Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So Much Has Happened... So Little Has Changed

Another school year started.
 
Another holiday season came and just left.

Children have grown older.

My hair is getting blonder the more white I have to try to cover.

The "baby weight" is stubbornly holding on, and I have yet to find the time in my schedule to do some serious working out to get it to budge.

I survived being a class "mother" for the Oldest's high school class and organizing all the major milestone events.  I also survived some 17- and 18-year-old girls (class officers who were definitely not "classly", or mature) who thought that I was their handmaiden and answered to them.  And my fellow class mother and I even survived one of them and her mother bullying us when we held her to her word to run a class fundraiser that she (as usual) tried to back out of at the last minute and dump on us.

I survived a season of bird watching... a.k.a. youth soccer for the Youngest.  Hopefully a lacrosse stick in his hand this spring will encourage the appearance of participation... swinging at butterflies with the stick gives the impression one is open for a pass or is defending the goal.

I survived MidKid playing high school football... and all that that entails.

I survived the Oldest leaving for college.

I survived MidKid starting high school.

I survived the Youngest starting first grade.

Apparently this year the theme is "Survival".

I am trying to care less about what others do and say, because so many do so through tinted glasses, with concern only for their child, their feelings, their beliefs.

I am trying to grow a thicker skin when those same people turn on me with pitchforks for having an opinion that doesn't agree with their's, when they speak down to anyone who fails to accept and follow their directions, when they show themselves capable of being such small-minded people.

And for the third year in a row, I managed to keep my one New Year's Resolution.
I did not run away from home.

2015 is Year Four. Keep your fingers crossed I keep it again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

You Look Familiar

I'm sorry.  I'm sorry, Blog, sorry that I've ignored you for quite a while.

This new kid on the block, you've heard of Twitter, right? Well, I've been spending a lot of time with T (@ProWorkingMom in case anyone would like to say "hi").  Tried Pinterest too, but P & I just didn't have the relationship that T & I do.

So where does that leave you, my B, my first?  I still need you - there are things that just can't be said in 140 characters.

So I hereby promise to spend time with you at least once a week.  Lots of changes in the home life mean I'll have more time for you.

I hope.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Different Kind of "To Do" List

I wish someone could give an estimate how many of us are list makers.  I'm sure for every 10 people, 9 would end up raising their hands if asked the question, "Are you a list maker?"

Whether it's at home, at work, in our volunteer work, coaching, or any other aspect of our lives, we make lists of all that we need to do.  Sometimes they are just a few lines on a single index card, sometimes they can fill entire notebooks.  But often, on Facebook and Twitter and over cups of coffee and glasses of wine, we complain about how overwhelming those lists make us feel.
 
We also make lists for others.  In particular, we make lists of chores for our kids to do around the house.  Whether you pay them an allowance for doing these tasks or don't, a booming industry has blossomed around this subject, one that produces stickers and dry-erase charts and printable tables.  Then there's the "Honey-Do List" section of the notepad and Post-Its world, allowing the organized spouse to leave cute notes for the other with reminders like "fix the back door", "change the oil in my car", and "call your mother".
 
But despite all the lovely charts and charming notepaper, many of us fight the Chore Wars in our homes, juggling all our tasks while feeling as though we're constantly reminding our spouses and kids to do their tasks, arguing through our clenched jaws about picking up toys and emptying trash and putting clothes into the hamper.
 
Here's a hint to alleviate some of that stress.  You're going to write a "Not Mom's To Do" list.

Sit down and write out all the chores that need to be done in your house.  As you write each chore down, note in parentheses the frequency of the chore (daily, every other day, weekly, and so on).
 
Then mark which ones you'll do - with a circle or your initials or with a highlighter, just mark the chores you can handle as part of your regular schedule.  If you don't trust anyone else to make sure your whites stay white and your delicates aren't washed with Hubby's greasy work clothes, keep "Wash & dry clothes" on your list.  If you are the worst cook in the world, "Make dinner" can go without your name next to it.  If you're a Coupon Queen, "Grocery shopping" is all yours.
 
Here's the fun part: make a list of what you DIDN'T mark and their frequencies.  That's your "Not Mom's To Do List".  Mine lists daily chores like emptying the hamper & trash cans, taking the recycling out, and unloading the dishwasher on it. They're all simple chores that don't take up a lot of time... but do when you're paying the bills, making dinner, and getting kids to bed on time without the help of your second-shift working spouse.
 
And now for the secret surprise: don't assign any of the chores on that list to anyone. Instead, hold a family meeting.  Give a copy of your "Not Mom's" list to each other family member.  Explain that you don't care WHO does those chores, but only that they are to be done, without argument or reminding, within the designated time frames.  Realistically, you'll still need to remind them, but it takes on a whole new feel, going from "Do your chores! Have you emptied the trash yet?" to "Is the list done?"  Arguments are not your issue, and the negotiating skill set your children will learn from this will serve them well in every other aspect of their lives - if they can negotiate with a sibling, doing so with bosses, roommates, and spouses hopefully won't be so challenging.

Hold your ground.  Keep a little of your sanity intact.  Sit back, and let the compromising start.