that’s where I started…in my planning for the new school year. I made an Excel spreadsheet of everything I would make for the kids’ lunches, replicating the Government approved Myplate precicesly (apparently the food pyramid I grew up with was insufficient and produced a generation of nuerotic overachievers who make Excel spreadheets of what to feed their family…good thing they changed it). But it doesn’t stop there, I made a spreadsheet for the entire menu for the whole month, and a handy spreadsheet of my schedule (I never used to be this way). The only way I know how to calm the tides of chaos that exist in our home is to logically place every task, event, activity, etc. in a tidy little spreadsheet box with a specific time limit. I know, you’re thinking, genius! You are going to sit down and do that tonight. Unless, of course, you follwed me around today to see how well real life meshed with my anal attempts to control the world.
For the most part the day went OK. The kids were excited to go back to school (Joey 10th, Josh/Johnny 7th, Lexi 5th, Callie/Cassie 1st). Their first day went well (for the most part). But the contractor for the kitchen remodel (love my new kitchen, but oh my what a project)came for the afternoon, the dog (who I thought was on my side) expressed his distress of a quiet house by barking all afternoon, since the buses were late, I had to pick-up child 3 late, which made dinner late, which made Lexi late for soccer, which made the boys just in time for soccer. I did not have a little Excel rectangle for “rush trip to the grocery store” (we were all out of fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese) or to Shmitt Music “Mom, I need reeds for my Bass Clarinet tomorrow!” or the half-hour delay picking up the 7th grade brothers from soccer who had a little disagreement in the parking lot that, with lots of witnesses, ended poorly (luckily, part of my new school year plan was to set aside 10 minutes each morning to share one-on-one time with each child before sending them off into the big world, surely by letting them know how much they are loved and how proud I am of them they would be kind, upstanding citizens, I could see the halos forming on their heads as I typed it in on my spreadsheet…the folks with the wide eyes in the parking lot however were unaware of this character building ritual and based on one day of research, perhaps I should revisit my expectations).
When I got home from this pleasant experience I was greeted by 7 lunch boxes (the ones that held the wholesome lunches) that needed to be emptied, washed (no ziplocs here…it’s part of the new plan), and refilled with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protien. But Barky the Wonder Dog also needed to go for a walk and Cassie and Callie needed to have their 20 minute, 8-step bedtime ritual performed, and the regretless middle schoolers needed their bedtime snack, and the groceries I had just bought needed to be unloaded and put away and, oh yeah, remeber that oldest child you have, the one you haven’t seen since this morning? You might want to ask how his first day of school went!…
Life does not fit on a spreadsheet.
What I didn’t have on my spreadsheet, sprinkled throughout my day, was encouraging words from a friend, a caring phone call with my mom, good news about an upcoming writing project, and three girls that confidently hopped off the bus with great big mama hugs…and that’s what makes it all worth it.
Photo Credit: choosemyplate.gov