Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cleaning House

I was sitting on my front step the night before last, looking at a star peaking through the clouds, and thinking about life. I was startled out of my head when a young man walked up the driveway and asked me if I had any interest in hiring a maid. I laughed and said "Yes. Much interest. No money." He didn't find it funny.

That encounter left me on the step a little longer. I was thinking about cleaning up. Cleaning up the house, our habits, our routines and my life. I'm in the mood for a clean sweep. It happens every year around this time. A little like the spirit the moves us to make New Years Resolutions, I feel like a new year is beginning and with it should come a reset on the things I want to do better.

Going "back to work" has meant a lot of change, not all of it for the better. In addition to our parenting and scheduling challenges, I'm no longer eating right, exercising, or sleeping as well. These things are so fundamentally important to my overall health that I can't help but think they have an impact on the other stuff.. It's a tall order to fix it all.

I've been trying to figure out how to tackle the list without trying to do everything and, inevitably, getting overwhelmed and giving up. Hiring a maid would be a good start, if I could afford it but, alas, these are challenges that money can't fix. What I need is a plan, and a three part one seems like a good start.

Step one is to get Team Blanchard back on-track.

Don't get me wrong. Steve has taken on a lot since I changed jobs. Believe me, I'm not complaining. I'm optimizing! When we tackle things as a team, it makes everything more manageable around here. Steve and Jonas are great team players but they need a good team captain. I need to stop being a Do-For. (The name my friend Karen uses for someone who does for someone what they can do for themselves with the right training, resources and encouragement.) Rather, if I want things to run smoothly at home AND make time for myself and my personal commitments, I need a solid action plan that involves us all. Our daily agenda book is going to be key to keeping everyone one the same page, getting things done and making the time I need.

Steps two and three are all about me.

When I did daycare, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen making healthy lunches and snacks. It was one of my top priorities during the day. I need to get back to those healthy eating habits. A balanced breakfast, drinking water and having a healthy lunch when I'm at work are so important. In addition to our healthy dinners, these will make me healthier, give me more energy and help me feel like a better role model for my family. Our shopping and cooking routines are going to be key to this. If I stock the house with healthy food choices, and we make left-overs with every meal, I won't have to think about what to have for breakfast or make for lunch every morning, I'll just have to remember to take it.

I'm also going to start a running routine at night. I'm not scheduling any marathons yet, but I need to get back in shape. I haven't considered myself an athlete for decades, but I need to get moving again. Playing in the gym with the Beavers and Cub Scouts a couple of times a week is ok, but I used to walk the kids too and from school four times a day. While I can't get that much in with my current job, I should be able to get out for a 30-60 minutes at night. Running is cheap and easy. It's also something I can do alone or with Jonas. I've got some good role models to follow as well. ;)

So that's my plan. It's three small but not insignificant steps that I hope will move me closer to the person I want to be.


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