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:

 

 

 

Continue reading I am so sorry; I have toddlers

The Uncomfortable Monster

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
July 5, 2017

I live in this haze of memory and future fear, feeding the monster.

That is how anxiety works, it is the monster that lives inside of me. It scares me into two corners of past and future and get stuck there, unstuck from this present moment. The monster creates “to-do” lists and completion checks. Then it slides me into depression like the ocean waves hitting the sand it curls around me as I distantly get caught up in my own thoughts and worries. Everything becomes a reminder of the future – the things I should be doing- the mother, woman and human that I should be. It dictates my shame and tells me dreams don’t count unless they have financial value. Suddenly title, whether a book or job title, matter more and important things are only measured in currency. And I retreat into absence.

So I have been noticeably absent lately.

Absent from my writing, my goals or even my persistence. It is easy to do. I have been battling a case of seasonal anxiety. It is a lot like allergies. There is the mental fog, pressure, pushing against the brim of my nose until it itches. The uncomfortable itch of allergies pressing from my cheeks to the whites of my eyes. They begin to water. Something isn’t right. I desperately want to sneeze, to release. My nose begins to water, trying to drip in sync with the tears that slide down my face and brush a salty glaze onto the corner of my lips. I am in full bloom anxiety season. Medicine is my first instinct. It could unclog some of the pressure on my face, slowing down the need to sneeze (release) and the need to cry. But it puts me in a fog, a haze, like trying to see out of the front window of my car through a film of pollen disposed from the trees. Just like allergies, there is no magic solution for the pressure. In the midst of this anxiety season I am working harder on coping techniques. But pills, like coping techniques, only work when I take them everyday like a routine.

There are also bad coping techniques

Self pity fills my eyes with tears. I blame myself, then I blame others. They are too demanding, or distant or unable to give me the answer i want to hear. Or they are struggling their way through anxiety season as well. I look at the pages I just wrote. The only friend that listens completely to my words, and becomes them. I sneeze on the pages. First there was the itching, then the pressure that squeezed the brim of my nose. Look at the light. I have been told. So I stare right into the bright side and sneeze beautifully onto my blank journal page. I am finally able to fill my lungs with oxygen and see the entire portrait

Writing is my strongest weapon against the monster

I have always known I need to write. I call it a lot of things, my dream, my passion, my saving grace. It is the release of the words and thoughts that are swirling around my head like magnets on a refrigerator. When I write, I can organize, control and beautify them. My pen is my armor and my sword. Sometimes other people read and relate and I get high on that feeling, that connection. Sometimes I get high on my own words, like an artist who just painted a masterpiece.

So I just keep writing.

Easing my future, calming my past and keeping the anxiety monster under my bed.

** drawing by my amazing daughter. I asked for a cute little monster to personify my anxiety. She added the goat characteristics because “goats always look anxious”

Cassidy.Marie.Rose
June 15, 2017

The sweat. It is wet, hot, and a newfound uncomfortable that is becoming associated with running in the summer time sun. It tickles down my back, like a monster’s hot tongue, slowly licking between my shoulder blades, then on my forehead and pooling up to drip down my temples.

I keep running despite the discomfort

I imagine my legs could just give out at any second and press the souls of my shoes into the ground more firmly then I am used to as I steady my pace. The sun has been following closely behind me and occasionally reaches out touch my shoulders, burning them. I push up a hill, the dreaded incline. It is a test of how much heat my run can handle. The sun illuminates the path around me like a spotlight on my journey. Up the hill, in a small celebration of victory I steady my pace, once again feeling the pressure in my calves releasing and my mind resting. Through the pain and the heat, I can still feel that sense of peace.

And that is what keeps me going.

Continue reading The Uncomfortable Path

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.

Continue reading Uncomfortable