I noticed an error in my bread machine chart from the last post, so I updated the file just now. If you downloaded, you might want to re-download.
I've been keeping up with my practice of making shorter to-do lists on index cards very well.
(Recall that I do have a master to-do list of ALL THE THINGS!!!! out of sight on my Wunderlist account. So I'm not losing track of those things that don't make the cut today, but still need to be done sometime. And I have a calendar, of course.)
So, today I made my little index card list, and it had eight items on it:
Later I thought of one more thing I wanted to put on my list, and as luck would have it, there was one line remaining on the index card, so I added it below:
So far so good. Nine items on my list, including some for school, some for housework, some for personal creative outlet. By lunchtime I had crossed a few of them off.
Then I got on Facebook and was reading a discussion about bread recipes. It started in a post by Melanie about bread machines, how she doesn't have one but relies on her stand mixer, and how I don't ever bake bread except using my bread machine. Melanie posted her sandwich loaf recipe yesterday (scroll down to the second recipe), and I adapted it for the bread machine last night and tried the loaf this morning, and it was really good.
That got me thinking it was time to update the chart of bread recipes that has been hanging on my fridge for a while, and that has accumulated Post-it notes and wedged-in index cards with new recipes, as well as layers of added notes scribbled on since I hung up the chart.
So I sat down at the computer and made a nice new chart, and printed it up and hung it on the fridge.
Lovely isn't it? Ingredients down the left (in order of addition to the pan), recipes across the top, measurements in the grid. Those are the eight recipes we make most often. The bottom row has added instructions, such as which cycle to use.
Only of course this project was not something that had been on my index card. So I had to sacrifice some other task from the card. Out with grading papers:
I guess I'll grade the papers another day, or maybe on the weekend. The lesson here: when you add one thing, something else has to give.
And hey! I can now check off "Blog post."
NOTE: The file was updated a few hours after posting to correct the pizza dough recipe: 2 cups each of whole wheat and bread flour.
The baby is eight weeks old, and that is how long I promised I would wait before buckling down to trying to lose the weight I put on to support my pregnancy.
Some people advise waiting six months. That does make sense -- often the work of mothering a baby takes the extra weight off without conscious effort, so why not enjoy that while it lasts? And self-starvation is not good for milk supply, itself doubleplusungood for newborns. I am not planning on self-starvation. I am planning on being intentional instead of mindless, and on attention to portion sizes, and room for ice cream after dinner and a beer with Mark after the kids go to bed, and on a great deal of roasted Brussels sprouts. Also on adapting as I go along.
One thing I have already figured out and adapted: the daily rhythm that felt best and most sustainable before I got pregnant (light breakfast, medium lunch, afternoon snack, hearty dinner) now makes my blood sugar go haywire. Distributing my calories more evenly throughout the day keeps me from falling over. I need medium breakfasts and medium lunches and medium dinners now.
And so -- I resisted it for a while -- I have had to hang up my good old mantra "one egg is enough eggs for breakfast." Two-egg veggie and cheese omelet, please. (Technically I hung that up while I was pregnant and eating a lot of steak and eggs specials. But I really thought I would be dusting it off again after the birth. Not quite yet, I guess.)
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I put on about 40 pounds while pregnant, and about 25 remain. Here at the outset, I feel fairly confident I can deal with the problem; already I am practicing waiting till mealtime, and hitting that happy spot where I feel confortably satisfied after a meal, but still reliably feel good and hungry a little while before the next one.
Getting hungry several times a day seems to be the key. Not "eat when you're hungry," as if hunger is a serious problem that must be immediately corrected; nor "hungry all the time," which probably isn't good for me or the baby; but periodically hungry for a little while before each meal.
I find that going to bed just a little bit hungry is effective, too, but it is possible to overshoot; if I am lying awake at 2 a.m. listening to my stomach growl, I probably need some peanut butter toast, and that is okay.
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So, what are the habits I am concentrating on right now?
I am generally aiming for 450-calorie meals, plus a smaller afternoon snack and the aforementioned ice cream and cocktails, but I am not really counting the calories up just yet. That is something to save for if I hit a plateau later on.
Here's a handy resource with 400-calorie meal plans in it. I ignore the word "low-fat" wherever it appears, so my meals are typically more than 400 calories, but they won't be crazy off the charts. It's 400 Calorie Fix by Liz Vacciarello and Mindy Hermann. It contains a refresher on estimating portion sizes, numerous recipes, a two-week meal plan, and suggested side dishes. This is particularly useful for a household that, like mine right now, is relying on shortcuts like packaged meals and takeout, because it rather nonjudgmentally makes suggestions for how to eat 400 calories' worth of movie theater junk or vending machine snacks or fast food burgers, right alongside 400-calorie homemade meals like Couscous and Vegetable Salad (with a side of tuna and mayo) or Speedy Fish Tacos or Lentils with Zesty Tomatoes (with a side of pita bread).
Not that I am saying one ought to substitute vending machine snacks (e.g., Wheat Thins and a Snapple) for a meal, but at least this particular book is light on the Good Food/Evil Food dichotomy, which I appreciate right now. And it's good for practicing the habit of learning to have reasonable portions of things, and for accepting tradeoffs like, "if I want extra meat, I will get more calories unless I take less rice." Which I am rusty on after the ravages* of pregnancy.
*ravages (n. pl.): state of having to eat cheeseburgers or steak-and-eggs whenever one wants, because iron.
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The psyche rebelled at first, but I am already remembering what it's like to have self-control, and that peculiar satisfaction of being able to notice that I am kind of hungry, while also knowing that Disaster will not befall me if I wait till lunchtime. It is satisfying because I know I did not always have that ability, and I learned it, and I still have it now when I wish to call on it.
I get hungry. I think to myself what I know from experience: "This is my body telling me it's about to switch over to burning the stored calories. In a little while the sensation will go away, and then after a while it will be time to eat again." And this message works, I find, as long as the things that I eat are generally real food with a decent amount of protein, fat, and fiber.
So, for example, today for breakfast I had
And for lunch I had
And try not to think about how in October I need to get a new drivers license.
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I decided I have about six categories of things that I do during a typical day:
I have a vague idea of about how much time I have available to do each of these things, but I am resolved to keep that idea vague and flexible from day to day.
The main point is that it's finite and not all that much; so I shouldn't get bogged down in endless, super-long to-do lists that get carried over because they are never finished.
It's okay to keep a master to-do list with ALL THE THINGS on it, and consult that while making the day's list. Right now I'm trying out an app called Wunderlist, and I'm using it for the ALL THE THINGS list. But I'm copying a few things from that list onto an index card each morning.
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I also had some all-the-time goals: for example, one goal is to demonstrate to my children, interest in the things they had to say to me, and delight in each one as a person. I feel these things far more often than I make them known, and I wanted to work on communicating that love, interest, and delight all day long through all the things I do.
But I've found that a major obstacle to that is constant multitasking. I'm always trying to do two things at once. If I'm resting, I'm answering email on my iPad. If I'm running a spelling lesson, I'm tidying my countertop while I wait for kids to write down each word. While I'm chopping onions, I'm supervising my seven-year-old's math homework. While I'm lecturing my son about the boots that I keep tripping over in the mudroom, I'm photocopying worksheets for the afternoon's school.
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Somewhere, I know, there is a homeschooling parent with the opposite problem who is resolving to learn how to multitask. I can be quite effective, it's true. BUT I can't multitask like that AND demonstrate love, interest, and delight. Rather, such effectiveness tends to give me Resting Bitchface. Not a good look on a mom.
So here's resolution five: Decide what I'm doing, and do that one thing.
Leave room in my attention for that love, interest, and delight.
Leave room in my attention to be reasonable, to be kind, to be generous.
Leave room in my attention to stop and guide a child back on task before the urge to yell sets in.
Leave room in my attention for ...intention.
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So what kind of practical change can I make that will bring this about? I think one of them is simply to look at what I've asked the kids to do, and to be doing that same thing.
So, for instance, if the kids are working on schoolwork, I want to try to stay there with them instead of thinking, "Oh, they're working, I'll go get a head start on lunch."
When it's time to make lunch, I am going to try to stop their schoolwork, and then we should all leave the schoolroom and start setting up lunch together. Alternatively, if I need a little quiet time in my own head, I should send them on "break," while I set up lunch by myself or with just one child helper.
This also amounts to "quit multitasking," but on the family level. My thirteen-year-old is really the only one who can reliably be sent to do something -- be it his algebra or scrubbing a toilet -- and finish it without getting distracted. It's going to be fine to let him do his own thing. The rest of them really do need attention and guidance whenever they are given instructions.
So I'm going to try that today, just as soon as I make my to-do list.
Good thing I never count "...and nursing the baby" as multitasking, or I'd never get out of this chair.
Yesterday, although I am not quite done writing them out yet, I decided to bite the bullet and actually follow them.
In a way I cheated. It was Monday. Mondays are usually the days I spend entirely at H's house, co-schooling and then shuttling kids to scouts and AHG. However, for the last couple of weeks and for a Very Good Reason, we have not been doing school together. So Mondays and Thursdays have been freed up, and I have been using them to catch up on resting, thinking, and once in a while doing a neglected chore or two. Monday's task list was a clean slate.
So. The first thing I did was make a to-do list. Nothing new there. Except that it was a very SHORT to-do list:
(Actual to-do list from yesterday, taken near the end of the day)
I thought to myself, "I only have four hours to do tasks. What tasks should I do?" And that is what I came up with. I used an index card on purpose; it's like eating dinner off a smaller plate. I felt "full" with fewer tasks!
When I was making the list I tried to include some work from each of my four categories:
And look! It is almost all crossed off! I actually got most of that done yesterday.
This felt good.
Here is another thing that felt good: During learning time -- what I really call "school time," I guess, but I am trying to change its name -- I forced myself not to try to do any of the tasks on my list. Instead I sat down and stayed with my kids.
I watched a video about Frederick the Great of Prussia with my 10- and 13-year-olds. I watched the whole thing. And when my 10-y-o had questions about the video, I was right there to hear them, and I wrote them down and afterward we looked up the answers.
I got out the nine-note recorder book and the recorders for my daughter when she suddenly decided it had been too long since she practiced, and let her use them freely all morning.
I let the boys make lunch and clean it up.
I read a picture book to my four-year-old for the first time in weeks.
I led a handwriting lesson and a spelling lesson for all three school aged kids, and I wasn't rushed so I didn't yell at anyone.
I watched another video with the kids about Roman cities (one of those PBS David Macauley ones).
I helped my daughter get ready for her AHG awards ceremony and drove her across town, and took her and her friend out to dinner before the ceremony.
I visited H at her house for a little while before coming home.
It was a good day.
I am in the middle of another day that is so far good, too. I will report back on that one later.
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In the comments, a reader pointed me to this post at Amongst Lovely Things. It's a homeschooling blog, which is why I don't read it regularly, but this post suggests a different way of thinking about the to-do list that I rather like. She calls it "looping:"
The concept is simply this: instead of assigning tasks to certain days of the week, list tasks and then tackle them in order, regardless of what day it is.
Looping can be used wherever there is work that needs to be done regularly. ...Right now I use a looping schedule in our homeschool, for my housework, and for my writing.
Right now this is how I schedule our morning time read-alouds. For example, we're reading All the Swords in England, St. Patrick's Summer, and various plays by Shakespeare. Those are looped during our morning read aloud time (with Shakespeare having a more prominent place on the loop- twice for every once that we're reading the others). Next term I expect that loop to change because I want to read Father Brown, Bible stories, and Our Mother Tongue during morning time.
Another way you could use a looping schedule is to loop various activities within a subject. For example, many homeschoolers have "Fine Arts Fridays." Picture study, composer study, crafts, art instruction, and poetry could be looped to offer a little variety while still making headway through a particular book or curriculum.
Basically, take anything you would otherwise be inclined to schedule into certain days of the week (Monday: history, Tuesday: science, Wednesday: literature.... etc.) and put them on a loop instead. Now instead of feeling behind when the baby gets sick or you are running around putting out life's fires, you still make progress across the curriculum.
I could see this working pretty well for me for household tasks, younger kids' school subjects, and maybe for readalouds, if I ever get back to doing them again. I will think about it. Maybe you will too!
More resolutions next time.
Part of a series that starts here. We're coming up with resolutions -- not in honor of the new year, but instead of a new baby's arrival and consequent disruption of all the routines that had been serving us well.
Resolution zero: to acknowledge our family's most important priorities and give each their due
Resolution one: of these, designate four as "all-the-time" intentions:
Resolution two: Simplify the list of things we must "make time for." I got it down to this:
Resolution three: to accept the limits on my time, spending it on a few choice tasks and letting go of the rest of the to-do list
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In the last post I calculated that, on a typical weekday, I have somewhere between 4 and 5 hours to accomplish tasks of the sort that I might put on a to-do list.
I don't say, "I have 4-5 hours to knock all the items off my to-do list." That's because Resolution Three requires me to accept that I will never get them all.
(I'm thinking that the "to-do" list needs a different name. "Could-do" list? No, still implies possibility of completion. "Might-do" list? "Task menu?" Will have to think more.)
This kind of work includes
When I made schedules in the past, I thought I had to "do everything" at least once in a while. That meant that I had to find a time for each task on my list. If there wasn't enough time to do each thing as often as I needed, I would just have to do everything less frequently: instead of mopping every week, I'll mop every two weeks.
I did all this by slotting many tasks into specific times of the day or week or month. For example, Thursday mornings between the end of breakfast and the start of co-schooling was Time To Put Away All The Accumulated Clean Laundry. Time For Weekly Lesson Planning was Wednesday evening while the children were at church for catechism class. Set Up All The Week's School Materials Time was Sunday night right before bed. Blogging Time? Mornings, before kids get up.
But I didn't always do what I said I was going to do, either because another task felt more urgent or because I thought of some other task I preferred.
And then I would berate myself for departing from the schedule, particularly later when I couldn't find any matching socks or graph paper. I would do this even if it turned out to have been a good trade-off. There wasn't any room for flexibility or forgiveness.
I'm just not a flexible sort of person; I'll probably always feel kind of bad about changing my plans. I therefore conclude that I ought to make less specific plans. If I don't get around to a particular task now, because it's not so urgent, well -- sooner or later it will become urgent and command my attention.
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But I don't want to get carried away doing only housework, or only school planning -- the two categories that often masquerade as SUPER URGENT MUST DO for days at a time. I need to use some of my time for creative outlets as well, so I can stay recharged and sharp. Also, I owe at least a little bit of work to other people.
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Resolution Four is about the moment of choosing which tasks will and won't happen in the four hours and change that I have available for it every day.
I resolve to regularly choose tasks from the categories of creative work, work for the family, work for others, and work for the kids' school.
I'm not promising equal time for each category and I'm not promising to hit every category every day. But I am resolving to hit them all in their turn, each day choosing what makes the most sense for that day, and -- what's harder -- letting go of what doesn't.
Continuing a series that starts here.
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I figured out in the last post that there are about six basic ways I can slice up the hours in my day.
"Work" encompasses a lot of different things, but I found one easy way to figure out if a thing is "work:" might I put it on a to-do list and then procrastinate it, possibly for days, while feeling guilty about not getting around to it? If so, it is work.
I do not tend to do this with, say, taking a shower or eating lunch or going to the gym. That is how I know that showering is not work, but self-care; and lunch is not work, but a meal; and going to the gym is not work, but an activity.
I do tend to do this with housework or school planning or home improvement projects or even many hobbies that I enjoy, such as writing blog posts. So they all count as work of one kind or another.
I suppose instead of "work" I could call that category "My To-Do List." That isn't a bad idea. I will consider that.
Anyway, it's all the stuff in "work" that tends to dog me.
I. Cannot. Do. It. All.
I need to let some of it go. But how much to let go? Do I even know how much time I have to do these things?
Let's figure it out, roughly.
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"Roughly" is the best I can do right now. I have a 6-week-old baby and my efficiency is consequently unusually low, plus it swings widely from day to day depending on his nursing pattern. ( I am taking advantage of the resulting low postpartum schooling and housekeeping standards to write these blog posts while the kids play poker downstairs.)
If I was in a more stable pattern, I might try another time study like the one I did a few years ago, only with the time categories chopped up a little differently. That was a lot of fun, and I recommend the exercise to anyone who is curious about how they spend their time. But that measure takes a week, and I need something a little more quick and dirty -- just an estimate.
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We start with 24 hours in the day. I estimate generously that I should sleep for about eight hours -- about 10:30 pm to 6:30 am. That leaves sixteen hours.
Meals -- this does not include real cooking, just serving and eating and putting away -- are variable. Breakfast is fairly self-serve and not messy, so let's say I spend half an hour on that (including unloading the dishwasher from the night before). I take longer, maybe an hour, for lunch and post-lunch cleanup -- that's because I have helpers. The same for dinner. Then we have two snacks in our day that probably add up to a half hour. That's about three hours in a typical day at home. Remaining balance: Thirteen hours.
A day's bathing, dressing, grooming, and getting ready for bed -- let's say 45 minutes. I think that's pretty generous. Remaining balance: Twelve and a quarter hours.
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Let's pause here to notice that activities, learning, and work -- plus any extra rest I might need -- have to fit into twelve and a quarter hours. From day to day, the allocation of that time among those three categories probably fluctuates quite a bit. But I am looking for a reasonable, realistic estimate of how much time I have for the to-do list. So let's truck on with estimates of time spent on activities and learning.
I allot about five hours a day (9:30 to noon, and 2 to 4:30) that at least one of my children is doing schoolwork, and I really should be engaged with them for most of that time. So let's say that I am busy that whole five hours with "learning time." Remaining balance: seven and a quarter hours.
That time gets divided up between work and activities (unless it's used for extra rest). Sometimes there isn't any special activity at all, of course, leaving the whole 7.25 hours free.
(Did I say "free?" Ha. It is telling that I am now beginning to think of the "knock-things-off-my-to-do list time" as "free time." Can we say, "workaholic?" Can we say, "defines self-worth in terms of accomplishments?")
Anyway, typical evening activities are swimming lessons at the Y, or religious education classes at church. The swimming lessons take us about two and a half hours when you count travel time, changing, and showering. Religious ed is two and a quarter. So let's estimate generously and say that two and a half hours go to activities, when there are any.
Remaining balance that I can count on having for "work" on this typical, imaginary day:
4 and three-quarters hours.
Well, now. That isn't so bad. It is less than I would like, and it's true that it needs to be broken up throughout the day -- a half hour here, an hour forty-five there -- but it isn't like there is no time at all. And when there isn't a scheduled activity, or if I get out of it for some reason (say if Mark volunteers to take the kids to RE) -- there's bonus time. And any time I don't spend that time working, it could be used for resting.
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That calculation being finished, we come to the resolution part of the post: to accept that those 285 minutes in each day are what I can expect to use for work, give or take a little.
So here is resolution three, in full. I resolve
Part of a series that starts here.
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Last time I wrote about my post-baby resolutions, I said that I'd identified some intentions that wouldn't become part of a "schedule," but would rather be things I would try to keep in mind all the time.
Essential ingredients for every time-block.
You may have noticed that these don't correspond quite exactly to any of the "essentials" that I identified in my first post. They are distilled from some of those "essentials" in order to get their total number down.
One thing is for certain, we'll never get anything done if we are running in too many directions at once.
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So of those essentials, what remains?
And can these things that remain -- the things that "there are times for" -- be simplified even further?
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Our days and weeks must have "times" for
But that's a lot of different stuff.
Far too overwhelming to make anything even approximating a daily or weekly routine.
And some of the categories are nebulous.
"Physical Activity, Hygiene, Medical Care" only go together in an abstract way as "healthy" things to do. They are not anything like one another in a practical sense. They're not done at the same frequencies or at the same times of day or in the same places. They can't be substituted for one another: one hour in the bathtub, one three-mile walk, and one doctor's appointment don't have the same effect on my overall health.
Better to re-formulate the categories and condense them, without micromanaging the details. Mother Teresa's rule for her sisters famously included time blocks that were simply labeled things like "Work for the poor." It wasn't subdivided into individual tasks. I need the same generality categories, because in this season of life, I need to stay flexible. At a particular time in the afternoon, I may need to spend some time homemaking, but I don't want to say "laundry at this time, bed-making at this other time, return phone calls from then until the next time." I need the flexibility to do whatever household task is most important and then let the rest of the to-do list go when I have to move on to some other activity.
So what I came up with was this list:
Things we make "times" for
Much simpler, isn't it?
I got away with so few categories by making several of them broader. For example, "rest" includes naps, quiet recreation (such as reading for pleasure or surfing the web in bed), and sleep. By thinking about clothing as an extension of the body, I was able to collapse the whole of the processes of getting up in the morning and getting ready for bed, encompassing dressing, bathing, dealing with hair, and even putting clothes away. "Meals" includes the necessary clean-up afterwards.
"Work" encompasses several kinds of work, some enjoyable, some not my favorite. I guess now that I look at it, "work" is anything that I tend to procrastinate. It includes work for the family (a.k.a. homemaking), work for the kids' schooling, creative work (aka hobbies), paid work, and service. This category probably needs to be subdivided some, however, so that none of the kinds of work gets short changed; but maybe on a weekly rotation.
"Learning time" is not called "school" because I need to separate it from the "school work" I have to do every day, week, and year: curriculum purchasing, planning, grading, and record keeping, not to mention maintaining our materials and space. Rather, "learning time" needs its own turn at the top of my priorities. By "learning time" I mean the time that the kids spend directly engaging with their schoolwork and that I spend teaching them or keeping them on task. I am always tempted to wander off and get something else done the instant that everyone appears to be working independently; but what they really need (especially the younger ones) is for me to stay focused and present to them for a good-sized block of time.
"Activities" sounds pretty nebulous, but in our family it is immediately obvious what this word means. It's the stuff we do after dinner and on the weekends. Family gym night; swimming lessons; Wednesday night religious education; going to Mass on Sundays and holy days; Scouts and AHG; shows at the Children's Theatre; the occasional outing for bowling or a movie; potluck and board game night with friends. Nearly all of it optional, and none of it has to be "made up" if it's missed for reason of illness or crisis.
Now I have gone and expanded them, but remember that it all collapses into just six categories.
Rest, meals, learning, work, self-care, activities. To everything there is a time. And each of these to be met, all the time: in a spirit of service, loving one another, peacefully, diligently.
More details in the next resolution.
In the last post I wrote about how having a new baby in the house is a good time to re-evaluate priorities and make new resolutions.
"Resolution zero" was, so that we could use our time well, to acknowledge and honor our priorities:
As I contemplated these essentials and thought about trying to schedule time for all, it occurred to me that they fall, for us into two categories.
One category: priorities that we can have "times" for. There are times for rest and sleep, for example, and mealtimes. We can set aside time in our days and weeks for schooling and for chores and for getting to the gym.
But there is another category of priorities that need to be practiced, bluntly, "all the time." There is no "time" that we block out for, for instance, showing interest in our children, or resolving conflicts between them. We have robe ready to do that at any moment that it may be called for.
Does that mean we parents have to be ON all the time? Sort of. I can reasonably anticipate some down time, after the kids are in bed, or when I go for a run, or during the after-lunch break when I send them all away for me for a while. But we are pretty much always on call, and always called to love.
I drew a vertical line down a sheet of paper. To the right I made a list of the things "There's A Time For." Meals and chores and the like, a rough schedule marked out by hours.
But to the left, outside of the schedule, I made a list of things to strive for "All The Time:"
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These all have to do with keeping a certain intentional attitude while taking care of all the busy-ness of the day.
Resolution one is to keep these in mind as all-the-time intentions, and find ways to do each thing -- to spend each "time" -- that honors these priorities all day long.
note: I slightly edited the first, "Serving God in everything," a few hours after posting it. No reason, I thought it was a little more precise than the first version, "Doing everything for love of God."
New Year's resolutions are so passé.
Especially in February, she said. But I digress.
If you have messed up your New Year's resolutions already, you could wait till Lent starts, of course. Lots of people try new things then. I do think Lent can be a good time to try new self-disciplines, so to speak, though unfortunately many of us attempt to turn it into a diet plan. That can be counter-productive, when you consider the reason for the season.
I am now thinking that a really great time for a resolution -- a shaking up of the old routines and a turning over of a new leaf -- is several weeks after the birth of a new baby.
Because you know what?
There's no going back to the way things were before.
I might as well formalize it.
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Even before we decided to invite a new little one into our lives, I knew I didn't really have room for one more along with everything else I do. I knew, I really did, that something was going to have to give.
That didn't stop me from trying to hang onto everything, even as I struggled to stay awake through the first trimester and to keep up with everyone during the second and the third. It didn't stop me from trying to keep up what I had been doing and hang on to all my commitments, and that is probably good because I really have to try and FAIL before I am okay with giving up.
Early on, I figured out that I wasn't going to be able to keep up with school by advance-planning everything on the weekends (including copying and printing, getting books to and from the library, writing new worksheets, composing emails with instructions to my "independent" students, and writing answer keys) and then sticking to my preplanned work on weekdays, keeping careful records of what everyone accomplished each day.
Up till this last year, that has worked pretty well. It isn't going to work anymore. I have now hit the point where if everything were going to be preplanned and prepared by me to my own exacting standards, I would have to spend my Entire Weekend on that work. And this is not good for my family, even if -- maybe BECAUSE -- I kind of enjoy holing up in a locked room with a computer and a curriculum catalog and no human interaction for 12 hours at a time.
Something has to give.
And that is just one area of my life where I was overindulging in productivity. We haven't even talked about things like housekeeping, or dinner, or the few volunteer commitments that one or the other of us has made.
It's the same way there. Something has to give.
I warned my partner in co-schooling, H., before I warned anyone else, not long after I found out I was pregnant, that my standards were about to slip, and I didn't think it would improve matters by trying to plan out exactly how they would slip, so I was just going to LET them slip and see what happened.
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H. didn't really have a chance to give me much feedback before she found out she was pregnant too, and then that she was going to have twins, so, you know, any plans we had for the year were going to go out the window anyway and be replaced by ... Something.
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So what are the new baby's resolutions? I think I am going to spread this post out over several days because I still have to process some of them, and I have been having a damnably hard time blogging for the last few months.
Which might have something to do with my foggy brain. Though the causality could really be going either way.
But the first resolution... No, wait. The zeroth resolution, really, since it has to underlie all the others... Is to recognize that I have priorities. Priorities with names. Values.
It's like this. We need these things in our lives (no particular order here):
Resolution zero is to recognize and honor these priorities so that I can somehow use my time (and help the rest of the family use their time) in a way that gives each of these their due.
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So much for new directions. I only know one way to start anything, and that is by making a list. I have written and rewritten and re-rewritten the list over and over for a week, moving the bits around, and yet nothing has changed yet.
Sooner or later I will have to put down the pen and get out of my chair.
But not yet.