Time Management

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
February 7, 2018

I am sitting in one my new favorite writing spots. I am near the window, my back to the rest of the room. I put on my headphones and tune out the work everyone else is doing around me. Snow is falling again today, a new norm. It is an Ohio winter, after all.  I look at the window across the rooftop. It looks into the gym where people are getting in their morning workouts and I dread the upcoming treadmill workout the snow has forced me to meet my four runs a week goal that I have proudly kept up for over a year (back patted). I am ready for the sidewalks to come out from hiding under their shelter of snow, salt and ice. I really miss the outdoor air and the feeling of actually running somewhere, rather in place, but the treadmill is a necessary part of keeping up my running habit. (and I am lucky enough to have regular company) I am at the age where I am starting to realize how much comfort I can find in steady habit. That’s how my sneakers get miles and my journal pages get filled. Here I am, every week, in the same spot by the window trying to get into as good of a writing habit as my running habit.

This should come as no shock – I have terrible time management skills. I blame it on my bad depth perception and apply it to poor planning. Or maybe it is lack of focus. I have spent the better part of my life feeling like there was something wrong with my nocturnal ways and my constant tardiness. But seriously, how do you manage something that seemingly slips away like literal sand through an hourglass. As I write this, one of my six alarms is reminding me that I will be, once again, pulled away from focusing on my time to get one of my children moving. I even got up early today, but there are still not enough hours in my day. Even if I did have a few extra minutes, they aren’t always spent doing activities of substance (thanks Facebook). Today won’t be the right day to focus on writing, I can already tell. Just like every other chore, I let it hang over my head on an endless to do list. Maybe my behavior is self-sabotaging, a mask for the fear of what “judgy” strangers may think of my exposed words. I am not even sure being organized would fix this problem. Another time management issue I face is figuring out how to schedule around my anxiety. Sometimes it is a daily cycle, sometimes a monthly cycle, and most times something that I am mostly afraid the world thinks I am making up. I want to work on this career, but I am also good at talking myself into thinking I am not any good. I want to make a phone call (networking, I think they call it) but I can’t get myself to hit send. I am not ready to leave my comfort zone. Not today.

Lately, I have buried my time into being a really good stay-at-home mom. The needs are basic, not complicated. Food, bathroom, entertainment, sleep. There is no question, or ambiguity of whether or not I am doing what they want; they let me know if not. I like to stay inside with them. In an outside world that can be filled with double meaning and passive aggressive statements that I will most likely over analyze.

Time leads way to habits. I promise myself. I am cutting time out, like paper snowflakes, beautiful and decorative, but filled with holes. In those holes, light begins to shine through and moments freeze. That’s what I’m good at: freezing moments. But adulthood calls for habits, organization and time management. Nothing functions just when “I feel like doing it”. I have read the books; I have tried the tactics and eventually let myself down. At home, I can catch a sense of accomplishment. The kitchen gets cleaned, the laundry gets folded and put away, the clutter is reduced and in those moments I start to make the strongest connection between physical and mental clutter. Then life will start to pound down on me. Appointments get made, kids schedules bulk up, work schedules, holidays, anything that is outside of the norm. As a mom, I love those days. I crave something different; a break from routine, a reason to put on jeans. As a writer, I struggle to keep my voice during times that fall out of the ordinary.

I look at time management as an essential part of adulthood. A bullet point on a resume, a subheading of so many self-help books, and the one thing I can’t quite get a grasp on. I started this year with a simple goal: to be a better version of myself. It is not a resolution, rather an evolution. Once again, my voice appears to be changing and shifting and I struggle to keep up with it. My priorities and interests are morphing into something different, something cleaner and more inviting as the home I am working extra hard to maintain. The only thing I can do is find time, and space within my busy mom bubble to keep up with the individual person I want to become: the inner adult I try to grow up to be.

 

Clearing mental and physical clutter

 

 

I am so sorry; I have toddlers

I am so sorry. I have this tendency to over apologize. As if the words convey the same amount of sincerity each time they are senselessly uttered like a montage of movie clips. Don’t be sorry. Be quiet. Sorry! (Spaceballs). When I get angry, I want to yell out that I am just so sorry. Sorry for all the things I cannot control and all the things that the rest of the world (or my anxiety) perceive as wrong. I’M SORRY, ASSHOLE! (Uncle Buck). These days, most of my apologies are toddler related. The things they do that are beyond my control.  I want to apologize. I’m not even confident on which end that came out of.” (Bridesmaids)

To the world; the unapproving stranger’s glance when I pull an Ipad out of my purse for my toddler and the looming Target meltdown. To the sock police, whose eyes the site of toddler feet in public have bludgeoned. To cashiers, servers, and customer service representatives who had to pretend their screaming voices are cute. To the person waiting for my parking spot as I buckle them in and dismantle a stroller. (or frustratingly say screw it and throw the entire unfolded beast in the back of my SUV) To the driver I flicked off in a fit of toddler style road rage, because driving is frustrating enough but then you add the stereo echo of crying and I am a kettle of boiling blood. To the three employees of Sears who collectively tried to stop my running son as he weaved in and out of washing machines and I trotted behind trying not to drop my crying daughter:

 

 

 

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Thirteen, for a moment

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
July 14, 2017

I used to call the moments of brain dysfunction writer’s block. But after the birth of my third (then fourth kid) mom brain has become the more appropriate term. It was about my second pregnancy when I realized how downright dumb I felt. As if my intelligence and actions were somehow blocked, like a kink in a hose blocking water flow. I’m smarter than this, when I walked into the kitchen for the tenth time forgetting I simply needed a glass of water. There was an incident, somewhere near the end of my second pregnancy, that involved a parked car and me fleeing to another grocery store to make it go away. Hit and run sounds so dirty, so we will call it a panicked pregnancy glitch followed by a knock at the door. It didn’t take long. It was the image of a pregnant woman, wet from sweat and tears on hot June day, and an equally confused husband who just couldn’t answer the question of why, that most likely got me in much less trouble than I deserved. To this day, I can’t answer the question of why beyond the loss of reason, intelligence and impulse control that goes along with a body swelling with hormones and water retention.

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Uncomfortable

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
June 7, 2017

I lay in my hospital bed shortly after giving birth for the fourth time. A spot I knew too well. I struggle to find the right position that doesn’t rupture my still aching lower body, and upper body and tired brain. “Are you comfortable?” a nurse asks, after taking my temperature for the millionth time. “I think so.” I lie.

 I am in Cece’s bed. Again. She never wants to sleep all night, alone, or with her brother. I am too tired to train her, so it goes like this: she cries. I wake up. I glance at Josh’s loud snores, and I go to her room trying not to wake Jackson up as I crawl out of bed. He has been barreling out of his room lately just as we are about to go to bed. I spin another round of wondering if we will ever be the kind of family with normal sleeping arrangements, again. I cuddle next to Cece, calming her crying. She looks at me, “where Papa go?” she asks, drifting back to sleep. I kiss her squishy soft little cheek and try my best to ease my body into the mattress, between pillows and blankets. I pull a block from under my leg and set it under the bed. So often we end up scattered, like our various throw pillows, with at least one toddler awkwardly lying near my feet wondering what is going on beyond our closed eyes to get us here. Somehow, I am perfectly aligned with the direction of the bed and Cece curled right under my chin and we are breathing in sync. The air outside is unsettled as thunder rumbles a soft roar in the distance and the rain taps melodically against the window. I pull her even closer in a soft embrace, imagining the rain is feeding her growth like the outdoor garden we just planted. If I can just hold her long enough, I can stop it, or slow it down, or just enjoy it. My back is always sore from the many nights of sleeping where ever would calm a crying toddler. But yet, in this moment, the soft tap of rain is echoing her breathing. Her hair tickles my nose as it gently sways from the ceiling fan and her little golden curls move in a slow bounce, a contrast to the way they bounce about due to her awake constant motion. In this passing moment of a thunderstorm causing us to sleep too late, I am the most comfortable that I have been in a while.

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Princess Fiona

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
May 9, 2017

We had a cat. She hides under couches, behind doors or in the dark corners of the basement, terrified of strangers and half the people living in our house. Except Layla, she loved Layla and they were best friends. That is the hardest part. She was the runt of the litter, the shy one, and Layla immediately loved her. It took her eight years to go out side. One day, we watched her boldly come to life and walk out the back door and onto the end of the deck. She never went farther than that. But don’t worry, she didn’t die a virgin. A male cat snuck inside and her life was different, for that moment. “What is happening?” The girls asked. “Is she ok?” Then we continued our awkward talk about sex and other adult things.

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