Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I just skimmed an article on perfectionism. It talked about how perfectionists can get paralyzed by the realization that they can't do something perfect. I originally read the article with Q-bert in mind, but as I read on it became painfully obvious that it was describing me (as a child and even now sometimes).

For example, I have been stressing over how to celebrate my husbands 40th birthday. It seems like the kind of thing that needed the perfect celebration, but he kept saying he didn't really want a big party. To make things more difficult his birthday is in our busiest time of year (more about that later). So trying to schedule things with friends was nearly impossible. I had lots of ideas, but none of them were panning out. So I kind of gave up... Not really, but I did decide to just forget about it for a while. Of course, that is difficult for me, so instead I tried to distract myself by figuring out what else was on my very busy schedule.

Fall used to be my favorite season. The weather is not too hot, not too cold. Everywhere you look there are beautiful things to look at. The farm stands are full of delicious apples and other fall fruits and veggies. Fall food is so comforting. It is the perfect time for a bonfire which in my estimation is the most perfect form of socializing. The problem is that, other than myself, everyone in my household has a birthday in the fall. Kids want Halloween costumes. I have to start Christmas shopping on Oct. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday to host. Add to that all the "grown-up" chores associated with fall, and now you have a season that I almost dread.

So as I made my list of chores (other than my dear husband's birthday) that needed doing I got more and more unhappy. It became more and more obvious that there was no way to complete all these things perfectly. So I did what any self respecting person would do... I threw away the list, and did something else. I needed to feel productive so I painted my foyer and hallway. Never mind that those things weren't even on the list. Never mind that those things could have waited, and those things created other things that maybe couldn't wait and therefore had to be added to the list.

Truth is, the rooms look great, and getting them done jump started me. Completing one thing to my specifications allowed me to have the confidence to try the other things on my list. I didn't start with the birthday party because I wasn't ready for that yet. I made a list of the appointments that I needed to make. I called and made those. As I was listening to the elevator music on one of those calls the perfect birthday plan came to me. So I was able to make it happen.

So although the article I read was bagging on perfectionism as some sort of disability I think in most cases (if approached properly) it is a great thing. Other people would have settled for half of their birthday plan working out, and that would have been ok, but this is going to be PERFECT :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I know that spending $2.50 for a green iced tea is nuts. Even worse is spending $5 for a latte that contains as many calories as I should eat for the day. Still I am a Starbucks fan. My favorite thing to do is pack up the kids and head off to "do school" at Starbucks.

That is where we are right now. It feels so nice to sit here sipping a latte while the kids do their work. I justify it as a great educational experience. When they do their work at home it is quiet. There are no real distractions. Mostly that is good. It allows them to focus fully, but I do worry that they will not know how to stay on track without total calm. So a day at Starbucks is a great opportunity to learn to drown out extraneous stimuli.

The problem is that I am not always able to stay focused. I swear that if I was a kid today they would medicate me in a heartbeat. I have trouble remembering why I entered a room sometimes. So sitting at Starbucks and trying to teach is a bit of a challenge for me. Luckily, at least for today, the girls work is all review. So for now I am a woman at leisure to people watch.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Alone Time

One thing homeschooling moms lack is alone time. While all my public school friends have roughly 1200 hours to themselves each year I feel lucky to get 2 minutes alone to use the bathroom. It never fails that as soon as I disappear to change loads of laundry or god forbid take a shower, someone comes looking for me. I can only guess that they are afraid that I have hidden a giant stash of oreos behind the washing machine, and that I keep a ziplock baggies full of pudding in the shower drain. Of course they are mistaken. Those things are actually hidden under my bed...

Obviously this leads to me sometimes crave solitude like a fat man craves a big mac. I dream of visiting a coffee shop and sitting there as a lady of leisure with a book for hours. I imagine myself walking around a shopping mall without anyone begging for to go to the Disney store. I'd settle for a moment on the toilet without anyone knocking on the door.

There are those rare moments when I catch a break, and the kids are gone to a sleepover or playdate. On those days you would expect me to be in heaven, and it is nice to get up in the morning and not be climbed on immediately. Still the way I feel on those days makes me wonder if I have forgotten how to be alone. For example, this morning my kids are at Gramma's house. When I awoke at 6:00 I got out of bed because that is usually the only alone time I get, but then I realized that I would be alone for a few hours today. I considered going back to bed, but it was too late. I was wide awake by then. I spent the next hour trying to decide what to do with my time. It was like the freedom paralyzed me. Finally I settled on blogging, but now that I am nearly done I am faced with the same dilemma. Usually all of my time is devoted to what I have to do; so that I am not able to decide what I want to do when the opportunity to choose presents itself. Maybe I'll go back to bed...