I am a planner. I know I’ve said this in previous posts, but I mean I”m a serious planner. I plan out what I”m going to wear every day and lay out my clothes the night before. I plan my meals for the week. I even decide ahead of time which days I’m going to get up early to exercise. I think calling myself a planner is not even a true self encompassing description of all my oddities. I am also a creature of habit. I take the same route to work every day. I listen to the same radio station. I eat the same breakfast (unless I’ve pre-planned a change).
The more chaotic my life gets the more I feel the need to plan everything and I need to stick to my routines. When I look back on some of the most stressful times of my life, for example exam times when I was in University or when I went through a particularly tough break up with an ex boyfriend, my need for structure was at it’s peak. It’s almost my way of keeping control of things when I feel like certain aspects of my life are waving out of control.
When things start to stray from my planned path it effects me drastically. My fuse gets shorter, my mind races, I have a hard time focusing and I even have been known to get nauseous.
Even as I write this out I am fully aware of how crazy this makes me sound. It’s not something that is easy for me to admit to. I used to spend a good amount of energy trying to hide the fact that I wasn’t a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl. Now that I”m older and a parent I’ve learn to accept that this is just one of my things. I own this wacky side of myself and try to work with it rather than fight it.
The hard part of this is that life with children is very chaotic. It’s very difficult to plan and you have to be used to things going astray. This afternoon for example, I tried to leave the house to go shoe shopping for the kids and finally after much struggling to get them into their current shoes, ensuring that I had a diaper bag with all the necessities for Ms. J and getting a snack for both of them to nibble on in the car, I get them both in their car seats and am ready to go when Mr. T. announces that he has to pee! Are you kidding me??? I’m stressed because of the struggle I just faced but also because I see the time and we’re cutting it close to lunch time. I worry that we don’t even have time for this shopping trip as I get Mr. T out of the car seat and back into the house for his potty break.
These types of incidents are difficult for me because of my need for structure. The difficult part of parenting, or should I say the difficult part for me, is that while you actually must have some structure you need to keep in mind that things will always stray from the plan. It’s a catch 22 because kids need to have a routine, structure makes them feel safe. Yet at the same time your best laid out plans will be destroyed by potty breaks and tantrums.
So here I am, trying my best not to let these things throw me for too much of a loop. I am trying so very hard to keep my cool when Mr T. is calling me from the bathroom yelling “mummy I’m done!” and Ms. J is mid crying fit because she doesn’t want me to put her down all while the smoke alarm is going off because something fell into the element while I was cooking the other day and I forgot to take it out! I’m learning that the fact that my life is full of chaos doesn’t make me a bad mother, it’s a normal part of family life.I can’t be the only mother in the world who is living this even though at times I feel like I am. It’s really the way I handle this chaos that matters the most. Letting this get to me and make me crazy is not going to make the chaos magically disappear so I just have to learn to work with it.
I keep telling myself that there is going to come a day where I will miss this crazy frenzy of activity that is my life. For now I will embrace the organized chaos of each day and know that this is all a result of my beautiful family and I wouldn’t trade it for all the monotony in the world.