What Happens When I Don’t Schedule My Life

Filed in Balance, Family by on February 4, 2016 13 Comments

My 3 Sons

Every day it’s clear that I need structure and organization in my life. Since I work from home it’s difficult to keep those lines perfectly drawn. Every time is work time. I get sucked into it. I love what I do! And because I love what I do, I want to work on it all the time.

I’ve been getting up earlier (like 4 a.m., if you can believe it! I was such a night owl!). I’ve been starting my days earlier, and trying to get to bed earlier at times. The goal was to use this time to be focused and productive so that later I could have more time with family, but it hasn’t gone that way. Yes, I’ve been more focused and productive, but I’ve also allowed cut-off time to slowly get later and later in the evening.

And herein lies the problem.

The more I am connected to my work, the less connected I am to my family. I’ll get easily irritated by the loud screeches from the kids, and I will rush through bedtime just to get them out of my hair and to get quiet time. And each evening battle, I realize that it’s all my fault.

See, what happens is that the kids get home from school and daycare (Kwabena’s in 4th grade, Ohene in Kindergarten, and Kojo’s at daycare). The first thing they want to do when they get home is electronics. Well, if their schoolwork is done, then it’s okay.

But they’ll sit on it, only taking a break to have dinner, then they want to rush back to it.

And this works perfectly for me, even though I know it’s not the right solution because I’m often trying to finish up my work. Which means, I’ll let them “have at it” for as long as they want, only cutting it off when I’m ready to send them upstairs for bed.

And that’s the problem.

They’re getting it for too long…..too close to bed…and when they get upstairs to put on jammies and brush their teeth, to them, it’s play time! They haven’t seen each other all day, they haven’t interacted with each other all day, and now that they’re all in the same space, they want to run down the hallways, screech at each other, wrestle, and do what kids do.

And there I am–the annoyed mother who just wants her kids to quietly and “normally” go get their jammies on and brush their teeth, without all the noise.

But when I get upset, I know that it’s my fault.

It’s because I have lacked structure with them, I have let electronics babysit them during times when I am trying to work, and I then blame them as if they should know that when they get upstairs, it’s quiet time.

Yet I take it out on them, blame them for “playing around” and not doing what they’re doing, when really, I should have been the one to set boundaries with the electronics…I should have been the one to work smarter to have gotten all of my important work tasks done by, say, 6 p.m., so that afterward, it’s strictly family time–no work, no electronics–and allowing them to go upstairs and run crazy for a good hour if they want, so that when 8 p.m. comes, it’s quiet time, settle-down time.

Yet, I have no structure.

So starting right now, this early morning of Thursday, February 4, 2016, I’m committing to becoming a more organized, committed person who spends time with her kids and is able to get done the most important tasks in her day so that she doesn’t work for hours on end.

My goal today is to set up a weekly schedule. As much as I’ve always bucked against the system of organization, I know it’s what successfully people do. They organize, and then they make a committment to stick to it, no matter what’s going on, no matter how they feel. So, I’ll schedule my most important work hours and off hours, and I will schedule in family time–even if it’s sitting together on the sofa making silly faces at each other.

The point is that we need this time. My children need me, even if it seems like they’re perfectly happy using electronics, spending their time with a piece of glass and plastic. We could be spending our evenings reading together, learning new things (like tying shoes??), playing games, laughing at each other, tickling each other.

My biggest fear is that my kids will look back on their childhood and not remember me. All they’re remember is…nothing…or video games. They won’t have any memory of the spending time together. And really, isn’t that my legacy? The memories that my family are left with when I’m gone? If we create no memories, then all of my life means nothing, really.

I’ll keep you posted on how that schedule goes!

 

About the Author ()

Serena Appiah is a wife and mom to 3 boys in the Washington, DC metro area who enjoys writing about family, finances, and raising children.

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