Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Count Down to 40 - Go With the Flow

I think I may have mentioned a time or two that I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort. I never really minded this - and really, I had to abandon this mentality to such an extent while in college, raising Meg, working at least 2 jobs at a time, that I embraced the living daylights out of it once I graduated. I married Douglas, graduated from college and became a stay at home mom. I had two+ kids and suddenly, I was FREE! I could plan my days and nights as I wished  - and I did. I embraced my inner hobo - often not getting dressed in real clothes, or doing much of anything other than playing with babies and barely keeping the house going. I had my bursts of cleaning and whatever, and things that just had to be done, but for the first time in years, I was actually free to do as I pleased most of the time. And I did as I pleased - with our non-existent budget, with time, and with household duties. I worked hard at being disorganized.  (I am starting to wonder why Doug kept me around!)

As time went on, and we had more babies, and began homeschooling, some, but certainly not all, or even most, of this changed. I went to my mom and dad's for dinner whenever I wanted, which was often (Doug worked afternoon shift). I played with babies, I watched tv. (Have I mentioned that I really like tv? I miss tv!)Well this went on for years and years, homeschooling, puttering around the house, and eventually I started working for TKG. Another time constraint, but I LOVED being part of my brother's fast growing company, and I loved contributing to the household.

Then - last fall we decided to enroll the kids in an online school. We weren't getting enough school done, we needed structure (ya think?), and I needed to not have to plan every little thing out. We enrolled 5 students. By the end of September I knew that this was KICKING my butt. I couldn't do it - we were doing school for 9 or 10 hours a day. So, I withdrew Luke, who was a young 5 anyway, as he was just not getting it - he wasn't ready. Going forward from there, we had 4 students, and were still doing school for far too long each day. We now have a pretty good handle on things, and Luke is starting to do some of the sweet little activities I have done with all my kindergarteners. We are now learning how to go-with-the-flow.

You might think there is not a lot of difference between flying-by-the seat-of-your-pants and going-with-the-flow. Maybe on the outside looking in, there's not. Flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants implies a certain irresponsibility, and the freedom to be so. Its an inherent quality to the whole flying attitude, while going-with-the-flow is more of a "I'm going to relax about the things that don't matter" kind of attitude. I mean, we are still messy. There is still laundry everywhere all the time. We don't get to go to my folks' for dinner whenever we want (and not as much as I would like, honestly). But, I am learning to get small tasks done in small amounts of time. We are totally kicking school patooty, and our budget is rapidly getting under control. While we aren't running around as much as we used to, I am starting to let go of other things that I used to clamp down on, while getting more organized in other areas. We are playing, painting, making silly pretend soup (and I am not freaking over the 25 cents of wasted groceries), and I have let go of what color socks the boys wear to church (mostly). It' bizarre, I know. I didn't/don't care about laundry, or perfect housekeeping, or developing the perfect budget. I did/do care about what socks and shoes they all wear, perfect parties with plenty of food, and whether or not there is enough produce in the house at all times. Oh yeah - and all my hanging clothes have to point in the same direction, with the hanger facing in. I don't know why. The floor can be a mess, but all the hangers have to point the same way. And all my movies and cds are arranged by genré, not alphabetically. Actually, that's how I organize everything. Someone please explain this to me!

Little by little, I think I am growing up. I know that there are things that have to be done, and I am learning to not let my knee jerk reactions rule me. This will stun those of you who know me well - but while I have planned all Kenzie and Kolbe's party for their sacraments (in May), I have not yet ordered a darn thing. I sent the invitations, but I am not harassing anyone for RSVPs (yet). This is progress, baby! I have even seen a few conversations going on in different places, and knowing that I could not sway the participants, I did not join the discussion. Also progress, as I would normally jump in, rail at whomever with facts, figures and quotes from the Bible, and ignore the kids all night while I did so. Now, I am not saying that I won't still do that sometimes, because honestly, sometimes it needs to be done, but I'm going to be much more selective where I chime in. Progress. Going with the flow. It's about time, don't you think?

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