My contribution to a blog linky on Mindfulness and Simple Pleasures hosted by Aisling at Baby Steps.
The terrible thing about being a planner * – other than having to listen to the righteous opinions of taxi drivers and spend considerable amounts of time persuading others you never benefitted from the ‘brown envelope’ times, is the terminal need to plan.
* as in the strange species known as a ‘town planner’ – ie my actual profession when I’m not wiping bums, knitting things or waffling here.
I have an innate need to make lists, organise and think about ‘what next’. I’m a fantastically organised woman (fantastic being my addition, this being my blog and all) and – if I do say so myself, exactly the kind of person you want organising three children and a house move. I know who and what is where and swear by my many little systems as the only way to stay on top of things.
All that good stuff aside, and even after the taxi driver is finished with his rant, being a natural planner has some major disadvantages. I am utterly awful at simply being in the moment. I literally cannot help myself but to think ahead. I stack up arrangements one after the other and then get stressed when something runs late and I end up doing things half-arsed. I keep listing the things that need to be done and forget that sometimes ‘doing nothing’ deserves priority too!
To stay sane with three young kids, a job and all those other bits and pieces, I’ve had to both embrace and restrain my ‘inner planner’ in differing ways. On one level the organising is great. I’m fairly on-top of the who, what, when and how much of the family diary and I’m pretty good at keeping everything ticking over. On another level though I’ve taken my foot off the gas and seriously slowed the pace at which we do things. On my first maternity leave I think I was desperate to do everything and be everywhere – possibly so I could prove to myself that maybe life hadn’t changed that much. Three kids on, we move like a hurricane leaving a trail of sticky destruction in our wake, and I am so much more realistic about what we can do. Gone are the days of multiple-events and over-booking. If it’s a ballet class afternoon for Yoda, then that morning I barely step out of the house except to do the school run. At weekends we try and have one day at home, and another out an about. Pyjama days are a common phenomenon.
As well as down-scaling plans I, of course, have had to embrace that knack kids have of taking the best laid plans and turning them upside down. Just this afternoon myself and Yoda headed into town ahead of an appointment to have a mouch around the shops. The little lady was in great form, thrilled at her seat at the front of a double-decker bus and having her mummy to herself for a while. An hour later we’ve cancelled our planned cup of tea with a friend and I’m standing on an Inner city kerbside in a vest top, rancid skirt and long coat, sad child on my hip, our puke covered clothes in a black bag as we waited for a lift home. These things happen, the plans get cancelled and home we went to nurse a nasty tummy bug.
When eventually this house move happens, the next few months bring lots of changes – new house, new schools and new crèche. Frustratingly loads of these details won’t be finalised until the last minute and I have to trust that everything will fall into line. Eventually. In the meantime, I’m making sure to enjoy the last days of my maternity leave – which ends next week. There have been oodles of pyjama days, frequent stretches when I wasn’t quite sure what day it was, and endless hours, days, weeks and months when I revelled in the luxury of being a-stay-at-home-mum. As always with a young family it’s flown by in a haze, but I really hope that third time round I’ve been much better at sometimes leaving the jobs un-done to take a little time to simply sit back and enjoy.
So, living in the moment, being mindful, call it what you will. It doesn’t come easy to me but I am trying. What more can I do?
For more posts on Mindfulness and Simple Pleasures head over to Baby Step’s lovely blog linkup here.
Image sourced from www.nursebuddha.com