I just discovered The Pioneer Woman, and OH MY GOD LOVE. I especially liked this post on homeschooling. (For the curious, I don't have plans to homeschool the Bee, although I haven't ruled it out either. It's certainly something I'd consider, but not something I'm planning for. As of now, I think it is more likely that Bee will be in public school, but that door is still open.)
And when you have a baby or a toddler and you homeschool—fuhgettabouta schedule. There is poop when there should be math. And there’s crying when there should be literature. And with that color-coded schedule that lasted four whole days, if something got in the way and you missed a thirty-minute block of time, you were screwed—there was no more time in the day to be had. And all I did when I tried hard to stick to a rigid schedule was fail, and then I’d feel like a loser, and that wasn’t fun. Because I’m not a loser, dang it. I’m not. No, I’m not. Stop saying that. I’m not.
Leaving out the homeschool part, the post echoes my own shiny new approach to mothering: the relaxed approach. I once scheduled out every hour of every day in order to achieve all the goals I had in mind to work towards being, well, Little Miss Perfect. Every single day had absolutely everything I needed, scheduled in beautifully manageable chunks. See? I laughed outright at the Pioneer Woman's description of her color-coded schedule, because it sounds EXACTLY like MY color-coded schedules. In theory they seem totally great and are aesthetically pleasing to boot. I would try to make easy schedules that seemed fool-proof, but you know what they say. Make something idiot-proof, and they'll make a better idiot.
So I have stopped setting myself up for failure. I have stopped giving myself a million goals to accomplish in a day or week or month. I try to do what I can, and if it doesn't happen, I don't tell myself I'm a failure. No more rigidity - it doesn't help me, Dude, or Bee. We get through the day, every day, in whatever way works, and we feel good about ourselves while doing it.
I've got no clue if this approach is going to produce any particular future outcomes that I might want or not want. I like to think that a calm, laid-back lifestyle is good for the whole family. But even if things don't turn out the way I expect them to in the future, it doesn't matter. I can't stress out about being the perfect mom or perfect housewife in anticipation of providing my daughter (and any future children) with some sort of perfect life. We're enjoying the imperfect life we do have, taking pride in our abilities while accepting our limitations.
So yeah. I'm not as concerned about what the future will bring or whether I'm doing things the right way. My daily routine is flexible and less goal-oriented, and it's working out so much better. Just like the Pioneer Woman, some of our days are awesome and some are not-so-awesome, but they all go with our general flow. If things turn out amazingly, great! If not? Well, I guess I'll close with a line from the post...
But I refuse to believe it will be because I chose to wipe my baby’s bottom with that color-coded schedule rather than let a piece of paper tell me when I had to make my bed.