Monday, June 13, 2011

Scheduling Love: How Do You Make Room For Everything That Matters?

Ever's six months now, and regular life- however irregular- has begun to sink back from it's bloated with joy we just had a baby oh god she's sick now she's in the hospital now we're home now my hours are cut at work now I have different hours every week now they aren't now they aren't... phase and into life. And I'm in over my head, sweet bloggy friends, oh hells.
If I was web savvy, I'd like to make an old school idea storming bubble, with the central bubble being something like Our Successful Family and all of the offshoot bubblets being all of the ways that our family runs. Right now my bubbles would include: ( I'm including what we were doing before school got out )
Daddy makes dinnerMommy puts Ever Elizabeth to sleep at 7-7:30Lola homework 5pm, shower, dinner, no TV before 7pmFriday Night Family Night ( usually take- out and a movie we all watch- we used to play board and card games but since ee's birth we haven't )
Every other Wed. Lola has Girl Scouts
Dakota bass lessons Monday at 7pmMommy writes ( hours undefined, but I'd say 1 to 3 hours a day wherever schedule allows ) Lola practice math/reading/writing ( evening )
Saturday 'out' day, in afternoon we often run errands all together or go to park, bookstore, a family birthday party, etc.
Sunday lazy day ( which still means laundry, dishes and bills to be dealt with ) OR Sunday chore day THEN lazy day ( used to always be chore then lazy until ee birth )
Mommy's lunch break= picking up kids, making phone calls
Daddy bedtime 8-9pm ( wakes at 5:30am )Mommy bedtime either never get back up from nursing ee @7pm or around 10pm
Lola bedtime has been embarrassingly inconsistent since ee birth. Between 9-10pm.
Dakota walk dogs daily Lola feed cats daily Mr Curry picks up Ian every Friday

That's what I can think of. The challenges:
1 My schedule is ALL OVER THE PLACE. My work schedule changes every week. Some days I'm 7-1pm, some days 7-4pm, somedays 8-5pm. This week, for instance, I'm 7-1 today, 7-4 Thursday and 8-5 every other day.

2 Mr. Curry's schedule is almost as bad. His line of business has no 'hours' so he's off to work the same time but can come home anywhere between noon to fivepm, on average. Over the summer he can get home as late at six or sevenpm, and be working 12 and 13 hour days.

3 My writing output cannot slow. Now is the time to grab on tight and not let go, for me to make a living writing. I have great momentum going with various projects and some new offers on the horizon. I'm also trying desperately to finish my novel, Agitate My Heart.

4 There is no housecleaning or chore schedule/responsibility list anymore. This means it's done on the fly when someone thinks of it and can do it. This means our house is a mess most of the time. Of course, that's not the 'only' reason, the real reason is that obviously it's not a priority. But I want it to get done! Just not at the expense of my writing, or time with the family (where the kids are not moping or groaning) or sleep. Hahah!! I know. I'm funny.

5 I'm not getting enough one on one time with Lola. We talk in the car after school, we talk in bed at night for a half hour, we snuggle, we spend Friday Night Family Night and Saturday all day all together, but it's scattered, rushed, not focused, and often on Saturdays I spend the morning on the computer. I want to make better use of that time, which to be honest, has been hard because I've been mildly depressed since ee was born ( I always am after a baby ) and zoning on the computer makes the noise in my head stop. I also do get actual work done during that time, but I know I could cut the time down maybe in half, and use the leftover to be with Lola or to clean? Or get exercise?

6 There is no time ( in the thought bubbles above ) for extras that are still important, like organizing the massive amounts of paperwork that have to do with the kids and school, activities, insurance and etceteras or answering non essential emails or watering my poor plants.

7 I avoid doing chores and paperwork because it's so hard/stressful to do them with ee around. Mr. Curry and I, as I mentioned, aren't on the same schedules, so we arrive home at different times, and usually he gets home after I do right now, and is exhausted, and goes straight to making dinner. After dinner he watches ee so I can hurry up and write, and then I take her back and do bedtime with the girls while he eats and talks to Dakota or picks up a bit and then he's off to bed. There isn't much budge room for him taking ee so I can clean, and he's really exhausted and often doesn't clean up from making dinner, because he's holding ee!

Whew.
So please, as I work on this, share ideas with me- what's worked in your family?
gojirama said...

I know I always say this to the other mamas, but your older kids really need to be doing more chores. Matthew is 14 and he cooks every week- all three of the kids do dishes and laundry. Both my husband and I refuse to clean the toilet because we do not piss all over it. The boys do that.

starrlife said...

Not to be irreverent but the answer is to wait on housework until Ever is 1!
I can only give you a hug since I'm exhausted with one child, working 9-5 M-F, hubbie working weekends/nights, sports/homework, family long distance and no visible means of support myself.
I thought I would just curl up and die until she was 1 and I adjusted to the new compartmentalized life. You are doing great- the trick is to not wear your glasses in the house,just let the time breeze by and don't overfocus on what you're not able to do. Doing the best you can girl!!! Whew- now the couch beckons!

Jo said...

I just have to tell you how much I admire you. You are such a loving mother, and such a creative soul.

When I was younger I thought I'd have a family by this point in my life...and now that I'm "at this point", the likelihood seems less and less as I grow more and more selfish with my time.

I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know, in case no one's told you today (but, I bet they have) that you are amazing!
xox

femamom said...

Oh boy Maggie, this is a hard one because you have such a little baby. I actually went to a panel discussion about mothering and writing - and one of the panel members (do you know essayist Dani Shapiro?) couldn't come because her kid was sick. Serious! My sanity is babysitters. As in mother's helpers who will sit for 45 minutes with babe or family members or paid person to help. Also remember quality not quantity and snuggling with Lola sounds pretty good to me in the Q department.

Lone Star Ma said...

Not much has, so, I'll just send loving thoughts...and the reassurance that I still have loving and creative and brilliant kids even so.

ART RESUSCITATION said...

im coming out of blogging hibernation to say GO FOR IT WITH THE BOOK!!! I'm sure life will change for you when the book gets out into the world. I have found that there is waves of terrible chaos on the housework front that reflect the need to achieve something big. its not pleasant but it won't be that way forever. i'm sure there will be plenty of time in the future to get ontop of the domsetic situation. i remember reading a theory about how we feel people judge the state of the family home as a reflection on the mother's mental health (somehow knowing this tendancy has helped me let go sometimes - helped me stop caring about what other epople think). don't be too hard on yourself, the book is so important and I'm sure by making sacrifices to complete it the forthcoming benefits will be well worth a period of not being a domestic goddess/perfect mother. GO MAGGIE!!!! can't wait to buy your book lots of love Claerwen xxxx

clearness said...

Do what's important. Don't worry about dusting. Dust will gather. Wash clothing cause you need them but throw all the lights in one huge load and then throw all the darks in another huge load. .......Don't worry about making beds, and it's okay to order out for pizza or chinese, bonus if you can score a great deal to make it a meal for 2 nights in a row.....there is no shame in plastic cups that you pitch after one use....and no shame in using plastic forks and paper plates.

And....thanks for nominating that post.

michelle said...

sorry maggie

nothing works here

total chaos

i bribed my boys to be more helpful with allowance. the "we're all part of the family and we all have responsibility" blah blah blah didn't work at all.

cash. and mcdonalds

bad mommy

xoxoxo

silverfinofhope said...

I'm going to echo gojirama and say perhaps you and Mr. Curry and the kids can come up with a chore schedule if you haven't already. One of my best friends has a blended home (six year old, two teenagers) and every single one of those kids has a few basic, daily chores. It's usually dishes and sweeping the floor type of stuff (but not too much as they do have music/band related stuff during the summer months and school year).

I guess from myself the only advice I have is to breathe. It's all I do to cope...and I'll quote my favorite songwriter Dan Bern who says, "...stop what you're doing and breathe." It works for me every single time. I stop worrying about mess, expectations, clutter, dinner, worry, worry over writing, etc. etc. the moment I take those few seconds to Stop and Breathe.

Marion said...

I think back to when my girls were small and I worked full-time and ran them all over the place and cooked, cleaned, etc. I do not know how I did it all, really. My husband worked 2 and 3 jobs, so he was seldom home except to eat/sleep for a few hours. But it all worked out, somehow.

My girls had chore charts and I taught them to cook, do laundry, clean, etc. when they were like 7 or 8 years old. They both got jobs as soon as they were old enough and I "let" them buy their own clothes. We bought them junker cars and they had to pay for their own gas/insurance. I'm very happy to say it paid off and they're both responsible, loving school teachers. They bitched and moaned about working at the time (but my friends don't have to work...my friends all have NEW cars!), but later thanked me for teaching them responsibility.

Priortize, delegate and don't worry about the small stuff. Definitely get your writing done. I completely neglected mine those years and deeply regret it. Take it one day at a time, do the best you can, then carry on!!

Love & Blessings,
Marion

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." ~Phyllis Diller

trashcanhead said...

Ha! I work mornings, my husband works nights. We never see each other. Our baby is seven months old now. Our house has never been a bigger disaster. I have to wake up at 3 am. I get home at 1 pm. He sleeps until 2 pm. He goes into work at 3 pm. He gets home at 11 pm. I never get to sleep. I have never been so tired.

I feel like it wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't under a fog of depression.

I just focus on the fact that it wont always be this way. I wont always be waking up at 3 am. She wont always need my boobs all night. One day, I will get eight or so hours of sleep, solid, straight through.

I have goals too, like yours that I struggle to keep up with. I want to go back to college and get a job teaching. It was my goal, but I dropped out seven years ago. Spent the last eight years or so struggling through anxiety and depression so bad that I couldn't leave my house alone. Now, there's this baby, and I just have to be more clear headed and focused, for her, but all I want to do is lay on the couch and watch bad television shows all day.

I think you're really doing fine. In a few more months, things will get back to more order, right? When Ever isn't so tiny, Lola will get her mamma back. It's going to be okay.

For now, I have no advice. I'd just like to come and hold your hand.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Maggie, you just described almost exactly our existence right now. It is impossible to do it all but we do a pretty good job of making it, right? Our house has been gross since Oliver was born and it's true--just so hard to do chores with him crawling around! You said this perfectly. It ends up stressing me out.
Making time is always hard, and I am reading and commenting on fewer blogs these days. I enjoy them so much, but I don't have the time anymore.
Writing is your therapy. Making crap is mine. :)) We all have to do something and these things are important. I try to have one-on-one time with each child at least once a day, but some days some children are more needy than others and someone gets shorted.
Sending love your way and a nod to let you know you are not alone, my friend. xo

Radish King said...

Make yourself happy first. The rest will fall into place.

Jessica said...

just popping in here to say that I feel for you and it sounds like you are a loving mother and wife and haven't lost your own self and voice along the way, so I think you've got the big problems covered. The rest is less important.

Maggie May said...

sweet. i love these replies, the ideas (definitely thinking of what i'm going to ask the boys to contribute daily outside of you know, don't be a pig) and the encouragement to finish my novel. thanks!

Mo said...

Woman, you are singing my tune.

As in, pretty much exactly, except substitute "sewing" for your writing, and you have one more kid than I do.

*trying to embrace the chaos*

*sympathy hugs*

Elizabeth said...

I let everything go except for making beds (my boys required to make theirs!), plumping pillows and making neat stacks of the paperwork/shit. These three things keep chaos from spiraling out of control -- at least to the eye! Writing keeps the inner chaos from taking over -- that and meditation.

T. Clear said...

Here's how I coped when my boys were small (and dealing with major health issues with one of them + a difficult marriage): I took all the small piles of chaos and made one giant pile of chaos, then I shoved it over into the corner. I could ignore it, walk around it, thrown a blanket over it. A day would inevitably come when I could disassemble and sort the chaos, eliminate as much as possible, and, well, the cycle would begin again. But it helped. It really did.

Keep that sense of humor thriving, above all.

xo

(wv: slobi) (Ha!)

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