A Return to Self

I used to be an excellent organizer. I was one of those freaks that would color coordinate anything and everything.  If I could designate it a color and categorize it with other similar things I was in heaven. And don’t even get me started on my incessant need to alphabetize things. I worked in a library when I was younger and at Blockbuster Video during high school and college, to say that I alphabetize in my sleep is not exaggerating.

I used to love writing down and keeping a schedule down to the minute. It’s not that I was obsessive, if something happened and I couldn’t follow the schedule I never freaked out. In fact, I did quite the opposite; I got excited because it meant I got to make a new schedule. Ok, so that in itself could be considered a tad bit obsessive.

Scheduling gave me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of direction. Needless to say, I am not nearly as organized as I once was and I have but one excuse… well, two. They go by the nicknames of Peanut and Trouble. Yep, like most problems that happen in my life I blame my children, lovingly, of course. ;)

For years leading up to my pregnancies I’ve been told, “Once you have kids you’re on their schedule.” While those words of wisdom are true that didn’t mean that I should throw away years of organizational bliss. If anything, I should have stepped it up a notch. Instead, I threw the baby out with the bath water. Huh. Maybe I shouldn’t use that specific idiom but you get my drift.

As soon as my kids came I whole heartily gave my time to them, which was the right thing to do but at the same time I lost a lot of me in the process. I’ve since learned that losing a sense of self is very common for new moms.

I denied myself interests because I was told that your life is no longer your own but your children’s. Again, while there is some truth to that is not entirely healthy or sane.

In order for me to be the mom my kids deserve I need to be happy and there are several things that I need to do to accomplish that. First and foremost, I need to work out. I am a very active person and I always have energy to spare. It’s true that I get quite a workout running and playing with my kids, however that only pushes my muscles so far. I need to be able to push my body to its limits, feel the burn, so to speak. :D

Another must is being creative. I need to write, read, or create something on a daily basis. I love acting but with a young family paired with the time and dedication that goes with the stage I can’t feasibly participate now. But the written word? Yeah, I can squirrel away some time for that.

I also need to learn.  Yep, I’m one of those people. I surround myself with fairly intelligent, mostly older, people because I crave knowledge. I insist on keeping an open mind and the easiest way to do that is to see the world through other’s eyes. Education, information and picking up a new hobby accomplishes just that.

However, even with knowing all of this I wasn’t happy for awhile. Why? Because I didn’t manage my time to allow myself these little liberties. I was a mom. My job was to be a mom, not learn Italian, or take up Tarot Cards, or take a three hour spin class for charity.

Oh, how wrong I was.

When I finally realized that there is more to my life than just being a mom I tried to stuff as much life into the measly 24-hours the clock gives us. Then I became a bigger mess.

I found an old pocket calendar I used to keep and I wanted to use it to beat myself over the head. Duh. I used to be a master at organization, so why not dust off those highlighters and make a schedule?

I’ve looked at my day and found a way to have an hour workout (sometimes two hours), an hour for learning something, (somedays it’ll be an Italian lesson, others it will be my studies on the Tarot) and at least an hour for reading and writing all while being a mom to my girls.

Of course I’ll have to make some sacrifices, but for being a well rounded happy woman I’m willing to limit my time on Twitter and watching mindless tv. My mornings when the girls are in school, their nap time and bed times are all scheduled out for me with an hour at night when the entire family goes to the gym. Every other open time is for my family… or showering after all that gym time. ;)

And true to myself I designated each activity a different color. :) Check it out! I couldn’t get the entire day to fit on the screen, my nights end at 11pm. My weekends are my own to do whatever I need to do. I want to say they will be for extra reading or writing that I didn’t get done during the week but mostly they’ll be used for cleaning since I didn’t schedule any of that onto my calendar. Whoops. :)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “A Return to Self”

  1. Fallon Says:

    I love your schedule! I’m the same way, when I give everything to the kids and everyone else, I have nothing left for me. And I’m just a big mess then. I can get an hour in the morning before the kids get up, and I grab it. And I can get short bits of time during the day, including a short “rest time” for my 4 year old. then, it’s mommy time until they go to bed at night. It can be hard to fit everything into the time I have, but it’s so worth it because I feel like I’m a better mom and person when I get the chance to do what makes me happy.

    I also find that having a routine/schedule really helps me out. I haven’t actually put it on a calendar though. :) I do have spreadsheets, particularly for my writing, that help keep me organized though.

    I hope this new schedule really helps you out!

  2. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Hey Fallon! So far the schedule is a bust! LOL You know how they say you shouldn’t tell God your plans? Well they should add kids to that saying as well! Peanut woke up with pink eye! Just my luck, right? Just kidding, well, about it being a bust, not about the pink eye. I’m really hoping this helps, even if it just is a reference. No matter what, they come first, but if I can sneak these times away for myself then I will. We’ll all be happier in the end if I can.

  3. Elizabeth Ann West Says:

    Karen, I am on my ::grumble grumble: numbered system (I’ve lost count). But so far, Week 3, it’s WORKING! My house is clean. My writing is prioritized where it should be, and my family is happier (especially hubby since he’s coming home to a nice home, and apparently, that makes me super sexy LOL).

    Anyway, it’s a long explanation, but I have the non-schedule, schedule. I make a list of the week’s MUST dos, and then it’s a surprise each day what gets done. It SO appeals to the creative spirit in me, and that OCD organizer. Anyway, here’s a post about it and #mommyguilt http://cre8tivehousewife.blogspot.com/2012/02/mommyguilt-and-points.html

  4. Karen DeLabar Says:

    I’ve heard of the non-schedule schedule before. In a way I’ve kinda incorporated that… in my head at least. On my schedule is everything I need to do in a week, I made spots for them but they are forever changing. For instance, today, since Peanut is sick I already moved things around to make sure I fit them all in. Nothing I do is set in stone, that would be too confining, but if I don’t write it down I forget. And I like all the pretty colors. ;) Thanks for sending me the link! I’m going to brush up on it and since I’m forever changing my strategies maybe I can put more of the non-schedule schedule into my days. Thanks!

  5. Ashley Prince Says:

    I love the idea of schedules. Sadly, I rarely keep to them. For instance I have been trying to do a 30 day workout since February 12. I’m only on day 15. :(

    I blame my husband for this honestly. Lol. our schedules (work and school and such) don’t mesh well, so when we actually have time together, the last thing we want to do is be apart.

    I love this post. :) And as far as being one of “those” people, I am too. :) Isn’t it fun to learn?

  6. Karen DeLabar Says:

    I was actually thinking of going back to college but there is a lot of change already happening to our family right now if I want to embark on that journey, it’ll have to wait until the fall. Like I said above, this schedule is more for me to know the things I have to do, if I can’t get to them in their slot I at least know when I have some time to move things around. I’m still hoping that the dishes will magically wash themselves. ;)

  7. Jenna Says:

    We are better mothers when take care of and take time for ourselves. :-) Good luck with your organization plans. I’m a list person and it works well for me. I like to have list-free days as well in order to relax.

    Jenna

  8. Karen DeLabar Says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Jenna! Yes, I believe the best mothers are the ones that take some time for themselves. This particular schedule is still very new for us but I find that the time I now spend with my children I’m more relaxed and more playful. We’re all supermoms. :)

Leave a Reply