Thursday, May 03, 2007

No Longer Laughing In The Face Of Routines

I've always thought of myself as pretty spontaneous. I like to up and go shopping on Saturday with my family, having no particular place to go, just groovin' around and seeing what there is to see. I enjoy road trips, especially when you stop at random places along the highway (like seeing the World's Largest Hamster), and I like to call friends up at night and have them come over just to watch TV (McFaddin's, this means you). I like to try new things, visit new places and meet new people.

But it seems that in my self-analysis, I forgot one tiny detail. I am SO not spontaneous.

You see, I know that every Saturday we are going to do this "shopping/driving with no endpoint" thing. I know that when I go on a road trip that I will try to stop at least once to see something new. And I love the thought of having a standing every Friday night friends come over to hang out and be spontaneous thing. Which, technically, is plans, not spontaneity.

I also overlooked my penchant for planning and organizing. SO not hallmarks of a spontaneous person. If you want details, just check my computer for my plans for our trip to England two years ago. I literally have 15 pages of planning. I also have no junk drawer in my home. Not one.

Added to all this, is my never ending quest for the perfectly run home. You know, the ideal balance between fun and Martha Stewart. I have spent countless hours reading about notebooks, methods, charts, graphs, routines, and card systems that will make my home be in perfect order with nary a toy out of place. Does that sound spontaneous? Yeah, I didn't think so.

What got me thinking about this was that in the last few weeks I have unconsciously become much more spontaneous. We haven't been eating dinner at the same time each night and bed time and nap time have been whenever other activities were over and the kids were just ready to crash. I did chores when I felt like it, not on any time table. I haven't been painstakingly packing the diaper bag before each outing, just grabbing and going. I've stayed up WAY past my bedtime and I've slept in quite late. Grocery shopping and errands have been thrown in when there was time, and I've been meeting friends at random times without planning.

And you know what? I can not STAND it!! I can't live like this, guys!! I'm cranky, the kids are cranky, and when that happens, who in the world wants to come over and be spontaneous with us anyways?

I had this moment of revelation sometime yesterday. I realized that the reason the kids were driving me insane in unprecedented levels was that none of us had any idea what was coming next at any given moment. Maybe it was snack time, maybe it was nap time, maybe it was a car ride that turned into a three hour ordeal. Who knew?

So I brazenly threw away the girl I thought I was. I threw away all the notions I had built in my head of who I was in college and how I wanted to stay that way. I threw away all the sounds around me of people saying that routine is boring and that living life to the fullest means always being ready for something new and exciting. I embraced my boring, day-to-day life, and hit the road running.

Last night, I quietly got myself and my family ready for the next day while the kids and David slept. I laid out breakfast dishes and cereal boxes, I packed Tot's lunch and David's snacks. I laid out clothes for all of us, and I started drying a load of laundry. I did the dishes, threw out the trash, locked the doors and turned off the lights. Then, at only 9:45pm, I got in bed, did my nails (I'm SO working on this), and watched some TV before laying down to go to bed at 10:00 pm, my holy bedtime hour.

At 6am this morning, it was like a new day had begun. Technically, it had, of course, but I'm speaking metaphorically, so go with it. I was able to eat a quiet, normal breakfast with just Dave and I, the kids woke up nicely and had breakfast. And while music played in the background, my morning rolled along just as I had planned it last night. And it was lovely. Normal, expected, and lovely.

So, my dear Readers, my point was this. All along, I had thought I was one way while completely ignoring that I had grown into totally different joys and preferences. It's nice to be spontaneous once in a while. But I have learned in my few weeks of absolute chaos, that while I may not be spontaneous anymore, I am most definitely still Unsinkable.

And really, what's better than that?


April Spicer said...

Amen sister!!Hooray for routines!! Hooray for plans!! Hooray for KNOWING WHAT THE HECK YOU ARE DOING WITH YOUR LIFE!!! While there are certain times to be spontaneous (and don't lose those) there is NO SUBSTITUTE for having your life in some kind of order. Trust me, kids sure as heck won't provide it, so someone has to. Love this post. Good for you.

Sarah said...

I'm the same way, girlfriend. I feel much better when I'm organized and on the ball...I don't do as well just "rolling with the punches".

The Aubrinator said...

What's wrong with planning?! Nothing!! I love to plan, orgnize and make hundreds of lists. And you know what? I think it is MORE relaxing to be very planned out and organized. If I know all the plans, schedules and contigencies, I can enjoy everything much more than if I don't know what we're doing tomorrow or this evening.

Robin, nothing too flashy about me! said...

I think that this post is hilarious because I am the exact opposite. I really dream of being a planner, an organized person, but that is just not me! I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal! I however, hate being spontaneous and would love to just isn't in my blood I guess!

Cat said...

An absolutely perfect post! I don't know a mom who couldn't appreciate those thoughts.

Kyla said...

Franklin Covey is like heaven to me...there are so many different ways to organize and plan your day. I am currently using a beuatiful tangerine leather organizer and my favorite time of the day is when I sit down to plan out the next day!!! I even use little stickers

Sarah said...

So dearest Unsinkable, I tagged you for something on my blog. (5/4)

Cash Girlz said...

I admire you planners. You are inspiration to me. You handle life instead of life handling you. I am like robin, no matter how hard I try to plan I end up flying by the set of my pants. At least I think they're my pants. Our house is a bit out of sorts. Keep up the planning and pray for us fliers.

Patty H. said...

Ooh! I've been out of my routine for far too long also. I've tried several times to get back on it but then "life" happens and it messes it up agian.
Of course, staying on the computer 2 hours of the morning has nothing to do with it, right? Not!! It has a lot to do with it.
Anyway, glad things are going smoothly for you.
Patty H.

Sara Kay said...

Reading old stalker-ish of me... :)

We have lots in common...among the things, I was also raised Church of Christ and have two kiddos.

I love routines also, and attempt to live by them. We're all happier when we do. What do you do though, when they just don't work that day? When somebody decides they are NOT going to sleep on time, or you need to do something fun for your own sanity, etc? I find myself getting upset when that happens, and it's so counterproductive for me. Arg.

I really appreciate your upbeat, unapologetic perspective on raising kids. I tend to get discouraged and worry too much about other people's opinions. Your blog is a breath of fresh air!