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Routinely Overscheduled

There are many things that I both want and need to do. There are things I want to do but don't need to do. There are things I don't want to do but need to do. And then there are things I don't want to do and don't need to do but do anyway.

When I add up all the wants and needs on my to-do list, my chest is seized with near paralyzing fear. Looking at the Everest that is my unrealistic list, I have a hard time distinguishing between crucial, important, optional and WHY THE HOOKEY IS THIS EVEN ON THE LIST???!! It just appears as a mountainous lump of things I'll never accomplish anyway so I might as well crochet instead. If I don't have the energy to crochet, I can always simply smell and caress my copious collection of yarn.

I could assign priorities to all of the items on my list, sort them, categorize them, tie them with a bow. The problem is, the list is still huge, impossible to complete and doesn't include a lot of the things I should be doing. I never schedule time for my kids on the list so I tend to feel guilty for hanging out with them when I still have so much work to procrastinate. I don't enjoy our time together as much as I could because I'm fretting about all the other things I should be doing, many nebulous things I should be doing but don't know what they are because I'm too scared to sit down and read the list.

So I've concocted a plan. First I am prioritizing. Anything I don't want or need to do but just do out of habit or some invented sense of obligation or desire to be perfect will be cut from my life. Homemade gifts will be created if I feel like it and the rest of the people on my Christmas list will learn to be happy with the thought I put into choosing which color ribbon to tie around their cheese log.

For all the other things I need to do on a regular basis, I will stop writing them down and start integrating them into our daily routine. Okay. First I will establish a daily routine, built around the things I want to matter most, not the things that end up mattering most because they're on fire.

We have a fabulous life-saving bedtime routine, a routine that cannot be broken, a routine that my children sometimes fight but can never beat because it is THE ROUTINE. If this works so well at bedtime, why not establish patterns of behavior for the whole day? If routines work so well for my mini-people, why not establish iron-clad routines for myself?

I need a mandatory bedtime and a story and some cuddle time with my Daddy-friend each night. I'm starting to realize that my selfish desire to be free from the shackles of routine and order is wreaking havoc on my family life. If I'm gonna structure the kids, I need to start by getting myself in order.

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