You want to know the most frustrating part of parenting? Granted it's not the most difficult. Or most important. In fact it's probably of little or no consequence to most of the human race.
But for me...and my little type A...perfectionist in recovery...over-critcal...hyper-analytical (but I digress) mind it is by far the most frustrating. You get NOTHING done. NOTHING. Just give up now if you're a new mommy. You're house will never be "clean." Your laundry will never be "done." And you will only shave your legs 3 months out of the year (If your husband's lucky.)
The solution. FOCUS. Honestly, that's it. Focus. Now the tough part is how to manage that. Granted you could take your lap-top with you each time you need to use the restroom in hope's you'll have time to pay the electric bill. But let's face it. You and I both know that isn't going to happen. That little red light will start flashing that let's all the kids know you're in the restroom. And they will be there in 2.5 seconds. Banging on the door. And desperate for the irrefutable wisdom that can only be offered while yelling through the bathroom door.
No. There must be a plan. Excel spreadsheet. Bulleted list. Google calendar worthy plan. Ok, maybe not that good. But a PLAN.
If life’s not protected, It doesn’t get done. If work’s not protected, it doesn’t get done.
— Dr. Henry Cloud, co-author to Boundaries
What does this mean? It means we need a plan. It means in business terms we need to practice TIME-BLOCKING. Or, in feel-good mommy-blogger terms. It means that the old adage about placing the biggest rocks in the jar first, followed by the pebbles and then the sand is entirely true. So there you go. Put your big rocks in the jar first. Problem solved. Life complete. Right? WRONG.
Been there. Tried that. Got the t-shirt. But didn't get anything else done. How many of you have said, "I'm going to spend the next hour doing..." Show of hands. Me too. Did it work? Ha...only if you said I'm going to spend the next hour answering mind-numbing questions about absolutely nothing and solving the ever-increasing crime wave consisting of "he stole my pen" and "she looked at me."
We could also try the old adage. Parenting is the most important job in the world and as long as you do that well nothing else matters. While it may be the most important job in the world, if you don't have time to pay the light bill and scrape the green sludge off the counter your parenting may inadvertently suffer as well.
No, take this from someone who decided she would "work from home" and "homeschoool the kids." Time-blocking is your friend. If done properly.
So, how do you time-block properly you ask?
NEVER try to accomplish anything that requires even the most minuscule of thought while the children are around. Get up early. Leave the house. Do whatever you have to do but SET ASIDE time to to put the big rocks in the jar. In other words, accept REALITY. Make a calendar. Schedule UNINTERRUPTED true family time at least once a week for at least four consecutive hours (preferably much more). By the same token, schedule UNINTERRUPTED work-time or me-time or bill-paying time or take a shower time. Whatever the case may be. SCHEDULE it. WRITE it down. AND do not attempt to accomplish these things when the kids are around. In other words, get a sitter, leave the house, get up early. Do what you need to do. RETREAT...but save your sanity.