i have always sucked at time management. boundaries. parameters. routines. these things do not come naturally to me. but when you have kids, you have to step your life game up. they take up so much time and energy that they force you to reevaluate your everything.
i’ve been following UFYH, a really awesome tumblr that helps folks like me tackle their chores, for a while now, and you should too! it has actually changed my home and my life with its gentle yet obscenity-laced reminders presented in glittering gif format. it’s like they know me.
you might be wondering what i mean by “folks like me.” i mean the people who work hard and are always go go go and worry about everyone else and put their own needs last. i mean the people who find themselves putting the icky tasks off because they are exhausted and need a break and just plain don’t feel like doing them. then the next day they still don’t feel like doing them, and the work piles up, making them more guilty and miserable the whole time, until it starts to feel insurmountable and then they hate themselves and just want to curl up in the fetal position and wish away the mess.
for me, this isn’t just about avoiding the tsunami of dirty dishes in the sink or staying on top of the sisyphean task that is playing laundress to an infant and a construction worker, although those things do take up a pretty major chunk of my time. it’s also about refusing to set aside time for my schoolwork, and then cramming all night before an exam. it’s about putting off the dentist visits for so long a filling turns into a root canal. it’s about sleeping curled around my baby and waking up with terrible back pain every morning, but never bothering to stretch.
it’s about checking in with myself. hey, lady. what are you doing? how are you feeling? can i get you anything? okay, i got that. i’ma take care of you! it’s about being present. maintenance. tune-ups. time-outs. it’s about cutting out the clutter to clear out some space and allow myself to achieve the things that i want to. i can lock down even the hugest, grossest task, if i tackle it in chunks, because if i do it that way, it’s not even that hard.
because living in a clean space and taking care of my shit in a timely, responsible way leaves me more time to do whatever i want. like sitting on the couch eating ben & jerry’s while watching america’s next top model while the boy is sleeping. if i’ve already handled my bidness, i don’t have to feel guilty about doing shit like that.
i set these reminders on my phone with the UFYH philosophy in mind. they’re really helping! (i think they have an app that probably does something similar—i should check that out!) sometimes a reminder will pop up and i won’t be able to get to it, but i don’t beat myself up about it. it’s just good to be aware. i’m not pretending the task doesn’t exist anymore. i’ve got a long way to go, but not being constantly plagued with guilt about all the things i’m not doing makes life so much more enjoyable. it makes me a better student, a better mom, a better wife, a better me. i know, i know, cheesefest 2012, but it’s something i’m really proud of, okay?