Hello, My Name Is….

I don’t know how I tricked them, but the awesome folks at Aiming Low have published another post by me. Please feel free to read it and add any other quirks you think my computer friends might need to know about before meeting me in person.

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Gold Star For Cleaning

The other day, the fabulous Empress Alexandra from Good Day, Regular People posted a primer on making the most of common sense and a mother’s precious time alone. She gifts you with tips on conning showing your family how hard you work for them. Many of her tips involve ‘making’ dinner, so I can’t use them. My family knows better than to think I actually spent my day cooking. I mean, I blogged about that one time I made lasagna because it was such a huge deal. Anyway, today, I offer an extension of the Empress’s phenomenal lessons.

You know what I did today? I unpacked our suitcases. (Well, not did, am doing. I had to stop to write this awesome thought. And maybe surf the net. And then forget what I was doing before this.)

Why is it significant that I’m tackling this chore today? Well, we arrived home from Texas seven days ago. So, those suitcases have been crowding the dining room since then. Am I lazy? Maybe. But am I also a genius at getting recognized for my hard work? Yes. Yes, I am. And this brings us to the tips:

If it’s not messy, how do you know when it’s clean?

God bless you people that have a neat house at all times. You are awesome. But are you getting credit for your hard work? If your family never sees the horrible, how can they appreciate the beautiful? You know what gets you noticed? Turning a pig sty into a livable home. Sure, you have to let things pile up on counters and floors, and your socks will need extra bleach when you get around to washing them, but it’s worth it to get a big grin from the people who no longer have to navigate your family’s daily detritus.

The squeaky wheel gets the praise.

Email your spouse: “Hey, be careful when you get home, the floor may still be wet from mopping.” (If your job is weeks after the mess or done in a haphazard manner, he’s a fool to bring it up. On account of the emotional issues you have and what not.) What generally happens is a big ‘ol “Thank You!” from a person grateful he will not stick to the floors anymore.

Other possible email laments include:

“I tried to get my chores done, but the boys wouldn’t nap. I only got half my list done.” Half of how much? What chores? Don’t sweat it; there will only be praise not suspicion. (Just to be clear, I NEVER clean during nap. That’s me time.)

“Since the boys are back in school today and won’t be here to make a mess, I’m going to be able to clean the bathrooms.” Oh! That’s why she hasn’t cleaned! The boys are just making things dirty all the time. Why clean when it only lasts five minutes?

Make an impression.

Whatever you are doing when your spouse gets home is what he thinks you’ve been doing all day. I learned this lesson from my dad. My dad always wanted to know what we had done to be productive that day. Shouting your supposed accomplishments from the couch while watching TV didn’t promote confidence in your story.

The suitcases that will be gone any minute now. Please also note the vacuum. It will stay there until someone tells me, “Good job” for using it.

So, try not to be on the computer. (I know, it’s hard. That’s where the people are. The people who don’t whine when their banana has brown spots.) Leave the vacuum out. Water should be running somewhere. First load of laundry or fifth? Well, since clean clothes are always out waiting to be folded, no one will ever be able to tell how much was added today.

Your darling children can help with this as well. All day, whenever they ask you to play with them, say, “Sure sweetie, I just have to finish this chore.” Then, never show up. You can count on them coming back to remind you of your pledge to play. Answer with, “I’m sorry honey. I had one more chore I really needed to start.” They will for sure complain to Daddy that all Mommy did all day was chores. Thanks kids!

That’s it! It’s that easy to get daily gold stars for things you should be doing simply out of love and your fine sense of responsibility.

You’re welcome.

Full disclosure: I am not this messy or devious (though I am this needy for praise). I’ve exaggerated for humor. How exaggerated? Eh, let’s not get into such details.

Chasing Bunnies

My family has a cute phrase for a not-cute thing.  When our ADD attacks with full force, we call it chasing bunnies.  There are bunnies all over waiting to take up our time and attention when we should be doing other things.

I am an adult with ADD.  I come from a family of them.  (Don’t worry family, I’m only gonna out Nana, and this is no surprise to anyone who knows her.)

A lot of people, moms especially, joke about having ADD.  It’s an excuse for forgetting things or getting distracted.  That’s cool.  It’s nice to have a reason for messing up.  But, to really have ADD as an adult is not fun.

A look at my brain, complete with random thoughts teetering on the edge.

For example, while writing this post I’m simultaneously reading another blog and editing pictures I took with my iPhone.  Pictures of so many things it’s like 10 people use my phone.  I also need to start a load of clothes in the washer, but I hesitate to do that.  If I head back there, I’ll more than likely also find another chore to do, and that will leave this blog post to be finished in 2013.

Bunnies are after me, people.  Bunnies.

As a parent, having ADD can impact in small ways.  My telling the boys that, “I’ll be there in one minute,” is actually telling them I MAY be in there some time today if they ask me a few more times and no bunnies pop out at me before I get there.  When I play with them, I also clean up nearby messes.  So, I sort of half-ass playing sometimes.  I also can’t play with their Matchbox cars for long.  I have this incredible urge to sort their cars by type and/or color.  Not a fun way to play.

ADD is not just about distractions.  It’s also about hyperfocus.  I wake up worrying about and planning what to make for dinner.  Every day. I have notes to remind me what to do, but since the tasks run through my head all the live-long day, I won’t forget them, but they won’t get done because new bunnies tasks will appear.

When the twins were babies, I had a notebook to track their feeding, sleeping, and, um, rear, activities.  A lot of moms do this, and moms with multiples really need to do it those first weeks when the world is changed so much you think it’s all a cruel joke.  Well, I kept that log for 6 months.  That’s right, every day for six months I noted food, nap times, etc.  I would even write what I thought caused nap disruptions so as to find a pattern and thus solve any and all nap issues.  (As you may guess if you are a mom, no pattern emerged and naps just did what they did.)  When my parents would watch the boys, I of course made them log the boys’ activities.  My dad enjoyed messing with me and putting down very exact times like 9:17am or putting in ridiculous notes.  I really felt that my kids needed me to be that knowledgeable about their daily lives so I could parent well.  All the answers were in that chart.  Except they weren’t.

Having ADD is hard to explain.  It’s needing to be organized in order to function but not being able to do it because of all the distractions.  It’s wanting to get this ONE MORE THING done on the computer when actually it’s 6:30pm, and the kids kind of need dinner.

Things are in boxes! But not the right ones. And they are not near things they should be. And that one thing still needs to be picked up.

I’m the kind of person who bought a mom organizer for my phone.  But, I haven’t used it yet because I really want to sit down with some uninterrupted time to figure it out and set it up perfectly.

I’m the kind of person who rewards herself for completing a task by reading a novel.  The whole thing.  Before I do anything else important.  Like shop for groceries.  Or shower.

It’s amazing I was gainfully employed for so long.  And as a teacher even.  Talk about needing to focus on more than one thing but not get distracted from the main point.  The funny thing is, while teaching, I do that well.  It’s like my super power.

And, I guess I do okay handling this while parenting.  My boys are alive. (Set small goals people; it helps.)  They seem to have fun with me.  They seem to be learning and stuff. (That’s an English degree on full display.)  I don’t know if I’ll ever be ‘perfect’ but no one is.  I just hope to not disappoint them.  I want to follow through and be someone they can count on.  I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.  Even if I have to kill me some bunnies.