Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The seven habits of highly ineffective, but predominantly happy, people

The start of school, is for me, much like the New Year. In fact since I was born in September, in all actuality, it is my personal New Year, and as such, for as long as I can remember I have spent many a September afternoon making resolutions about how the upcoming year will be better.

For example:
1) I buy calendars and highlighters and pens, and I make an attempt to write down important dates
2) I try to prepare the night before for the next morning
3) In my head, I make an imaginary schedule that includes a regular wake time, breakfast time, lunch time;etc.
4) I assign different days of the week different chores; Monday, I'll do the laundry; Tuesday; I'll run errands; Wednesday; I'll prepare all the meals for the following week ( yes, in the hypothetical realm I have very lofty goals).

Of course, a week or two into my new "schedule", I always drop the ball. The phone rings and I talk too long. The baby wants to go outside to play and we scrap the laundry for an hour wagon ride, or an hour of digging the dirt. The rain makes me want to stay inside and read or write or both and so we skip a trip to the grocery store and get take out for dinner....

A few years ago, I read the book, The Seven habits of highly effective people, and I had one of those Oprah aha!moments. Now I understood. Now that I saw all of those dynamic pyramids and charts. I'd put all into play and conquer the world...and then the phone rang, and I was pregnant, again, or the roof was leaking ,or somebody had cellulitis...

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was really motivated and trying to unpack the rest of the boxes from our move LAST YEAR. Yes, I know. Mostly what is left in these boxes are old clothes, potential hand me downs, that I will likely hold on to and find, just after whoever the article would have been handed down to, has outgrown it; and books. So, I'm looking through the books and I come across the book about being highly effective.

I bring it up to my nightstand and I think, I should probably reread this. Obviously, I missed something. And then, in another Aha moment, I thought to myself, maybe in fact I did not miss anything. Maybe I should just embrace my ineffectiveness, after all, it isn't sooo bad, and it does have its pluses. So without further ado, I give you my list... The Seven Habits of highly ineffective, but predominantly happy people...

(1) In the morning when you first wake up and hear everyone else clamoring, close your eyes really tight, curl up in a bawl, and firmly pull the covers of your head. Just for a moment, be thankful that you are still in bed, even though every one else is up. After that moment, inevitably, you will be torn out of bed, but the feeling of relishing that last moment of sleep while every else faces the harsh reality of the am is really priceless

(2) Lose your keys, or purse, or something really important, at least once a week. This way you can stay home while someone else picks up your kids, a gallon of milk;etc. You'd do it for them, if you had your keys....

(3) Walk barefoot. Sure your feet will be nasty and dirty at the end of the day, but walking shoeless on the ground feels damn good. Plus, you won't have to justify to your husband why you need to spend thirty dollars and a hour on a spa pedicure while he watches the five kids. He'll be begging you to get the dogs cleaned up.

(4) Talk to people when they call. Or when you meet them in the store, or anywhere else. Not complete strangers. I mean don't end up on a milk carton, but when by coincidence you run into someone, stop and say a few words. Don't be in such a damn rush to get off the phone either. People are important; things can wait.

(5) Do things on an as needed basis. We are society of very prepared people. We go to Costco and buy enough goat cheese and laundry detergent and toilet paper so that we won't run out, because God forbid there'd be a snowstorm and we couldn't wash clothes for the five hours it takes to salt the roads.
When school starts, we amass wardrobes for our kids for the entire school year, as if that one weekend in August will be our last trip to the store before June.
So what if you wash the kids clothes the night before? Is there some law that says outfits for everyday of the week must be lined up in the closet and ready to go? Trust me, they look the same whether they come straight out of the closet or straight out of the dryer in the am. No one will know the difference.

(6) Co sleep. I mean what is all this bullshit that people can't get rest when their kids sleep in their bed. Yeah, I know they kick, and they roll over, and they wake you unexpectedly; but seriously so do partners and boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives, and no one is telling you to put them in another room and let them scream it out until they fall asleep. Besides, kids outgrow this. Trust me, they won't want to sleep in your bed on prom night; and if you think about that, it'll make the kicking and the rolling much more tolerable.

(7) Don't have too many habits, or things you "have" to do. In a flash, life can change drastically. The more flexible you are, the better you'll be at rolling with the inevitable ups and downs. Or, at least that's what I tell myself.


Amy said...

I love the title. Very clever. I like not rushing away from people either. As a child I was forever getting in trouble for talking. Sometimes the teachers say one or other of my kids talks to their friends a lot. My reply, is and always has been, "Well, its genetic." And see, from what you wrote, it's not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

At least I'm not the only ineffective, but usually happy person!

I giggle at the cosleeping one. I giggle only because I said I would never do it.

Once I had to start back to work, where do you think the baby and I were after his late-night nursing session? Yep. We spent 11:30/midnight to 5:30 am in the same bed.

And I loved it and miss that about his "babyhood." The Hubby doesn't quite get it, but knows he misses being able to nap with our Little Dude on his chest, or next to him on the bed.

I'm okay if people don't want to cosleep, but there are times when it is just easier, and it will give you moments you will never forget. I just love knowing that he and I had that special middle-of-the-night time together to snuggle.

Okay, now I'm teary-eyed just thinking about how fun it was to be able to snuggle with my current wiggle-butt.

Val said...

Great habits! I love every one. Except maybe the co-sleep. We did/do with out oldest and she is still there! Lucky for us we are done conceiving children since it is just about impossible.

QuJaBaKa said...

Hi there, just found your blog recently and am enjoying it greatly. I love your list, from one ineffective person to another, well done for being able to create a list in the first place.

Mrs. Tantrum said...

I LOVE YOU! With a big puffy heart and a big box of chocolates.

I too love being barefoot, calendars, highlighters and grandiose delusions of making meals that everyone will enjoy a week in advance.

Of course I am often throwing stuff together at the last minute, while people are screaming at me for SOMETHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TO EAT!

I did the co-sleeping thing. I hated it. I almost hurt myself for doing it. And it was only because I never got to DO IT to my husband. Now Bacon sleeps in his own room and I can do it whenever I do or don't want to do it!

That is a GOOD thing.

Ann(ie) said...

HAAAAAAAA! I love your list!! I think it might be going on my fridge! :)