Remember last week, when I asked you what you wanted me to write about? I received this comment from Patricia over at I Want to See God. I chose to respond to this comment first, because of the response I gave her. Surprisingly, Kanye West was involved. Isn’t he always? That Kanye.
I’ll warn you, this is long. But then, so is life. Seriously, I wanted to give you an accurate look at a few days of my life and how I navigated through it while maintaining my sanity. For my family, I have between the hours of 6-10PM Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Let’s take a look at how I managed so far, this week. We’ll start on Saturday.
- Mike woke me up (we don’t have alarms, he hates them. It’s a long story – something, something overuse of the snooze button by yours truly) at 8AM with “do you want to go to that restaurant for breakfast that you like?”
- Morning office as I get ready – thank you Divine Office app!
- Two hours of captive family time in the car singing our favorite songs and then eating cinnabon waffles.
- I had clothes shopping to do for my trip to Italy. I tried on some things while the kids suffered through it; builds character. It’s always rough on petite gals to find anything to wear that doesn’t have a bow across the chest. I’m an adult!
- Still full from breakfast, the boys run out to play in the backyard and we join them. I toss some clothes in the washing machine and then head out to read a book, Jesus A Pilgrimage by Fr. James Martin, SJ while Mike is sitting out and enjoying some sunshine.
- After about 40 minutes, I head in to change the wash, and then review the music I’m singing at mass that evening.
- Pray the rosary.
- We’re still full, so we decide not to make our usual big dinner. He and I have some frozen somethings, while the kids get hot dogs on the grill.
- Mass. He sits with them, as I cantor – I follow along with the mass using the Magnificat, the boys with their Magnifikid!
- We walk back home and he pours cocktails, I send the kids to shower and get ready for bed and head up to say prayers with them. Mike and I catch up on Mad Men (we’re on season 4 so no spoilers please!)
- Evening office while he showers.
- That’s all she wrote.
- Morning office
- Parish breakfast! This is a great way for us to socialize with other families, get our eat on, and donate to the KofC. It’s all about multitasking!
- We walk back home, and I’m at the laundry again.
- I take Gabriel to a birthday party, while Mike stays home and Alex has a friend over. See that? Each parent has time alone with an individual child while we get some alone time/social interaction with other parents! (On the way to the party, I pray the rosary podcast and Gabriel chimes in!)
- Mike makes dinner, pasta with meat sauce.
- We walk for about an hour around the neighborhood. We like to dream this way. “Look at those flowers” or “I love that bay window” and “Boys too far! Wait for us!”
- I fold clothes and the boys put them away! They want allowance? They have to earn it.
- We setup clothes and backpacks for Monday (I check the calendar for the week)
- Bed. I stay up and read Blogging for Dummies by Melissa Culbertson of Blog Clarity (see that? One day it’s spiritual reading and the other is focused on bloggity blog stuffs)
- Evening office.
- That’s all she wrote.
- Can you hear it? The crazy clown music? Mike wakes me up at 7AM, and then walks down the hall to get the boys ready. I check my email, social media stuffs. I take about 10 minutes here, to schedule tweets – thank you Hootsuite app!
- Mike makes coffee and gets the kids breakfast (his favorite Daddy time)
- I get ready – this doesn’t happen overnight. There’s spackling and hair product to slather.
- Mike and I have our morning coffee and chat. The boys get their Pokemon TV watching in and I’m also curating fodder for blog posts. You’d be surprised at how many ideas I curate from our coffee talk (not to mention that snazzy new editorial calendar I put together a few weeks back to help me organize. SO helpful)
- Mike takes the boys to school, I’m off to work. Morning office! Mike comes back home to work.
- Lunch time – sometimes I go for a walk, or stay at my desk and write. I may also check my Klout app for interesting articles to share with the groups I moderate on Facebook and Google+.
- During RCIA months, I would only have 90 minutes to spend after work having dinner and hanging with the boys. Since that’s over, I get to hang out and review the day with my boys at dinner, leisurely. Usual questions “Gabriel, where were you clipped on today!?” Green is good. Alex will share a new game he created on the playground with friends and then I’ll clean up (since Mike cooked) while he goes back up to work on last minute presentations, conference calls, yadda yadda.
- The usual bedtime business: boys’ bath time, I set out clothes and check the calendar for the next day. I look out to the next week (this is where I would get a reminder to read up on my Lay Dominican formation documents and prepare a presentation)
- Watch The Colbert Report while the hubby is sound asleep. At the commercials, I’m reading Jesus A Pilgrimage. Evening office, fall asleep around the fourth decade of the rosary! (darn!)
- Mike calls me at 6AM (he had to go into the office and left at 5:30AM). I check email, do my schedule-tweet-thang.
- Shower and get ready as I listen to the Morning Office.
- Get the boys up and ready. They pick their breakfast and Alex starts to make toast (he likes to help). Coffee bubbling, and I empty the dishwasher.
- As we walk out the door. I scream, “SNACKS! I forgot to pack snacks!” So we charge back in an grab snacks.Try # 2 to leave. “Car seats!” We had to swap them, so I put them into my car and remember that I forgot to turn the heat off (Mike texted a reminder). I charge back in and turn off the heat. Whew! Talk about a work out. Wait. I just got a work out in!
- We all get in the car and say prayers. Our routine is to say rote prayers at random (someone goes first and then each person gets to say a rote prayer of their choosing) until we get a couple of blocks away from the house, then for the rest of the way, we pray intentions for ourselves, our family and others. Mine is always the same: I pray that my boys see Jesus in everyone they meet and that others see Jesus in my boys. Always.
- I drop the boys at school and as I pull out, I ask Siri to text Mike that I’m on my way to work – listen to hip hop on the way into the office. But sometimes, I listen to Catholic Radio – helps with blog ideas, like this one.
- Lunch was an awesome salad at my desk – and blog planning. I have an e-course that I’m doing via A Beautiful Mess and I work through the modules at my pace.
- 2:30PM I have to pick up the boys. Since I am leaving to Italy for 12 days, I want to spend the afternoon with the boys and not arrange for aftercare, as I normally would.
- Walk into the school. I have some time before they come down the hall. I’m actually typing this from my WordPress App.
- Pick up the boys and ask Gabriel about the zoo – he went on a field trip “Penguins are boring and skunks are stinky” and Alex gives me the rundown “meatball sub for lunch and my special was…actually, we didn’t have a special today”.
- Dinner? Just decided, corned beef and love fries with white rice. Gabriel’s favorite. Boys will take an early shower because we go to …
- 7PM mass across the street. Adoration after with the boys and a visit to Mary’s grotto.
- Mike should be home now – he has a long day, right? He said he’d be home by 8PM. Poor guy.
- Snack for the kids and bed. Mike and I will catch up on the day. Usually, it’s me laughing at something funny he said about something silly I did. He loves to hear me laugh almost as much as I love to laugh. Or we talk about work and all of the frustrations therein.
So now that you have a snapshot, here are some tips that I’ve pulled for you:
- I have certain times that I carve out that are untouched. For example, these are generally dinner time, church time and bedtime. This means no texting, social media-ing, or anything outside of the three people I love the most in this world. It’s important. I want them to know that they mean more to me than a credit card sized glowy thing (my iPhone).
- At the same token, holy Smart Phone! What a power house. In a word? Apps. Divine Office, Podcasts, WordPress, HootSuite, Klout and Ave Maria Radio? How could I manage my on the go life without them? The phone is kind of holy, not that I got it blessed, but it’s got a ton of faith apps. Fabulous Blogging just put out a really helpful (read organized) social media schedule based on how much time you have to spend, that I tried yesterday. I only had 5 minutes and boy, was my time was optimized!
- Multi-tasking is HUGE as is alternating. I don’t just drive to work, I pray to work. I don’t just take a lunch, I’m working on my blog. I don’t read one book at a time either. I alternate in that department. I have 5 books in rotation all the time. Aside from the books mentioned earlier in this post, I’m also reading 642 Things to Write About, Magnificat, and a couple of ebooks by Michael Seagriff that I’ll review here soon (he’s a fellow Lay Dominican). It’s kind of a microcosm of how I manage everything.
- Curate, curate, curate. Have a few minutes? Go to your blog feeder and read some posts others have written, leave a comment or share it. I have a list on Twitter, called Twitter Glitter. These are my fave peeps. I just scroll and can retweet to my hearts content. I also subscribe to a TON of blogs and websites around my interests. If I like what I read over coffee, I’ll schedule them with Hootsuite.
- If you think about just one day, you’ll get overwhelmed. If you work on long term planning you’ll see that you can do more. I know that I have a Lay Dominican meeting every second Thursday of the month. I start on the third Thursday of the previous month. I read the material once over, that third week and fourth week. I prepare my presentation in the first week of the following month and refine it over the weekend, and post it the day of the meeting.
- No long term planning means I am scrambling – and I do that sometimes. I don’t have 3 different calendars and 4 journals for nothing. There are days, where the boys go to school with the wrong outfit on (like today), I forget to pack their lunches and S gets called in with sandwiches, the registration for my car is late, or I forget that I planned dinner with friends. This happens, and I don’t beat myself up too severely for it. After all, jugglers drop the ball too.
- Pray every day without ceasing. I wrote about this just yesterday. If you noticed, I pray in the morning and in the evening. That doesn’t mean I’m not praying as I write, when I sing at mass, or when I’m asked randomly to pray for others. I keep coming back to God, because He is my touchstone. Make it yours. When the day is a spaghetti mess, you can say, I talked to God today. Talk about a glass half full.
- Build in relaxation time. I walked, read books, lingered over dinner, had cocktails and went to my favorite restaurant. Does that sound like someone who is harried and overwhelmed?
- And Kanye West. Did you think I forgot about him? There’s a song that I listen to of his (he’s quite the poet) titled “I Heard ‘Em Say“. The line that stuck out for me was “Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today.” And that’s kind of how I view life. Tomorrow? Who knows. So whatever interests me, whatever is on that bucket list of mine, I work hard and tirelessly for it. Because no matter what happens, I tried the best I could today and I can live with that.
Your turn, what do you do to keep it all together? Got an app you think I’ll LOVE, share it! Gotta run, making dinner and there’s no app for that. Is there?
This post contains affiliate links, because writing doesn’t pay the bills, but you could if you clicked and bought sumthin. Chaching! Another can of Bustelo coffee!
Last note, Alex wanted to title this “Dad is awesome” or “I love church”. Go figure.