Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Things That Annoy Me #6

Hey, I thought I'd bring back an oldie but goodie category!

These days my oldest child is involved in a few organizations and all of them seem very intent on improving her character and establishing good service habits in her. This is all well and good. She, being a fastidious child when it comes to the expectations of people not her mother, is very concerned with meeting all her requirements. Here's the problem: They all want her to either serve her family in a way that isn't helpful to me at all or don't want her to serve her family at all. This means I have a child anxiously worried over her impending failure and a fat load of homework for me.

The first source of angst is her Confirmation class. They have required service hours. I shall restrain my service hours to earn Confirmation rant except to note that the Apostles were not running a soup kitchen before Pentecost. She has hours required in service to church. These are hard to come by for reasons that can basically be summed up by saying it's a small parish and there isn't much going on for the 12yo set. She has hours required in service to community, which essentially means homework for me. What is explicitly prohibited is serving her family. Every service hour has to be signed off by 'not a parent.' 

The second source of angst is her AHG troop. The older girls are working on a badge that require them to help their families in very specific ways, like say, cleaning out the garage. Our garage is not a job a 12yo can do. Heck, I am not old enough to handle cleaning out our garage. Almost every requirement is something that makes our home life harder not easier. I can tell her helping out in a different way is just as good except THAT'S NOT WHAT THE BOOK SAYS! If the book says clean the garage, then cleaning the garage is the only thing to be done. !!

If not daily, then three or four times a week, I am treated to an anxiety-filled interrogation of when she will be able to earn all these hours and perform all these chores as I doggedly try to reassure her while trying not to panic about how to get it all done. 

I understand the main disconnect is the people who design and run these programs expect that by the time you have a 12yo, your household management has ceased being a hot mess and is now functional. And...that's not where I am. While it looks like I am 40, have five kids, and am old hat at all this, I actually have the management skills of a relatively new mother who just forgot everything she knew while pregnant with her second baby and chasing a toddler. So when the preteen comes home with instructions, they expect it to be an easy swap into an established household routine instead of it being a prelude to a crisis of inventing said routine so she can then "help" me with it.

That her most readily available form of service is to hold the baby does not seem to be on anyone's radar.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Perfect Schedule

Continuing in the same vein from before Christmas about time and time management, manager and maker schedules, and whether I have Executive Function dysfunction or am just totally overwhelmed, I want to talk about a daily schedule. More specifically, my ideal daily schedule. Part of the trouble I have had over the years has to do with the fact that my daily rhythm is at odds with the rest of the world. I tend to claim to be a night owl, but that's not really true. I can't go all night, but the morning may as well not exist so I claim the night as default. I have an odd body clock that falls into neither camp and I spend the day fighting my natural inclinations.

If I had my druthers, here is my perfect schedule:

I would wake up between 8 and 830 and sit in bed reading, drinking coffee, chatting on FB, and related easy-going activities until around 930. I would get up and eat a bit of breakfast, yogurt or a croissant, perhaps. It would now be coming on towards 10. I would get dressed, maybe shower, make the bed, start a load of laundry. It's now around 11 or maybe 12. I probably want to do some low energy schooling. A little bit of Sam's work, maybe. After that, it's afternoon and I want a big meal. Dinner. Something very substantial. Eating and clean up and a little rest and it is coming up on 2 or 3 o'clock. Now I am ready to start the day! Here is where I hit my stride. I can do all the things. I can readaloud. I can patiently walk a child through math. I want to do household chores. I do not want to stop for supper. I want to work straight through until maybe 8pm when I might have a hot beverage. Then I'll hit another wave of energy and work until around 11pm. Honestly, 11pm is when my energy starts to wane. At 11, I would get ready for bed and relax in bed and turn the lights out at midnight.

It isn't a lazy schedule, but it is backwards from what is expected from me and nobody else seems to run on it. I can dream about it, though.

What would your perfect schedule be?