Monday, August 17, 2009

Listerine and List-Making

There a few times a year when the planning and organizing "bug" bites me. One is the last week or so of the year in preparation for a brand new start on January 1. Another is when school starts. I started teaching piano lessons while still in high school and have continued ever since, so even after I graduated my schedule was partially dictated by the school year. Now that I am homeschooling, my life is really dictated by the school year. And I love it! There is just a great feeling to starting over with that brand new planner or notebook or box of No. 2 pencils. I fill in the calendar, and make my to-do list and I feel in control of my life.

However, very often, after carefully planning, organizing and making my lists, things go so much differently than I had planned. I think it has something to do with being a mother. You who are not mothers can fill me in if it is the same for you, but I suspect it is due in large part to the unpredictability of kids.

For example, I got up early one morning last week and made a carefully planned list, complete with little boxes to check off. (Don't you love doing that?) I started working on my list and was doing it with gusto, until the phone rang. A few hours later, after 6 phone calls and breakfast, I was finally ready to jump in the tub. I was trying to get done quickly so I could get back to my list when I noticed my daughter's mouthwash on the bathroom countertop. It's that bright blue stuff that reveals all the plaque on their teeth to show them if they are brushing well and where they need to brush better. (Lovely thought, I know.) Anyway, I picked it up to put it away when the lid flew off. I guess she had just set the lid on top of the bottle and not screwed it on, but in my hurry I hadn't thought of that possibility. The bathwater I had started running became my mop water as I scrubbed blue off of the entire toilet, surrounding floor, tub and trash can (which was still full, of course). The good news was my toilet, though it might have possessed some other "grungies", did not have any plaque on it. The bad news was that I got back to my list at about 1:00 in the afternoon.

Do days like this suggest that I should ditch the list and just "fly by the seat of my pants skirt", so to speak? Sometimes it's tempting, but those days are even worse (don't ask me how I know this!). So, I continue to plan, organize and make lists, but I must realize that I dictate the list--it does not dictate me. Or rather, my kids dictate the list. But isn't that why I'm home in the first place?

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