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Tiaras and Trucks

Monday, August 15, 2011

Step Away from the Planner

Like sheep lithely clearing a fence in a picturesque meadow, my to-do list cycles through my head as I sink into my mattress each night.  It greets me every morning, reminding me of mundane tasks like steaming the floors and lovely treats like a day at the zoo for all four of us.

Abbey and Dylan are more than willing to participate in the fun outings but slightly less willing to check off things like “print out preschool information.”  

So after stories and kisses, stars projected on the ceiling and musical toys lulling my children to sleep, I throw my balls in the air, watching them spin up and down, my hands deftly catching and throwing, juggling with the few hours I have before climbing into my own bed.
Working through blog ideas on the treadmill while calculating weekly mileage in my head, I return home to comment and reply and read and write and schedule posts, tossing in laundry in between.
I curl my legs under me, settling into the couch to read a chapter or two of a book I’m reviewing or sometimes one I’m not, until thoughts of the parenting book languishing on the shelf guiltily creep into my consciousness, making it hard to concentrate. 
I pull out the preschool information, planning out my back-to-school plan of attack.  A lump forms in my throat, and I gently place those papers out of sight for another day. 
Ryan sits nearby, studying, working through statistical problems in penciled notes I can’t even begin to understand.
Check…I draw a line through one item, then scribble three more under the tasks left unfinished.
Red digital numbers glow in the dark when we finally get to bed, mocking us with the limited hours until Abbey awakes.
When Ryan suggested we take the night off to watch a movie on my birthday, I resisted, thinking of what I could accomplish in that same two hours.
Then I saw his eyes, impossibly blue and caring, the eyes of my best friend.

I closed the laptop, set aside my planner, still tense and worried about what I was leaving unfinished.
A few minutes ticked by; I made an effort to breathe, to relax.  Slowly, it stopped being an effort.
For that night, I wasn’t a blogger, a runner, a laundress.
I was laughing on the couch with my husband, fingers linked, unfinished lists forgotten.
Content.
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This post is part of a weekly link-up at Just Be Enough.  Please join us and share your story.

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46 Comments:

  • At August 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM , Anonymous frelle said...

    yes, being content, and having that time be sacred, worthwhile, and enough. Beautiful.  

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 9:36 AM , Anonymous Elena Sonnino said...

    What a beautiful thing--to shut down, unplug, and just be--with your hubby!  I know that Rocket wishes I would do this more!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM , Anonymous Mama Wants This said...

    What you described? We all need that. To ditch the schedules, the planning, the lists - and just be. 

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

    We've had to do this lately. Yesterday we were going to watch a movie and my husband said, "I have so much to do!!" and I had to say, what's more important...US or doing a bunch of tasks?? Great story..thanks for sharing!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 12:55 PM , Anonymous Mrs. Jen B said...

    I love this! It is SO tempting to use every extra second to get stuff accomplished.  You know, when Rob suggested we do dinner and a movie this past Friday, I too thought about what I could be accomplishing in that time.  Not to mention the conversation I'd be missing on Twitter.
     
    I'm glad we BOTH took the time to just BE.  :)  Now I need to remember that when we go to the shore - I promised I'd spend limited time on Twitter, email, etc so it could be "just us".  I'm getting a little twitchy just thinking about it, to be honest.

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

    I LOVE this girl! LOVE!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 2:48 PM , Anonymous ChiMomWriter said...

    Went to a BlogHer session about "unplugging" and why it's not only okay but important. We need it. Our families need it. And goodness knows the list is NEVER done anyway! I will have the TV on in the same room with my husband, but I can't remember the last time I actually put down the laptop to watch something with him. A great reminder!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous MamaRobinJ said...

    So lovely :) Funny how with all the things we do because we must or because we love them - the things that make up our daily existence - sometimes we feel the most like ourselves at times when we stop to do something else.

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 9:07 PM , Anonymous KindredAdventures said...

    I know exactly how you feel.  Reading your post felt like you were talking only to me and about my life too.  Soooo much to get done in our lives.  Husbands, children, home, work and we try to cram in blogging, tweeting, exercise and time to ourselves.  Where are all the hours????  Needless to say the importance of finding time to be a couple and/or just be is so very important!  -Lavenre 

    P.S. Hope you have many more finger linked nights!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 9:07 PM , Anonymous Mad Woman said...

    I love this!
    Please, reach through my computer and take it away from me.  Please, steal away my running shoes, my to do list and my crazy imagination. Teach me to be!

    What, you did it. Seriously. I need help! 

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 9:27 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, it's hard when there is so much going on, and all of it seems important.

    I hope we have more relaxing nights on the couch, too.  We're both busy, but it was fun to just shut everything down for a couple of hours!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 11:03 PM , Anonymous Amanda said...

    Fabulous! We all need nights like that. Cheers to evenings off and caring husbands!

     
  • At August 15, 2011 at 11:22 PM , Anonymous Elena @NaynaDub said...

    This is such a great post because it is so very important to unplug - even if it is for a movie. There are moments when I get so caught up in my to-do list and I forget to - cliche - stop and smell the roses. Glad you took the time out. It's always needed and well worth it.

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 3:21 AM , Anonymous Kimberly said...

    I love this. I need to unplug every so often to recharge and reconnect. I find myself so caught up in my to-do list that I neglect other parts of my life.

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Missy | The Literal Mom said...

    Wonderful.  And so important to take a night (or even a few days) off every now and then.  Especially on your birthday!  Happy Birthday to you, by the way!

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous Missy @ Wonder, Friend said...

    So fantastic. I love how well you said this, how beautifully you captured what's going on with so many women. It shouldn't be so hard to unwind and set aside the to-do list. But it is. Letting go of the guilt is key - that's what we should practice, rather than perfecting our multi-tasking! ;-)

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    You know, I don't have a planner, people buy them for me and I literally try for a week or so and then I just toss them, or put them in a drawer and forget them, I hate them. What, something we don't have in common??? :) but here's the thing, I am OCD and anal about things, I put our clothes out the night before, I like to know what we are doing Saturday, but I will toss it all away for a night away of snuggling anytime.

    I am SOOOOO glad you did this, that you allowed yourself that time with Ryan. You deserve it so much and guess what ??? that planner will be there when you get back. I promise. :)
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY month sweetie pie!!!!! xo

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM , Anonymous Amy said...

    This is wonderful and so hard to do at the same time! We all need to do it more.

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous My3LittleBirds said...

    This sounds oddly familiar : ) I struggle with this as well. I'm sure all parents do to some degree. 

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous The Girl Behind said...

    Gorgeous post - it's so important to make time for our partners (even those of us who aren't parents yet!).



    I was talking to a lovely friend about this on Saturday; since having
    children, she's had to really take the time to make sure that they spend
    time being a couple as well as being parents.

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM , Anonymous Lady Jennie said...

    Now you're talkin girl.  This is the best part!  (I would much rather do that than accomplish things on a list, but then I'm lazy).  ;-)

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    You are so organized!! I have to tell you I never make lists, because a.) they always get lost and b.) I feel guilty when I don't get the things on my list done. I do the exact same thing when I run, though...I can write whole posts in my head while I run.

     
  • At August 16, 2011 at 10:54 PM , Anonymous shellthings said...

    LOVE this! All those to-dos won't go away. Sometimes we have to see that other things are more important!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 4:19 AM , Anonymous Ranjeetha said...

    This was an eye opener...and I something that we need to keep in mind...take a break and relax...life is short and the lists can wait and can be done tomorrow!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:37 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Of course, the lists get longer, but since it's NEVER really done, a break was nice :)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:38 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Shell!  It was hard; I was aggravated at first, but ten minutes later, I felt so happy!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I would be lost without my pen & paper lists, for real.  I have the WORST memory; if I don't write it down, I forget.

    Don't you wish you could somehow type & run at the same time?

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:39 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Aren't you all just more relaxed over there in France? ;) 

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:40 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, even without kids, it's sometimes easy to get caught up in the "other" things.  Reconnecting is so important!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:40 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I guess even if there were more hours in the day, I would just try to cram more into them :)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:41 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's one thing to know we need to do it, but then it kind becomes another chore.  And that's not good either.

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:43 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    No!  I guess even twins have some differences :)  Send the planners my way; I'm always looking for good ones.

    I love the way you think...now I can celebrate for another couple of weeks!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:44 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    You're right; there is so much guilt tied into "the list".  I do think part of it is the ability to be connected all the time; it's hard to just let go.

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Aw, thanks!  When we went to Vegas, we didn't really text or even bring the computer.  It was hard the first day, then strangely liberating!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:45 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, when I am getting a lot done, I realize I'm not really present in the other parts of my life; my head is all over the place :(

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:46 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I guess I need to realize that the world is not going to fall apart if I don't get a blog post done or the laundry waits for an extra day.  Sigh.

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Yes, he's fabulous!  (but also busy!)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:48 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I don't know if I am the right person to teach you to just be.  I did it for a few hours and then have been up to at least midnight, if not later, every night since. 

    If I figure it out, I'll teach you :)  And I saw you're doing a tri?  You're a machine!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I am such a planner, but my favorite moments are the unscripted ones.  I need to relax and have more of those. 

    (Yet, I'm also spontaneous.  Hence the constant state of confusion around here!)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh, that's me, absolutely.  I had a hard time not keeping the laptop on my lap during the movie.  It drives my husband nuts.

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  And I love you!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:51 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Isn't that terrible that our husbands do something nice, and we immediately think about what COULD be accomplished, like spending time with someone isn't "doing something". 

    You will have fun on vacation.  Twitter will be here when you get back ;)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's awful sometimes.  Ryan and I talked recently about just having to deal with the constant unfinished tasks and do the best we can without neglecting our relationships (both with each other and with others.)

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's tough, isn't it?  I don't know how we got hard-wired like this, but so many of us are!

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    What a lovely way of putting that.  I need to take time every once in a while to just breathe.  And live.

     
  • At August 17, 2011 at 2:54 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Rocket & Ryan have something in common!  He is soooo reluctant to move to smartphones; I think he is worried I will be connected to something in my sleep!

     

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