Friday, August 12, 2011

The Undomestic Goddess Confesses

I've spent no small amount of time poking fun of the corner of the blogosphere caught up in the written schedule / life organization craze - by the way, I jest in fun, loving you adorable, if insanely OCD, planners as I do. Even the New York Times is getting into the obsessively organized fun. Truth be told, there's just enough former lawyer, Type A-Minus left in me to wonder whether you all and your Mom Life Schedule Agenda Planners of Obsessive Doom might be onto something.

Yes, that's right. Call it Stockholm Syndrome or just too much time out of the organizational trenches, but you've got me questioning whether my current scheduling scheme of the occasional note scribbled on a (monogrammed, obvs.) cocktail napkin & iPhone calendar is enough to be pulling my wifely weight here at Pretty HQ. Are my jests concealing jealousy at the scheduled lives those perfect planners imply?

Maybe. The thing is . . . this isn't at all a complaint, but - being a wife to the senior associate BigLaw firm-y Anonymous Husband requires a certain - ok, total - flexibility. I'm hugely proud of him & grateful for the many benefits of the job, the chief of which allows me to comfortably do this stay-at-home mom gig. I realize what a privilege this SAHM thing is, and I'm truly thankful - yes, icy hearted me, thankful - for it. On the flip side, the AH & I have no idea if or when we'll see one another from day to day; if a deal lands, there go our evenings & weekends, let alone family dinners, for the foreseeable future. An 8-5 gig it isn't, I knew that when I signed on to the marriage, and no amount of meal planning or other housewifely magic can change that.

That being said, under the pre-child Pretty administration, such flexibility was easy for me (e.g., the one not killing herself working a bonkers schedule) wife-wise . When I had those impromptu evening hours to myself, I could run off to the gym, a League meeting, or happy hour; I'll leave you to surmise which of those was more likely. Of course I missed the AH on the nights & weekends he had to work late, but I'm enough of a recovering introvert to have enjoyed the occasional night of Single Secret Behavior - ie, "Sex & the City" re-runs and mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner - to myself. Plus, on the off chance he was able to make it home after all, it was easy enough for me or him to pop out to grab dinner at any hour.

Of course, with Master P life has irrevocably changed - for the better, naturally, but it isn't as easy to incorporate the AH's fluctuating schedule with a toddler's relatively static one (and can I get an "AMEN!" for said toddler finally being on a predictable schedule?). The grocery store runs - or, more frequently, takeout runs - that used to only involve two now must take three into consideration, one of whom may or may not be home to eat any of it. Any such trips, of course, now must occur sometime during my wee darling dictator's waking hours. And, lest you fear this wacky schedule means a nutritional deficit for Master P, let me assure you that no toddler in the whole of hippy-dippy Austin dines from a more organic, freely traded, cage-chemical-taste free menu than soy-milked he*. His fancypants food (ie, cruelty-free grilled cheese sandwiches) gets eaten, but if I get too ambitious planning on the AH being home for dinner, I'm unhappy to admit we then have groceries that go to waste.

*With glaring exceptions such as this morning, when my wee darling tot insisted on a breakfast of milk & oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (baked with organic dark brown sugar!). He may look just like "Dada", but he's all moi...

I confess there are times when my need to just take care of one other person at a time is lovely, the days when, after putting Master P to bed (to crib?), I can cuddle up with my laptop & selfishly revert to the aforementioned SSB. On the other, manicured hand, most days I'd prefer to be cuddling up to a live human husband - preferably mine, I hasten to add - with whom I can have a conversation. Missing adult chit-chat is one of the admittedly few downsides of this SAHM business, and at the end of my 12-hour mommy shift, I pine for it *even more* than mint chocolate chip ice cream. Usually. Sometimes.

Hence my day-to-day housewifery schedule is just that - day-to-day. While at times the fluctuating nature of our evenings can be frustrating, it's another part of the new normal I'm learning to embrace. I get the housewifey stuff done - the bills are paid (scheduled on computer within a day of arrival, ideally), the laundry is washed (if not well, it's done), the house is cleaned (with bi-monthly help, I gratefully add) - and try not to worry that I don't have it all perfectly planned out. Appointments go in the iPhone, and other errands & such manage to get done, usually without my having to scribble down reminders.  Life is simpler, and better, now.

My Mom Life Planner Agenda Schedule of End Times may happen yet, once the AH logs a few more years at work & Master P gets a little older - and assuming my inner lawyer rears her unduly organized head again. Until then, I'll continue to be here inspiring you with my . . . um, my, uh . . . impressive pile of to-do stuff? Sparkling wit - or some other word ending in "-it"?

For those reading my to-do list here: yes, learning how to operate the damned Apple TV on those Single Secret Behavior nights is a task I've yet to master. The AH installs the technology, and I call him repeatedly to learn how to use it.


Lisa said...

YES. Yes. That's my life. To a T. I no longer plan to feed my husband, we are a mostly meatless dinner family now (except for Mondays, when I make chicken nuggets. We also eat a lot of pancakes for dinner.). Around 5 pm I call my husband and remind him to eat dinner at a reasonable hour. If we are lucky he will not work on Saturdays. He always bills at least six hours on Sundays.

I appreciate the paycheck, but I preferred when we were poorer but I saw my husband more than one day a week.

Meagan said...

Ha! Thanks for sharing what I've been feeling. Yeah, the mom agenda is great....but I just can't do it, yet. We're still trying to figure this whole toddler/stay-at-home mom thing out. When I was working, I prided myself on my, I almost like to have some fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants days...makes me feel alive. Well done.

Wendy said...

OH you make me laugh. I'm caving into the craze. I actually bought a three ring binder today. There's nothing in it yet, but I've convinced myself if I create one of these crazy binders, life will become rainbows and puppy dogs all day long. Is that too much to expect from a binder?

Lauren @ Adventures of a Southern Newlywed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren @ Adventures of a Southern Newlywed said...

I had to laugh at your post! I love meal planning and do organize my weekly meals, but I'm with you on the never-ending stack of papers!

Maybe if I could hire one of these ladies to help me get a little more organized... I'm fairly organized at work but home is another story!

I hope y'all have a great weekend!

thepreppyprincess said...

This one had me laughing aloud, I can very much identify in many respects. (What, Tilly doesn't equal the Young Master of Planet Pretty in your mind...?!) It's odd how many hundreds of planners/daytimers/agendas we sell, many of them boxed up with cases for laptops and iphones, so not everyone is doing that electronic calendar thingy.

It's hard to do a calendar when you have to be, or want to be flexible. I know that all the over here on Planet Prep. Sigh.

Sending you a smile,

Carly Anne said...

I am totally unorganized without a good motivator. Like, for example, the sheer terror I experienced on a daily basis during my PR-firm days. I didn't realize I was, in a reality, a mess of a person until said fear was removed. Funny...

In any event, I prefer the mess.

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