Like clockwork, my human alarms created commotion this morning as I lay in bed half awake. I check the time on my phone, convincing myself that it is still too early for my little dudes to be awake. Sure enough, my alarms are right on schedule. As soon as my half-awake mind processed that there was no longer a consideration for more slumber, I was instantly bombarded with thoughts on planning out the day ahead. My mind automatically acts like an agenda with a schedule for the day. If you looked into my brain you would see an excel sheet with scheduled times and tabs for indoor and outdoor kids activities. This is an accepted new normal for me since becoming a stay-at-home-mom.
I am a planner who loves anything that has to do with pretty to-do list notepads and planners that come with reminder stickers decorated in paisleys and flower designs. It gives me a sense of doing and the feeling that I have it together. I lived off of planners when I was in the teaching profession, prior to staying home with my boys. I relied on it like a lifeline, keeping track of meetings and lesson plans. Even on chaotic workdays I was always able to check most things off on my planner for that day. A sense of relief always filled me when writing a checkmark next to a task with my purple Bic pen. Since staying home, I have given up having a paper agenda because when I attempted it the first year of my boys’ life I wrote maybe five words in it. I had a difficult time parting with the purchase of my yearly Kate Spade agenda that made me feel like I had it together, but reality was…I just didn’t need one for this season of life.
We will go to the park after breakfast today, I thought. The weather was finally cooling down and we were all a little stir crazy. I had it all planned out. The park would last up until the boys’ lunch time. Naptime would immediately follow. I loaded the boys up in the car as soon as they finished their bananas dipped in yogurt and shared their muffins with the dog. Five minutes into our park outing and one of my little guys was not having it. “Car, car!” he continuously yelled. I turn around to see my other little dude having the time of his life, going down the slide several times. Meanwhile, my other child was running straight towards the car. We had a nice meltdown and I knew I had to leave. Five minutes. I had another few hours until lunch. I took a deep breath and loaded them into the car. We went back home and looked at books and played with stickers. We ended up chasing each other and discovered a new game where the boys run under a blanket while I hold it up in the air. As frustrated as I was with my little guy for not wanting to be at the park when it was the plan I had in my mind, I realized in that moment that he is growing and learning. He is also human. I loved watching the grins on their faces as they ran under the blanket several times. This wasn’t on the imaginary planner in my head, but we were right where we belonged in that moment. They were so happy. This was motherhood unplanned.
Staying home has presented various challenges because of this inner pull I often feel. I look at the clock only to realize it is already four in the afternoon and I have no idea what I accomplished. As much as I try to mentally plan my day, it gets away from me. I did a few loads of laundry and tossed a dinner in the Crockpot, two things that had no need to be placed on a paper planner. I read “Pout Pout Fish” more times than I can count and my son had an unplanned meltdown because I gave him the wrong snack. Two things that were not a part of my scheduled plan for the day. Somedays I feel defeated because I cannot figure out what I even did. Considering all of the things we planned for that day, half of them were unrealistic and half of them didn’t end up happening because…well, toddlers. The silver lining to all of this are the small unplanned moments that are most impactful. I find that staying home comes with a lot of unexpected memories that were not a part of the plan. The key is soaking it in and being present.
Motherhood unplanned has taught me the valuable lesson of how to adjust and how to just be. Although I have to remind myself of this often, it is a special lesson that makes being a mom so remarkable. A planner helped me predict my days and feel more in control. The thing is…motherhood is so far from predictable and definitely brings a sense of being out of control at times. The reality is, it probably isn’t as messy or as unpredictable as it feels; however, a flower-designed agenda just doesn’t fit my current season of life. I have accepted that and am working on rolling with the punches. Looking back on my days, I’ve accomplished a lot. Each day I help my boys become better humans, growing and learning new things. They just started saying “sorry” and “thank you” and I beam with pride when they say it. I might’ve not accomplished my to-do list or checked things off of my imaginary agenda, but I always end the day with a full heart.