Monday, January 19, 2015

New Year, New Plan

So, here we are. Mid January. The time of year when resolutions begin to crack for many, many people. Their great intentions are thwarted by life and they start to get frustrated.

I'm not a resolution girl.

I'm really not. I tried for a few years, but it's not my thing. It's not that I have any epic fails, it's more that I sort of lose track of the idea of whatever I was setting out to do/change/stop and .... the end.

But I do love new beginnings. After any sort of break in routine, whether it's the two weeks after Christmas or the months in the summer, I really love getting myself back on track. An improved, better, Pinterest inspired track.

I'm not resolving to be organized, but I am getting myself re-organized. I'm not changing anything major about myself, but I'm responding to the break in routine by taking the fresh start.

Totally different, right?

Anyway, I do this in September and January. Beginning of the school year and beginning of the new year. This past September did produce a few months of failure. I hired my sitter to come on a regular schedule, but I still couldn't find the time to keep up with all my writing activities. I could never quite reconcile my well conceived household cleaning schedule with Madison's new and very involved activity schedule and non-napping lifestyle. And once we threw homeschooling into the mix...well...I wasn't as organized as I wanted to be there either. I had more to do, less time to do it, and a system that fell down.

So by mid November, when Reagan's surgery threw everything for a loop and I knew we had the Thanksgiving to New Year's schedule craziness coming up, I just totally threw in the towel. I totally abandoned September's plans and schedules and just gave up. Didn't even feel bad about it. I just went into a "eh, it'll all get done eventually" state of mind.

We all had clean clothes, although I think at one point every sock we owned was sitting in a laundry basket, waiting to be paired.


The house got decorated for Christmas.

All Christmas activities were completed in time.

The children made it to all appointments and classes and, although it was occasionally touch and go, all my deadlines were met.

The house was relatively clean (usually done in the hour before the babysitter showed up, but whatever).

We all survived.

So, realistically, this should have been an eye-opening experience that I don't really need schedules and plans and planners. We didn't descend into madness! The health department wasn't called! We did it!

But no. I love me a fresh start, and a fresh start was what happened this week. While mom bloggers everywhere rejoiced that the children began school again on January 5, I implemented all my new programs.

The toys were all reorganized, complete with ridiculously over the top boxes and labels and coordinating systems, and the girls were instructed in how to properly store their toys.

My homeschooling system was completely revamped.

My schedule was meticulously broken down, then slotted into the appropriate days of the week, giving me both household chores and paperwork tasks every day, based on the rest of our activities. I have meal plans. I have schedules. I have calendars. I have folders. I'm ready to take on the new year.

Fresh. Start.

Gone will be the chaos of December. Gone will be the days when we realize that the girls' rooms haven't been vacuumed in several weeks. Gone are the piles. The mess.

We started January 5 - the Monday things went "back to normal".

Well, we're starting our third week, and how has my family responded?

The first week was a fail.

Clean up remained the same painstaking process of giving the girls explicit instructions which were met with blank stares and excuses.

Madison flat out refused to participate in any school activity. And, I should point out, it's not like her school activities are sitting quietly with endless workbooks and flashcards. She has about 45 minutes of various games and books to read, which she usually enjoys. But when the new system was in place? Flat out no.

She did agree to participate about two hours after our scheduled "school time" on that first day and was perfectly happy. But this whole fighting thing was not the kickoff I was looking for.

I have managed to not get through my to-do list, manageable as it is, any day that first week. I did not finish the cleaning task or the paperwork task. I had a stack of unclipped coupons, a pile of laundry waiting to be folded, and a kitchen floor that was swept and vacuumed but not mopped. I had writing that was 80% complete, sitting in draft folders. Our meal plan was a mess.

So a roaring success? Well...

Last week was better. The cleaning got done. The household chores got done. I knew better how much school Madison and I could handle each day and during the week, and we finished most of what I'd planned for. The paperwork ... did not get done. Of course that was not helped by a sitter who canceled for food poisoning and two looming deadlines that superseded all other work. Meal plan...mostly. We ate food that I cooked. And I wasn't running out for groceries. But really, not my best.

So yesterday found me sitting in Starbucks, clipping coupons, paying bills, marking papers to file and cleaning out my giant mom purse. Tweaking the plan again and adjusting. Adam is out of town for a few days this week and I'm sure that will throw us off a bit, but the point of this plan is that we can adjust. We're supposed to.

I can make the meal plan work for us - most weeks.

I can follow the housework schedule - most of the time.

We can keep up with school work - most days.

And we can keep adjusting. Always.

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