I am a planner, some might say control freak, but let’s just stick to a planner. I have been one my whole life. As a girl of 6 or 8 I remember loving lists: guest lists, shopping lists, packing lists. Also, I enjoyed mapping things out in both my head and on paper, ie. how I was going to rearrange my room. About 30 years later and I plan things like crazy. True, now quite a lot of my planning stems from necessity and functionality, but regardless of the motivation, it is one the greatest skills I have.
As long as I can remember, for at least the past thirty years, I have been using my left brain (the side attributed to math and science) to divide and conquer projects both in school and at home. For example, if I had a 6-page paper due 13 days from now, I, of course, would write half a page day until it was done. This would leave one day for review. Now I am working on fall cleaning and if I do 1 room a week I will be done scrubbing my little home in 6 weeks. I base that on cleaning 2 hours a day, 5 days a week. I want to be done before Halloween.
Do I want to thank my disease (FA)? Absolutely not, there are some other choice words I would tell it, though! Having said that, not being able to drive for the past decade is one of the reasons, I have to be a good planner. When everything you or your children do, is contingent on others giving rides, you getting rides or friends coming to you it is necessary to plan in advance. I know there are people who do not drive, but also not being able to walk, living on very steep hills, and living in a city that should be ashamed of their public transportation are all reasons that make not being capable to drive one more puzzle piece in my life.
Meal planning is a big idea that works well in my home. I am in charge of grocery shopping with my PCA. Grocery shopping in itself takes planning to be effective, nevermind I have to not only secure a ride but also have a person go with me to push a cart, reach, and lift items. Having a person to stay with or take my preschooler for me is extremely beneficial. It cuts the time spent in the grocery store by half. With so many moving pieces, I have recently been attempting to carve out that time once a month. Meaning, I order meat from the butcher (a meat box), already knowing most of the meat I will have for the month I can in turn plan dinners. I am a big fan of Pinterest and getting a lot of recipes from there. My husband and I eat gluten-free, my 16 yr old and I also try to eat limit carbs, Pinterest allows me to enter in my criteria easily. I then take those meals and add all the ingredients (other than meat that I already have) to my shopping list. As we run out of items all month, I add them to the grocery list. The idea that when we use up an item, we are not replacing it right away, was hard for my family at first. It forces me to be creative and also use up food that sits in my cupboard. I will use it someday!
In addition or to accompany not driving, I need someone to go to the gym with, help me shower, help me make dinner (cutting is a biggy), taking dinner out of the oven and serving it, sweeping, and vacuuming. On paper, it looks like I suck and do nothing. Honestly, it is really tiring being the puppet master day after day. It is a show that the next move is directly affected by the last. Time pressure runs my life, in the morning my husband and I have a PCA for 2 hours. Within those 2 hours, my husband eats a little cereal and has coffee, then he makes his way to the bathroom to shower, and whatever. While he does that lunch, laundry, and bed-making is being done by our PCA. I am trying to get my 3yr. old ready for school, eat, pee, dress, and brush teeth. My husband then needs help getting dressed for work. Both my son and husband are helped into the van and leave for work and school. While this is happening I chug coffee and go to the bathroom. When our PCA comes back into the house it’s time for my shower and to get dressed. We are usually pulling up my pants mere minutes before she leaves.
When it comes down to it, I am a “control freak”. I am desperately grasping for the small shreds of my life which I can control. When 90% of what goes on in my day depends on others, and I just have to “watch” it happen. I guess when you can/have to do something it is much different, then my job which is deciding who, when, and how often. But honestly, I would give anything to be able to quickly sweep my house daily. I have heard multiple people close to me, “I wish I had a housekeeper or someone to do things for me.” I see it as very different I am not just a person choosing to hire someone to do chores that I do not want to do. I cannot do the tasks my PCA’s do and so in order not to live in squaller, I have to have someone do it for me. I can see how doing something as often as I like and how I like can feel controlling, but their bodies are filling in for the working body I do not have. So, this is the way I would run my life if I could.
The skills (planning, time management, and a more effective daily living) are what I’m constantly trying to hone. They are skills, as well as hobbies for me, and therefore my home and all its key players are my Guinea pigs. I want to be able to perfect these skills as much as possible so I can show the world my value. I guess though, it comes down to what world I am trying to impress. The people I know and love me already draw upon my skills. Even if it’s not as often as I wish they would. So don’t forget that next time you need help with one of these skills I am here and I facetime!