Time Management

All my life I have praised myself for my incredible ability to structure my day and activities into neat little categories of time that allow for the accomplishment of tasks and leave ample room for fun and relaxation. I sit down every night and list my to-do’s and see where they can fit in during the week. Usually I only list 4 things per day, and many times I would even add to the side (lay down for ten minutes and nap), or, eat ice-cream and “smile.” Yes I was that detailed. But apparently there are others as crazy as myself since I saw a book at Barnes and Noble called “listography”, wholly dedicated to this habit of mine.

Since the birth of my daughter 8 months ago I have continued to write lists. Now they are even shorter though. Where on day used to be filled with laundry, grocery shopping, a workout and a full house vacuum, now the list simply says “laundry and pay bills”. And that is certainly enough for one day because in between those tasks there’s feeding, diaper changes, naps, etc.  This has worked pretty well for me. I love the feeling of marking off the task on the list and feeling accomplished. It’s great for my self-esteem; it means I’m productive and organized. On the weekends I never make lists and my days are open for anything, but ironically those days have proven to be the most anxiety-ridden for me b/c I get extremely bored and restless.

Recently, I haven’t been able to follow my lists at all. I am unmotivated and feel that everything gets interrupted so if I do make a list, it doesn’t get done and I feel like a failure. Just yesterday I spent 2 hours trying to get my daughter to take just one nap, and after all of that I was just too exhausted to worry about dishes. I just wanted to sit and stare at the TV. Too often I find myself slipping away from organized days. Now when I wake up with my daughter I feel lost. How do we play? What should we do all day? I feel that my daughter grows bored of the same few toys and games we play.  I’ve danced with her, took her on a picnic, took her to library story time, sign language classes, etc. Things just seem to get expensive and many times it feels like I spend more time researching and planning the activity and it doesn’t always even seem worthwhile. It turns into more of a stressor at times.  Seeing that I am a military wife and my husband is only here on the weekends, entertaining my daughter can be an exhausting task all by myself. Perhaps I am just getting really burn out.

All in all I’m still unclear as to what life as a SAHM is for me.  Do I need to let it be unstructured messy fun? What if all my lists are just sucking all the joy and spontaneity out of life with a beautiful baby?

I just can’t decide. I know deep down that I want a clear and focused perspective on my new role and lifestyle. Many days I wonder how other SAHMs feel about their daily life. Do they just wake up and live life without plans? Do they rush around from activity to activity? Where is the balance in this life…I feel that I could slowly become the mom who watches too much TV, drinks too much coffee and eats too many drive-thru meals. I just don’t know.

Stay at Home Mondays

We recently added a new event to our schedule: Stay at Home Mondays. The start of the week was being hard for us. Most often, we’d end up staying home anyway, but only after I felt like I’d failed to get us to the standing park playgroup Monday mornings with all our AP buddies, only after I’d imagined the grocery store trip we needed to make, and reviewed and been unable to accomplish anything on the errand and to-do list that had lengthened over the weekend.

I was feeling like maybe everyone else had figured out something I hadn’t; they had their weeks and time scheduled so they could get out of their homes more easily, keep a clean house and stocked fridge, manage their time and their things better than I could. That me vs. them thinking that inevitably leaves me coming up short while the rest of the world got some rule book I can’t seem to find. I posted on my blog asking for time management tips. I imagined setting up a routine for myself so that I would have a set menu-planning day, grocery day, cleaning day, etc. Then I started feeling hemmed in. I hate following schedules. I hadn’t even assigned days yet and already I wanted to tear up the calendar.

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