaningful things. And sweating, because being on the third floor is awesome, and I'm too lazy to open a window. Check that, I'm pregnant. What looks, acts, and smells like laziness when you are pregnant is actually something else. I don't know what exactly, but it's not run-of-the-mill laziness. It's far too legitimate.

Ever since I became a mom, who spends most of her time at home and is her own boss, I have struggled with structuring my life in a way that works for me. I can't schedule myself to death like I used to, because while I can abuse and overschedule myself, I can't so much do that to small children. I've had to learn to be flexible. Only I found out I was really good at being flexible. And on occasion my whole day has turned into me sitting still waiting to see what would be required of me at the hand of Sir O. It feels rather like an unproductive limbo and I don't like the feeling when I get lost in it. Plus my house falls apart, then guilt occurs.

I remembered my mother living off of a spiral notebook in which she was constantly making lists when I was young. I thought it seemed so silly at the time that she would make lists for herself. I understood her making lists of things for us to do , but inflicting it on herself baffled me.

I totally get it now.

I relented and bought the cheapest notebook they make and started making lists for myself recently. A to-do list for each day, plus random lists for household chore schedules and Christmas tasks, and goals, and art-ish projects I'd like to tackle someday with Sir O. I find myself putting things on the list that would obviously get done without being on the list, just so that I can be sure to have some things crossed off and feel better about myself. Eat breakfast, check. Put Oliver down for a nap, check.

What's awesome is that it's actually helping.

Not only am I being more productive because I don't find myself wondering what to do (then despairing in a heap because there is so much that needs done), but I feel and see progress I missed before. It comes in the forms of little check marks. I don't feel like I have to do everything every day, because I know if I can just do what's on the list for today, everything else that needs to be done will be addressed on the day I appointed.

And it's just a list, not a schedule. It doesn't matter when, or in what order I do things.
And I'm not beating myself up over the unchecked stuff at the end of the day, because I know discouragement leads to quit-age, and we can't have any of that.

I keep putting prenatal yoga on the list, and never getting it done. But I still want to fit it in, so I keep putting it on the list anyway. Maybe eventually I'll get it to work (possibly even before prenatal yoga is a moot point).

So, uh, how do you manage being your own boss?


Martha said...

You know, I'm a list maker too, but it's been awhile since I've made a daily list for myself. With graduation coming within the month, I'll have to begin list-making once again! It always seems to help me sort out my clutter head and actually keep track of what needs to be done without worrying or stressing (too much, at least!).

Take care and I'll see you soon.

Deena said...

There is no lazy while pregnant. End of story.

I love lists. All kinds of lists. At the end of the day if you've done something even remotely productive that's not on your list, write it down. Then cross it off. It's not your fault that you didn't think of it before.

Methodical Wormer said...

I am all about the list. It makes the overwhelming manageable and the menial productive.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing the notebook thing for a few years now. It keeps all the random bits of info in my brain somewhat organized. I'm surprised how quickly I go through notebooks, then I have a hard time just tossing them cuz they have recipes I haven't copied over to my cookbook yet, or gift ideas for someone that I haven't had the opportunity to send yet, so I have to set aside some time to transfer the still pertinent info to my new notebook. It's a great way to feel productive, though. I'm glad you found it!

Leith said...

I feel (and hear) you on this one. I too need to feel like my day was productive, or I get depressed and finish off the left over halloween candy all by myself.

aLi said...

Em as I was reading your post I couldn't help but DEVOUR what you said. I am the exact same way. When I am pregnant, I feel guilty for being "lazy," but at the same rate I know I'm not being lazy- I just cannot do it all!!! And I have made lists in the past just so I can check things off a list, (just like you said)... but now I don't have time for that!!! :O Anyway, my life is full, and I have been trying to gather my thoughts lately so I can post a blog that says something rather than "here is a picture of Amelia sleeping." You just said it for me. Thank you.

Kati said...

Tha is a great idea! I don't make a to do list but I do have my routines that I stick to everyday. It works for Abbi and it works for me. Also I have a daily job chart that I work on everyday. We have 5 rooms in our apartment and 5 weekdays so I attack a new room everyday. That reminds me to day is Kitchen....better get started.:)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Ever since I had kids, I have lived off of making lists! My husband thinks I am nutso, but I don't care. If it gets me to do things during the day, then it works for me! My kids have a great schedule as well, so I actually have a little time to myself, while my little one takes a nap, and older one has quiet time for an hour. It's working nicely right now, but they are kids, so it will probably change next week.

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