Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Baby Nuthouse: order disorder

Spring is here. It’s time to clear away the cobwebs and clutter in my home and mind. Time to throw out what I don’t need, and organize the rest. This spring, I am going to get my life in order.

I’ve been trying to get my life in order for the past 15 years.

Here are three reasons why my life will probably never be in order:

1. I Stink at Multitasking.
I once read an interesting article about multitasking. Researchers studied the effects of multitasking on the human brain and found that performance decreased significantly when the subjects tried to do more than one task at a time. I can’t remember all the details; as I read the article I was also eating lunch, cutting shapes from construction paper and searching for a shoe.
Let’s face it, if I’m going to get organized, I have no choice but to multitask. So this morning while I was cooking breakfast, I checked my email, put away clean dishes, purged the pantry of expired items, and started the washing machine. Meanwhile, the boys were occupied with watercolors and my daughter was in her high chair attempting to feed herself yogurt.
Then I heard, “oops.” Grayish water was spreading across the table and heading for the floor. I quickly grabbed some towels to mop up the mess.
Next thing I knew, I had a skillet full of charred eggs, the baby had raspberry yogurt in her hair, the washing machine was on “rinse” and I had never gotten around to putting in the clothes.

2. I Have a Very Short Attention Span
No matter how excited I am when I begin, if a task takes more than a couple of days to complete, I’m probably going to lose interest. My older brother will attest to the fact that I have always been this way. Most of our interactions ended with me getting bored of whatever we were playing, and him becoming angry and calling me a "quitter.” My mom always explained that it was just because I was younger than he was. Actually age has nothing to do with it. All three of my children have longer attention spans than I do. My five-year-old spends weeks at a time focused on one subject. A perfect day for my three-year-old would entail playing with trains from sunup to sundown. My one-year-old will take the hat off her baby doll 400,000 times in a row and never lose interest.

3. I Have Virtually No Self-Discipline
Let’s just say I have never considered a career in the military. The only reason I get out of bed before 10 a.m. is because nobody else in the house is old enough to operate the toaster.
This lack of self-discipline ties in nicely with my short attention span. For an example of this, visit my other blog, Goodbye, Starbucks. It chronicles my attempt to quit buying overpriced lattes. The first week I was so successful I thought I had stumbled upon a new strategy for breaking bad habits (excited at the beginning). In fact, by day five it was going so well I was becoming bored of writing about it (short attention span). Fortunately, the second week I started faltering in my resolve (no self-discipline), which at least gave me something interesting to write about and kept the blog alive.

On the other hand, I do have a number of good qualities. For instance, I don’t tire of people the way I do projects, so I’m a loyal wife, mother and friend. I care. I try to make a difference. I help other people feel good about their lives by freely admitting that mine is not in order. I put the hat back on the baby doll 400,000 times.
And finally, I’m an optimist. Which is why, in spite of what you just read, I’m still going to spend the next couple of days trying to get my life in order.

2 comments:

kersten campbell said...

Oh man. We are twins. The worst of it is...my husband is a paragon of good virtues while I am a paragon of bad habits. Ah well. He still loves me. I make his life exciting.

Cristina said...

Ruth,
How's the getting organized thing going? I mean I get organized, and then it goes all to heck again. One thing gets organized, and another isn't. Talk soon--like tomorrow for your birthday