Friday, May 12, 2006

My dilemma

Do you ever feel guilty for avoiding what you should be doing? I feel this way a lot. Problem is, what SHOULD I be doing? When I am cleaning house, I feel like I should be playing with the kids. When I am playing with the kids, I feel like I should be cleaning house. (Let's just say that living in tornado alley gives me an excuse for how the toy room looks most of the time!) Another one: when I am on the computer, I feel guilty for not working on my scrapbooks. When I work on my scrapbooks, I feel like I should be doing something more productive. (I'm definitely producing scrapbooks, but is it "necessary"?)

Is there an answer to my question? Maybe I need one of those instruction manuals for myself! "Today, you should clean the kitchen from 9-10 and then read stories with Courtney until Jonathan wakes up. After making macaroni and cheese for lunch, your next step is..." But, being the unorganized person I am, with great aspirations for super organization, this program would never work. I would never be able to follow a schedule like that. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. [I'm having a hard time verbalizing this idea. I started this blog entry a week or so ago. Trying to make my thoughts a little more clear than mud...]

I think that the answer to my question is perhaps that I need to learn to schedule: "organize my time and my life" (that's the title of a book I own...maybe now it's time to read it). I learned from someone to block sections of time for work, family, play, personal time, etc. If I know that I am going to include all the activities in my life (cleaning, kid time, scrapbooking, etc.) then maybe I won't feel guilty for participating in any of these activities.

Kyle is reading over my shoulder. He said that I should learn from my son Jonathan, who is turning one this month. He only has a few choices: eat, sleep or suck his fingers. And he doesn't sit and deliberate over which one to do next; he makes a decision and sticks with it. He doesn't feel bad for the choice he makes. But, he is also pretty good about balancing out his activities throughout his day. The moral of the story, I guess, is to "become as a child."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Do you think Ebay has an instruction manual for kids?

Sometimes I really wish it existed. "Here comes the head, just one more push and...congratulations! It's a girl. She's a biggie! Now push again, here it comes...Ahh. The instruction manual. Whoa. She's going to be a challenge. Her book is huge!!!"

A personalized instruction manual. "Courtney for Dummies" or "The Idiot's Guide to Benjamin" or even, for those rough days, "Chicken Soup for Jonathan's Mother's Soul." Now that's what I'm talking about. Tips on how to potty train him? Page 124. How to connive her into obeying? Chapters 4-7. Frustrated with his health problems? Pages 57-64.

So what I really need to know today is: what is making all of my children throw up? Five times in the last 1 1/2 weeks I have cleaned it up. All three of them have taken a turn, or two. Two of them smelled exactly the same: so raunchy that Kyle even put on his gas mask and it still wasn't enough. He used to be the throw up cleaner, but it has gotten too much for him this week.

(Hopefully there is also a section on what to do when you overload the washer with the stinky sheets and then flood the garage...)

One more question. Anyone have the page to "How to know when to keep your child home from school or church." My mom never had to deliberate. I always seem to get it wrong. He is fine on the days I keep him home. And comes home sicker than a dog when I send him to school. I can't win!

I know that I can go to the scriptures for parenting advice. I am grateful for this. But I need some concrete advice on things like getting stains out of my baby's clothes and what to do when my baby isn't gaining weight. Let me know if you find the instruction manual on Ebay. I'll put in a bid.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I really am my son's mother!

Well let's see. Today's obsession for my son Benjamin, age 6, is Neopets. "Mom, the only thing I want to do is play on the computer." Three days ago it was He gets enough computer game time, I'd hate to see what he would try to do with a game system!

My obsession for the week, or at least the last two days, has been finances. Last week it was blogging. The month before it was Scrapshare border swaps. (I mail in 5 identical borders and I get an assortment back.) But today, it is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. We got in debt buying this house, and I don't mean mortgage debt. I mean credit-card-because-we-didn't-have-funds-for-closing-costs kind of debt. I blame it on being uninformed, misinformed, poor money managers, moving to a town where we had to rush into buying because there are no family friendly rentals available. At least there weren't at the time we were looking. Add on the car payments (which thankfully are all gone now) for cars we had to go in debt to get because of accidents/broken down cars/needing a second car to take son to school and not have to make the one hour round trip to take Kyle to work and then pick him up.

Then, through Scrapshare of course, I found Dave Ramsey. He has a nationally syndicated radio program that I listen to online. (Thank goodness for DSL!) I already ordered his book off of amazon. And I spoke with a financial advisor that he recommends to help us revamp our investments and savings.

We have been wanting to get out of debt, especially since I got all our financial info on Quicken and I started including Kyle in bill paying and financial decision making. He always left it to me. Scary. We were motivated to pay it off, but didn't have the knowhow to really pull it off. Now I feel empowered. It feels nice to "know" about debt now and investing and savings and life insurance and mortgages and... I think I listened to 5 hours of his program archives yesterday and 3 hours today.

I wonder when my obsessions will channel elsewhere. I hope I keep the finances as a priority, though. It would sure feel good!