Seeing the forest through the trees

23 Jan

Sometimes clarity is hard to find when you're in the middle of a situation.

Two weeks ago I had an absolute meltdown while on Facebook. It was a weekday morning and I had one kid home sick (I know, shocker)  and I’d spent the entire morning rushing the others through their morning routines. No one seemed to have themselves together that morning and there were missing hats, gloves, water bottles, and despite all of the hunting and gathering, still a homework folder was left on the table as the bus pulled away, again. My normally low blood pressure was probably through the roof as I sat down on the couch and updated my status as to the fact that I was about to lose my mind. Again.

After I ranted and raved a bit, I felt much better. My heart stopped racing. I sipped my coffee.

And then…the responses started to come in. Other mothers, friends of mine, commenting that it’s the same for them, that they knew how I felt, they could feel my pain. I instantly felt even better.

Through all of those responses though, several stood out. One friend stated that she now avoided those types of morning problems by doing all of the hunting and gathering the night before and laying it all out, ready to go. Another friend stated that she’d had a laminated check list for her oldest daughter a few years back, and that had worked well. My sister in law in Virginia agreed, stating that she’d used a similar one in the past, hooked to her daughter’s back pack where she could see it.

I was stunned. Why hadn’t I thought of these things?? I am a former teacher! I am an organized person! I have a check list for setting the table, one for cleaning up the basement, in the past we’ve even had one for the steps to take for calming oneself down (I could’ve used that one.) You would think doing these things the night before and setting up a check list would have hit me on my own, that I wouldn’t have needed to be told to try these things. I was incredibly thankful for the suggestions and yet feeling somewhat sheepish that I was so behind the eight ball, so down on my game.

But then it hit me. Sometimes, when you’re in the middle of a situation, something that should be clear to you, just isn’t. And sometimes you need to be told something so basic, just because you can’t see it on your own. And sometimes it’s okay to ask for help. I didn’t even realize I was asking for help, I was just ranting, raving, venting. And I didn’t even realize I needed a solution, a different plan. But as soon as I heard it, it was as if a light went off over my head. Well of course….a check list….doing it all the night before. Of course.

So that afternoon I made up two check lists on two pretty pieces of card stock and put out star stickers so they could mark them off as they went along each NIGHT, packing up their things. When they got home I explained to them how things would hopefully work out the next morning. They were excited (and maybe even relieved that I wouldn’t be yelling so much in the morning).

When I signed onto Facebook again that night, I was so touched. There were words of encouragement from my friends, wishing me a better morning the next day. That morning (which went off pretty much without a hitch) I had yet more words of encouragement from my friends, telling me to update them and let them know how it went. Again, I was so touched. Any disappointment that I’d had in myself was now gone, replaced by a huge sense of thankfulness and relief to have such an amazing network of friends and family around me.

We all support each other. With the internet the way it is today, as far apart as we are, we’re all right there for each other when we need support. I can’t thank each and every one of you enough, if not for that day’s support, then for another day’s words of support, encouragement or celebration. It really does make a difference. Here’s to a good week for us all.

"Night before" check lists

After two weeks I replaced my hand-written check lists with a typed one that I can just print out every two weeks.

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7 Responses to “Seeing the forest through the trees”

  1. Jessica Rozen January 23, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    You’re so awesome! Helpful advice and an entertaining read at the same time!

  2. Debi January 23, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I was waiting for it! Glad I was able to help out! Have to say that I am very impressed with your determination and speed at implementing your new system! A+!

  3. Imustbemad January 23, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I too came across this revelation on twitter this afternoon from a fellow tweeter and instantly thought why haven’t I already done this before! *slaps forehead* d’oh one day I will be in front of the game instead of lagging seriously behind!
    Thanks for making me feel like I’m not the only one who is alone in feeling behind 🙂

  4. jo-lyn January 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I do this, too….chore lists and checklists for stuff, otherwise I can’t function! (OCD much?!?!) lol

  5. jo-lyn January 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    the OCD comment was geared toward me!! 😉

  6. Sue Meyerson January 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    makin’ my day again, Jen!

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