Music and Motivation
Creative Parents' Credo
Profiles in Creativity
Inspiration For Artists
Peers & Fears
My Childhood and Theirs
Notes from the Library
Who Are Creative Parents
I once laughed at the family member whose home was speckled with annoying, sticky yellow notes.They were on the refrigerator, the door, the bathroom mirror - facing her teenage sons everywhere they turned. I used to poke fun at my "day planner" friend who collapsed into a pile of useless goo when her calendar was misplaced. "Anal!" I screamed at obsessive list-writers. "Just live! Let it happen! Go with the flow! " those are my fading mantras.
So how did this creative wanna-be-flower-child become a "day planner" mom? The tick-tick and beep-beep of daily life demands were burying me. I wanted to pursue my passions - writing, quilting, reading (the list goes on and on, I am passionate about a LOT - including my children!) I couldn't find the time to balance my life. I was lost under piles of laundry, pet food wrappers, ballet bags, books, you name it.
The difference between now and my "go with the flow past" is that now I have children. Little people, (vertically challenged individuals!) with creative interests. Hanna, my eight-year old breathes to dance - at home, in the dance studio, even at church. Walking no more, she jumps and twirls to her destination. Della, my five-year old lives to live - exploring everything along her way. All our lives are complicated and enriched by our many pets - dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, and a tarantula named Rosie.
So now, I make lists. I write them out before I go to bed. My daughters have a wipe-off board on their bedroom door, so they awaken to daily hints -- reminders such as "ballet today, pack tights" or "water the hamster" assure proper attire for class and ward off rodent dehydration followed by a teary flower garden burial. However, I still refuse to purchase or use anything resembling yellow sticky notes!
Besides making lists, I've also surrendered to some R-O-U-T-I-N-E-S that keep everyone alive, fed, watered, happy and within state health codes. On school mornings, Hanna feeds the cats and dogs and sometimes takes our newest rescue, Buddy, for a short walk. Della sorts a load of laundry and puts it in the wash -- with minimal help. She now knows what colors and water temperatures go together. She also feeds her fish, checks on Rosie, and lends her sister a hand with the bigger critters when she's done.
How did all this organization come about? Last year I knew we needed to do something differently. Finally, both girls were in school and I wanted to pursue my long-postponed passions. So my daughters and I sat down to discuss a plan. The girls chose their morning chores from a list I'd made. They wanted to change at the end of a month.. The first month came and went and they kept their chores. Amazingly, laundry piles grew smaller and schedule-fed pets appeared happier.
I still struggle with all this. I never thought I'd have such a chore-ful home. I hate to admit it, but it does work for us most of the time, though some mornings have glitches. Once in a while, I feed a four-legged family member to make a child's morning go more smoothly or to allow her a few extra minutes of sleep.
Life is still a juggling act. I try to quilt. I take classes. I drive Hanna back and forth to the dance studio. Sometimes I even get a project done. There are times when I find myself lying on the floor, within a moment of zen, watching Rosie the tarantula trap a cricket or make a web. And at those times I know that I will never be as organized as some of my friends; that underneath it all I'm still the go-with- the -flow procrastinator who most relishes the moments in life that can't be planned.
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