I have these days where I know there is work to be done. Days where I have a glorious four hours of time alone. Time alone that could do serious damage to my to-do list. But something distracts me. Something makes me spend my four hours doing other things. Things that feel like fun at the time, but then later make me less-than-proud of my actions.
I’m not talking about anything sinister or sundry. No, it’s really just something that I’ve been prone to all of my adult life – doing “work” that doesn’t need to be done, simply because it’s fun, regardless of the important work that does need to be done. This morning I found a tool that would help me splice together three different feeds so that I could offer one single Polka Dot Radio feed that would let subscribers know when there is a new blog post as well as when there has been an update to the station’s playlist. Is that a cool thing to have? Oh, yeah! Could my radio station have lived without it for another few days, weeks, or months? Most certainly.
I didn’t spend my entire four hours playing around with radio-related things, but I did spend more than half of it that way. And when I skip my morning shower in favor of turning on my laptop, and when I get lured into blowing off a task list so that I can tinker with code, it sets a precedent for the day. No matter how many times I said to myself today that I would put down the computer after such-and-such a time and concentrate on other things, it was an uphill battle all the way. I did the bare minimum – straightened up the living room & dining room, processed new orders & payments, and finally took that shower. Other than that, there were feeds to play with, blogs to read, and Moo cards to order.
When I’ve had a productive day, but productive in an “I did what I wanted and shirked all other responsibilities” kind of way, it leaves me feeling like I somehow cheated my way through the day, and that I’ve probably missed some of the better moments having my nose buried in my laptop.
The day wasn’t a total loss. I did orchestrate a small treasure hunt for Aidan to do when he came home from school. At the end of the hunt was his favorite snack waiting for him. He loved that. And tonight the four of us sat on the boys’ beds daydreaming about a fun trip we could take this weekend. Aidan wants to stay in a hotel, and while that is probably a cost-prohibitive diversion, I think we can manage to replicate some of the great things about hotel-stays right here at home. Making plans has a way of pulling one out of their self-absorbed doldrums. It’s optimistic thinking infused with enthusiasm, and one can’t help but feel better in its wake.
The high lasted all of 5 minutes before I found myself sitting downstairs on the couch, one eye on the TV, the other on my laptop. I was reading some of my favorite crafty mom blogs, and while often I find them uplifting and inspirational, that is not the case when I’ve had a slacker kind of day. Seeing all of these women who make beautiful things and find creative and special moments with their children gave me this feeling of terrible inadequacy. I found myself wondering what I’ve missed with my nose in the computer so much. Why wasn’t I outside pushing the boys on the swing, or taking a walk in the crunchy leaves today? The winter will be here before I know it and I’ll wonder where the fall went. Where did it go? It left, while I was being picky about an irrelevant rss feed and reading about other people’s lives.
The final straw for me was reading about Stefani’s muffins. Her kids were enjoying homemade muffins for breakfast in a tee pee they’d made together in the yard. A stray thought crossed my mind: “how nice it would be to give the boys something homemade for breakfast instead of the usual pop tart.” I almost dismissed it like I’d lazily dismissed all other thoughts just like it today, until I paused. What, exactly, was I doing right now that was so important? Was I particularly interested in what was on TV? No. Could I really enjoy any more crafty mom blogs while I was in this dark place? No. Is 9:15 too late to start baking? Well, usually, but not tonight.
So now I blog as the smell of a recipe I’d never tried before wafts through the house. Awash in a sea of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger I feel more in balance right now than I have all day. Pumpkin Biscotti cooling on the counter, I’m ready to think ahead to a better day tomorrow. Tomorrow I will tackle that task list. Tomorrow I will be open to putting aside the laptop for a little real living. And tomorrow I will greet the boys with a smile and we will have cookies for breakfast.