Managing Mommy Time

It’s difficult to believe (and not difficult to believe all at the same time) that it is going on a month since I have posted here.  As someone who teaches writing for new media, I am well aware of the need to post often (multiple times a day even) — especially as one gets a blog up and running.  I am also aware that as someone who wants to “do it all,” it makes me crazy to have not kept up with this new project.  As someone who is craving a way to make my new mom life more simple, streamlined, and manageable, so as to at least create the feeling for myself that I am actually doing the “it all,” I realize that blogging is an extra item on the never-ending, ever-growing “to do” list.

I compose blog posts in my head as a I run, walk, drive.  I have drafts of many ideas started.  And I hate leaving things unfinished.  Today I feel frustrated — no energy, writer’s block, plugged duct, accomplishing very little….

When I feel stuck in rut, I turn to other mommas who seem to be handling mom life better than I.  Lately, some of these include:

The abundant mama blog:  I especially appreciated these two posts.  The one on being “peacefully productive” — well, she just spoke my magic word — “productive.”  Recently I was chatting online with a mommy friend and she described being “irrationally irritated” when she’s not productive.  I can totally relate.  I feel like in the six months since Levi came along I have gotten better at curbing this irritation, but haven’t been able to fully surrender to all of the days during which I feel I have gotten nothing done.  Instead, I find myself trying to multitask by setting him up to play and then trying to check e-mail, read articles, or check social media.  The problem with this, of course, is that I might miss a milestone while also not being able to pay full attention to what is happening at work. The habit of multitasking, abundant mama reminds us, is the number one cause of parents’ yelling.  While my little one is a bit too young to cause any yelling, there are moments already when I find myself losing patience with his fussing, moaning, etc.  Inevitably, the lost patience occurs when I am trying to get something done (multitasking). What I am not doing in these moments is listening — listening to his needs — and attending to them.  I feel “irrationally irritated” in these moments because my path to productivity seems to be blocked.  So the idea of being both productive AND peaceful obviously holds tremendous allure for me (and for many mamas I am sure).

The “first day of summer break” post where she gives a detailed account of her day is also tremendously appealing, because I am obsessed with schedules — my own and those of other people.  I am always on the hunt for the best schedule, and often dream of shadowing the people whom I deem as most productive in order to uncover their “secrets” to getting so much done. Since becoming a mom I feel like a lot of the books and articles on productivity no longer speak to me.  They are clearly designed for go-getters without kids whose primary concern is advancing their career.  So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered this book:  I Know How She Does It:  How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time.  The author, Laura Vanderkam tracks working women with families, by studying the data (love!) provided by hour-by-hour time logs the women kept.  The book then makes suggestions for using our time more wisely in order to “have it all” (my ultimate goal…).  I have only just begun a sample of the book, so I cannot say much about it yet (stay tuned…), but I have also begun using the app, aTimeLogger, to keep more careful tabs on how I spend my time.  Now admittedly, the description of the book kind of loses me when one of the suggestions for creating a more expansive sense of time is:  “* Take it easy on the housework. You can free up a lot of time by embracing the philosophy of ‘good enough’ and getting help from other members of your household (or a cleaning service).”  As I have made clear previously, I am not good with the “good enough” attitude when it comes to the house, and I cannot afford (nor do I trust) a “cleaning service.”  All the same, I have high hopes that learning some mommy time management from successful career climbers will help me.  Perhaps I will even find my way to becoming “peacefully productive”!



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