Planning and Organizing

Planning and organizing are, shall we say, not my forte. I get things done primarily by sheer force of will and the ability to stay maniacally focused on whatever I’m doing until it gets done. But I’ve never been much of a list-maker, an ahead of time things-doer, or even any sort of reasonably organized person.

But now that I’ve returned to work, all of that is going to have to change. Because I am now juggling my fitness and running commitments (and it is an important one to me – keeps me from losing my sanity), what has essentially become a full time job as a freelance marketing consultant (you can follow that link to see the bare bones website I spent about an hour on one night), and my duties as a wife and mom – all of which I am currently doing without benefit of regular child care with kids that have not yet returned to school.

You may be wondering how it came to pass that I am working without having bothered to arrange for child care first. You may want to return now to read the first paragraph about the not planning thing.

What happened was, I sort of accidentally fell into this job. I put my profile up on a freelancing site thinking it would take me a few months to find enough work to stay busy. Instead, it only took me about 10 days. I know this is not everyone’s experience and that I am actually really lucky. But the thing with freelancing is, you don’t really like to turn away work because of the fear that clients will go to someone else and then not be around when you need the work. And so you end up taking more on than you normally would.

And then you end up trying to figure out how to squeeze in your daily commitment to exercise, your personal hobbies and interests (such as this blog), talking to your kids and husband, being available for them when they need you, and other little things such as the preparation and consumption of food.

We had Hamburger Helper twice this week, and one day we had frozen Salisbury steaks and Mac and cheese (and were damn glad to have it).

All of which makes me realize that I am going to have to get a lot better about planning and preparing meals ahead of time.

And I also realize that I barely know where to start. Anyone out there got any good tips out there for juggling all this? Any good ideas for weekday meal preparation? I’m making friends with the Google on this topic but am also open to advice.


End of Summer

August went by in a blur. Between kids, camps, family vacations, surgeries and starting a business I basically have been running like a crazy person since the beginning of the month. I am looking forward to kids going back to school so I can figure out what all just happened.

Starting with kids – we have now reached the part of summer where I am glad they are going back to school but realize that there really is a reason they start selling all the back to school stuff in July. I’m not really prepared to send them, and time is running out to do anything about it. I guess I’ve reached the part of this parenting gig where I no longer feel much guilt about that.

I did do the whole back to school list for Oleg, because it’s kindergarten and that is a big deal. However, aside from buying a few outfits for Max, I am completely unprepared for him to go back. My lack of preparation is not helped by the fact that his school has not assigned teachers to the 2nd grade yet, therefore, no back to school list has been sent out. I bought some pencils and an eraser and that’s about it. I promised him a new backpack but don’t know when I’ll be able to get out and buy one.

School starts in 7 days and 2nd grade will just have to wait.

The main reason I am feeling pressed for time is that Max had a tonsillectomy yesterday, so I am housebound with him until he’s healed up, which should be right around the time school starts. He has been a good sport and super brave but shopping is not happening. The school will get their dry erase pens and baby wipes when I’m darn well good and ready to go buy them!

Because we’ve had better things to do around here than buy a bunch of school supplies that near as I can tell get stuffed into a giant drawer and never used anyway. We had fun vacations and camps to go to. Max got to go to beach camp on Jetty island in Everett where he spent the whole entire week becoming insanely tan, making new friends and learning all about the local seashore ecosystem. He had a great time.

I also decided that I would start freelancing when the kids went back to school in September, and decided to start laying groundwork to find writing jobs before the end of summer. I figured it would take time to find enough clients to really worry about, but what actually happened is that I ended up with a full book of business right out of the gate and so am getting a crash course in how to juggle competing priorities. And had to hire a babysitter.

Then we went on a roadtrip vacation to California. We drove to Portland, stayed overnight at the Benson Hotel, ate at the Original, breakfasted at Voodoo Donuts, and generally did our best to keep Portland weird for about 12 hours.

Then we drove to Sacramento via Crater Lake. After staying in Sacramento for a couple of days we roadtripped again to my aunt’s cute little beach house in Santa Cruz. We played on the beach, rode the rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.



I also accidentally ran 4 miles while we were in Santa Cruz. I didn’t get too sore after, which gives me hope that my ankle is finally on the mend. We’ll see how it goes.

Then we came home and Max got his tonsils out. And with that, summer is drawing to a close.

A Clean House is a Canvas

A clean house is apparently just a canvas for my children to defile. We had a cleaner in this morning and 15 minutes after she left, I had to sweep up a giant pile of dirt. Seriously? I give up. Oh who am I kidding, I gave up on having clean floors a long time before today.

Oh well. Life will go on and my floors will be dirty and that is just the way that it is.

My return to running has been slow. I still feel the ankle is off, though there’s no pain. So for the foreseeable future I will only be running a couple of times a week. I’ll just have to do a lot of cross training instead. I am actually having to stay out of the pool now also, because it was giving me a chemical burn on my scalp. I guess I am just a delicate little flower.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I had returned to working part time. Well, that has been going gangbusters. I think I must have a hard to find skill set (can write, understands technology things) because I have found several great clients who are going to be keeping me busy for the next few weeks. Which is great news for me, not such great news for my kids. Apparently when you are a mom, you can’t just decide “I’m going back to work” without advance planning. Because when you don’t have a babysitter, and your kids are used to having your full attention, it is a hard transition for them when they have to entertain themselves. I hope they will get better at it. But also, I think if I am going to be this busy I need to hire someone to help. Nice problem to have!

Since I’ve been working again, I can see that my old workaholic tendencies are still latent – though to look at my house you would never know I am a type A person. I guess bottom line is that I don’t care about housework unless someone is coming over. I am externally motivated – and anyone who knows me knows that this is true. I’m what my grandfather used to call a springbutt – that kid in school who has all the answers and always has their hand in the air. Volunteers for everything. Gets good grades to validate their own existence. I love any opportunity to measure my worth in another person’s opinion. Runs races to prove to themselves that they are faster than the majority of other people in their age group (or, you know, if I was fast enough I’d be trying to win – I take whatever validation I can find I guess!)

A psychologist would probably say that these are not good things, but the good news is, it does make me good at my job. And motivates me to run, too!

Eat and Run Mom Runs Again!

Howdy! I’ve been a busy bee, not much time to post up in here, so this is a quick update in bullet format.

1) I am out of my brace and have very slowly started running again. I’m taking it slow. For instance, today I ran a couple of miles, interspersed with some walking, just playing it by ear to see how things feel. So far, so good. I do find I get a bit stiff and clicky for a day or so after, so I am only running once every two days. It will be a while before I can add miles but I definitely feel improvements happening and that is good.

2) I decided I would go back to work in the fall, so I got my resume and LinkedIn profile all ready to start looking for work as a freelancer. I am returning to my first love, which is writing and marketing. Anyway, two days after updating my linked in I got a recruiting call, and a couple days after that landed my first freelance gig. It was small potatoes, but it felt good to be working again after so long – like hey, I can still do this.

3) Today, I landed a job rewriting all the marketing collateral, website and a white paper for a small consulting firm out of Los Angeles, and have another proposal going out to manage the social media presence of another company.

So that’s what is happening. I am suddenly busier than a one-armed paper hanger and feeling all sorts of work-related mom guilt, but on the other hand, I am happy to have the opportunity to use my brain for something other than armchair psychoanalysis of my kids.