Parenting: Optical Illusion?
By Melissa Mensavage
Last week I attended a webinar offered by the boys school corporate marketing department. This company is no different than any other major corporation, has a corporate headquarters, department heads, etc. However, they are expanding their community outreach programs and making themselves more reachable to the parent community. They are still far removed from the typical daycare center family community but when the topic of the webinar was ‘Tips to Keep Your Family Organized’, I signed up almost immediately.
You see I am all over the place. I have no organization in my day, other than get up, get coffee and get to work. I will start a load of laundry, get interrupted by one of the boys and later that same day I will find the washer filled with clothes and water, but the cycle never finished, let alone started. I will put clothes in the dryer one day, and three days later I will pull them out when someone is out of socks or undershirts.
Then add in doctor appointments, birthday parties, tumbling class, t-ball, etc. I feel like we aren’t living life. We are just moving from one task to the next, with me completely unorganized.
The tips I took away from the webinar were:
-Find ‘good enough’ housekeeping. Things do not have to be perfectly cleaned all the time.
-Menu planning. I am working on this. For whatever reasons the grocery shopping/having things on hand has really got me stumped.
-Rescue bag. You know for those times when we are stuck at a doctor’s office or we are out to dinner, a bag that includes crayons, coloring pages, puzzle books, trains, etc. Goal is for it to be non-electronic.
-Inquire on a grocery delivery service. I’ve used Peapod in the past and would use them again, but I sometimes struggle with paying more for something I clearly know is cheaper at Target or Walmart.
Listening to the women speak on this webinar sharing their stories of how they run their families, it felt like it was almost like running a business and not so much like a family. It also appeared as if they had it together as mothers. They didn’t sound like they’ve been reduced to spanking on some occasions, or screaming their heads off for children not getting along and the whining was just too much. They seem like they have well-adjusted children. They have this illusion life is easy, organized, good.
Knowing that its pretty much not the truth, I tried to take what they said as a grain of salt. Their tips are great. However they are just tips. I have to use my common sense with parenting and go with the moment.
Going with the moment is part of my problem with parenting and being stuck in our routines. This past weekend I took the boys on an adventure. I was tired of the mundane. The laundry could wait. The dinner will be simple and I’ll just have to make an effort on meals this week (instead of preparing). We piled into the car on Sunday morning and headed into the city and went to the shore. The lake shore. Yes it was cold, it was sunny, windy, but it was the best thing we’ve done this year.
The boys loved being on the sand, throwing rocks into the water. I loved hearing the mini waves, lake style. The fresh air and the sun was good for all of us. We walked along the lake front and enjoyed what it had to offer. We went by the boat slips that were covered in snow and ice. We counted the ducks sitting on the ice. We had fun exploring.
I posted a picture of this fun on Facebook for my friends. Not soon after I posted it, I realized that maybe I am giving off an optical illusion. The illusion that we are always doing fun things. I can honestly say that we typically do all sorts of fun things – whether at home or out exploring. Its not an illusion. We are fun. We are having fun. People make comments to me about it –‘do you always have fun with your kids?’ ‘where do you find the time?’ …I make the time. I also make the fun. This is not an optical illusion. What you see is what you get with us. Come on with us and have some fun!