Friday, August 10, 2012

Plans vs. Reality

There’s so much I want to do. In my mind, I make plans. I have so many ideas, and I have so many great things I want to do. As I sit at my desk, as I drive in my car, I think of all the things I could be doing if only I was home. I don’t know why I always have a "aaaah" vision of the evening when I get home from work. I’m thinking calm, cuddly moments, or the kids quietly playing as I tackle a project. I picture being super productive once the kids are in bed, when I can actually get a lot done. But reality hits when I actually walk through the door. While I’ve been planning my evening, the children have been waiting for my return. They’ve been waiting to greet me, to kiss, me to hug me, to tell me about their day, to show me all their accomplishments. So picture three mini tornadoes hurdling at my feet as I walk through the door. Picture those tornadoes producing not wind, but squawks of “Mama! Mama!” over and over and over again. I don’t know where to turn my head first, I don’t know who to kiss first and I don’t know whose question to answer first. So I do a sweep of all three and try to catch everyone in the biggest hug possible. In the two hours I have before the kids go to sleep, I run a marathon of juggling all the requests flying at me, and my accomplishments are generally the same every evening: nothing from my mental list. I am mentally torn into pieces from the moment I show my face to the moment the kids go to bed. Once the kids are in bed, I vaguely remember my mental list, and half-heartedly wish I had the energy to complete just one task on that list as I flop onto the couch with a book.
Maybe my problem is the mental list. Maybe I should write down everything I want to do, and feel that sense of accomplishment when I can cross off at least one thing off the list (for those of you who are like me, and like to cross things off, it helps to break down things into specific tasks so if you don’t finish the whole thing, at least you can cross off the steps leading up to the finished product). Or maybe I should write down all the things I actually did do that weren’t on the mental list, like eating dinner as a family, working with Son and Daughter to clean off the table (Baby also brings his plate to the sink), showing appreciation for the various crafts Daughter created while I was gone, and encouraging Son to tell me about his day. If we’re lucky (aka I’m not too tired), we work on our reading and math skills, and might even fit in learning a new note on the piano. Maybe I shouldn’t focus on all the things I didn’t accomplish and focus on what I did. Every family is its own unit, and every family works things out their own way. I need to stop comparing myself to other family units and nurture my own. I need to embrace the fact that we’ll have laundry baskets in our bedroom, our walls will remain unpainted, but at least our children will have memories of their mother dancing in the rain with them. Literally. My hair is still wet!