time management

Maybe I’m just impatient. I think that’s why I’m not as loving a mom as I could be. Either way, Noah had a project yesterday and it drove me crazy.

He had to create a poster for the Cub Scout Pack meeting we had last night. We both knew about it weeks in advance. And I was prepared. I had the poster board and on the way home from school at 2 pm I told Noah that he needed to stay on track and finish his homework quickly so that he could have time for making the poster before the event at 5:30 pm.

Staying on track. sigh. Not one of his strong suites. Or Liam’s either. As soon as we walked in the door from school, I went upstairs and put Ray down for a nap. I was gone from Noah and Liam’s presence for about 5 minutes, maybe less. I came downstairs and found them on the floor, Noah had has arms locked around Liam’s neck, Liam was half laughing, half yelling and their things (backpacks, lunches, sweatshirts) were strewn across the room like someone had stood in the middle of the room and joyfully thrown everything as high as they could in the air. Total chaos …. how long as I gone??? I had to check, yep. Five minutes. In order to do this, they must’ve come inside and immediately gotten to work acting like maniacs.

We got them on track, putting away their things and …… PAUSE. I need to say something:

As I have been writing the past two paragraphs, things have fallen apart. It’s only 8:30 am and things are a disaster around here. I feel like this whole motherhood job requires one to be a certain kind of person, that I am not. Ya know how in job descriptions it says stuff like “self-motivated, Excel training a must” etc (I actually can’t even remember what job listings look like, but go with me here), I feel like motherhood has the requirement of being a morning person. A non-morning person cannot handle what needs to happen before 8 am. I get up at 7 am and that’s because Daniel has already gotten up with the boys at 6:30 am. I USED to get the boys up at 6:45 am but I couldn’t maintain that and it wasn’t enough time for them to get ready. It wasn’t enough time because they would get distracted and start playing with Legos. That’s why. We have to get them up 15 minutes earlier to account for their shenanigans. Anyway, 6:30 am??! I can’t handle that and be a happy person. So Daniel does it, but still. Being up at 7 am is not my bag baby. One of the reasons I struggle with motherhood is largely the sleep issue and the early mornings.

Beyond just being up (which is too much for me anyway) I have to deal with insane little creatures at 7 am. Reminding Noah and Liam what they should be doing, making lunches, making sure the boys don’t forget the basics (shoes, backpacks, lunches, water) but then I also have to make sure they’re prepared for tests for the day, homework in their bags and of course answer thoughtful questions Noah asks (he’s a morning person and his brain is awake and inquisitive at 7:15 am) and then I’m also keeping the boys from arguing. You might say, “you could cut out half of that by preparing the night before, by making lunches and checking backpacks”. Ahhhhh, yes, you’d think so. But last night was the scout thing that kept us out until bedtime and I was exhausted from yesterday’s events and went to bed at 9 pm! It’s one eternal round of prep work and reminders for these boys.

But things have fallen apart just while I’ve been writing. As I’ve been writing, I have had to get up 5 times to get things for Ray, who has decided that he’s no longer supposed to sit in his high chair, but he will now sit in the counter height chairs next to me, at the bar. He’s almost fallen out of the chair twice and he keeps yanking and leaning on my arms as I write. During the time I’ve been writing, Ray has also dropped an entire bowl of dry (thank heavens) cheerios on the floor. He’s also started walking all over the cheerios. So, during the time I’ve been writing, I’ve also had to stop and sweep the floor. During that time, Ray has been put in his high chair and he’s crying about that. He’s also started crying and asking for “more cheerios”. I told him they’re dirty because he dropped them all over the floor and he’s now mourning the loss. Crying and wailing in his high chair. Just while I’ve written the first two paragraphs.

But enough of that, back to time management. After much prodding, constant reminding and after finding both boys playing at 17 separate times and places, it was 4 pm and time to start the poster! I thought this would be the easy part. The homework part was hard enough. Just getting to this point was exhausting, now it was just time to write and draw a poster.

I read the description of what he needed to do: illustrate the Leave No Trace frontcountry guidelines. There were 6 guidelines. I left him to it and started working on things I was planning on doing for preschool on Friday at my house. I came to check on Noah 25 minutes later. The poster was empty and there he was, sharpening every last colored pencil and even some crayons (which are not supposed to go into the electric sharpener … but that’s another problem all together). I told him to stop sharpening and to get going on the poster. This time I stayed close, working on my project side by side Noah on the floor in the kitchen. I watched anxiously as he painstakingly used a ruler to write each letter of the first guideline: plan ahead. He spent probably another 15 minutes doing this.

Now, I am admittedly a bit of a control freak. Motherhood has only enhanced this issue because I feel like, “If I don’t do it, it won’t happen at all and we’ll be stuck up a creek without a paddle”. So, on projects like these, I try to stand back and let the chips fall where they may, to teach a lesson. But when it came down to the last half hour and Noah had nothing actually “illustrated” like the directions asked … I had to step in. I told him to divide 5 (the rest of the guidelines he had to illustrate) into 30 (the minutes he had left to accomplish this), he came up with 6. Six minutes per guideline. I had to time him from that point on. He’d ask how much time he had as he drew and I’d tell him. We did it. It was finished.

I never wanted to be one of those moms that “nagged” but man, nothing gets done. Speaking of nothing getting done ….. I gotta go.

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