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Misplaced Your Mojo?

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If you’re reading this article, you probably have a computer, or regularly use one.  Perhaps like me, it’s on your desk, in your study or office, or a place in your home where you have your filing, bills, folders, stationary.

My office also seems to be a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff: things that need fixing, kids’ artwork, and anything that does not seem to have found a home in the house yet, but that’s another story.  Oh, my sewing basket lives here too, but don’t tell anyone I can sew, or they’ll all start queuing up with buttons and stuff.

The biggest problem a lot of us seem to have, is that when we sit down at our desk, it’s very easy to be distracted from the tasks we actually need to do, like taking care of work, study, bills or household papers, by things like surfing the internet, chatting online and social networking sites.

It’s not that we shouldn’t be doing these things – what’s wrong with planning your TV viewing, catching up with news, staying in touch with friends and family, looking up things on Wikipedia etc, it’s fun and useful – it’s just that it’s so easy to avoid other things and suck up extraordinary amounts of time.

Ever checked on your kids doing their homework and told them off for playing games and chatting online when they should be studying?  What about your own computer time?  Do you have chores and necessary tasks you’ve been putting off because you’ve been spending your desk time passively letting the computer lead you astray?

If something is staying on your To Do list and doesn’t seem to be budging, it may mean that the task needs to be more clearly defined and planned.  It may mean that it’s really a project that needs to be broken down into specific tasks, that needs information gathered, preparation made, planning sessions allocated for it, decisions made about it.

We are more likely to put off starting something if we’re not really sure how long it will take or how we’re going to do it.  It’s easier to do something we already know how to do, than something we have not done before.  Not knowing the first step that must be taken can be an invisible barrier to starting on the task.  We may take longer than necessary to do more familiar things so we have an excuse for not making a start on these other more uncertain things.

Procrastination is not necessarily related to laziness.  It is often just caused by uncertainty. 

If we need to wash the dishes, we’re hopefully familiar with the task and pretty confident about how to do it, what we’ll need and how long it will take. The first step of gathering them all in the kitchen sink area is not something we really need to plan and think about too much.  We can just go ahead and get it done, as part of our daily routine.  Drop off or pick up dry cleaning can be confidently noted in our calendar and done while we are out.

Something a bit more tricky, like fix the curtains, or install the new modem, or list items on eBay, might not look like it should take too long, but on closer inspection is perhaps being left behind simply because we need to identify smaller parts of the task, like working out how many hooks are missing and need to be bought, locating the electric drill, checking what size screws we need, setting aside time for a long phone call to tech support, recharging the camera batteries, setting aside time to gather items to be photographed, working out how the postage calculation works, working out how to estimate the weight of items to be posted and so on.

Readers have noted my previous admissions that being organized is not something which comes naturally or easily to me. 

This is why I enjoy writing about it.  I’m interested in the reasons I struggle with it, and how to be organized anyway.  Despite my lack of natural ability, my desire to be organized has always been strong and I have generally been reasonably successful in my efforts.

The fact that I have to work at it and struggle with it just makes it easier for me to write about it.  As several readers have observed in emails, who wants to hear advice from someone who finds everything easy and doesn’t share the same struggles as the rest of us.

There are things in our lives that we’re not naturally talented at, and we have absolutely no need to do anything about it. 

Personally I can’t stand sport and couldn’t hit a barn with a basketball, and I have absolutely no intention of taking up tennis or golf lessons any time soon.  I’ve met people who feel the same way about music, and couldn’t care less if they never learned to play the piano, strange as that seems to me.

But with other things, we may decide that even though it’s not going to be something that is easy for us to learn, we know it will be good for us and make our lives better, that it’s necessary, or that we’ll feel better when we work on that area and improve our skills.

 

Regularly Editing Your WardrobeCloset organization can be daunting, but it really does make our lives easier to have an organized closet or wardrobe.  Be your own closet organizer and learn some simple habits which will let you find the perfect outfit quickly and easily.

Unless you have a particular career or hobby related to fashion which means it really does matter to you and give you pleasure to keep a great deal of clothes you are very unlikely to wear, you’re probably better off limiting the total amount of clothes you keep for yourself, and regularly editing your wardrobe.

In order to not run out of space, be able to find the clothes you’re after, make it easier to choose outfits, keep clothes in good condition and feel positive about your clothes, you need to regularly edit.  This means clearing out as many clothes as you add, so that you keep to a reasonable amount.

That reasonable amount may depend on the available space or what kind of clothes you wear.  I know people who live with more extreme seasonal temperature variations often put away out of season clothes each year and get them out again, rather than keep them in regular storage.

https://youtu.be/YYukEAmoMCQI'm going to start this category off with a great video from You Tube which is hysterically funny and made me feel great. I watched it with one of my kids and we nearly wet ourselves!

It sums up one of the most important things about parenting that comes to mind for me, which is that we are here to provide leadership for our kids and be rock solid for them, setting an example and showing that we care enough to enforce what we know is best for them.

Be strong, mums and dads, believe in yourselves, and watch this cool video clip by Anita Renfroe.


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https://youtu.be/YYukEAmoMCQ

Two children looking at a bookI am in my bedroom working on the notebook (I think we don't call them laptops any more because you can't actually put them on your lap because it blocks the air hole thingy and they can catch on fire) computer (thanks Santa) and listening to my 4 year old boy pretend to read a story from a book to his 3 year old sisters, but which he is really making up.  He's doing voices, and probably actions.  He is quoting the characters, saying " and then he said....."

The bits I can make out are all about how the characters are feeling.  There was a lot of "angry angry angry" a minute ago, and now they're all happy and laughing.  He's throwing in some phrases like "and theeeen", and "the end", but the story seems to keep going after the end.

Now he's moved onto some songs, like I'm a Little Teapot, This Old Man, with back up from the girls, and arguing about the lyrics.

They're supposed to be asleep of course; it's gone half past eight, and my goodness I need my reading glasses.
Scanning room to locate them.  Distance vision much better than close.  Separate article to discuss reading glasses - health category perhaps.

Anyway, point of this post is that your life as a parent just happens to you while other things are going on.  It's nice to stop and enjoy it sometimes.

 

Child choosing vegetablesMy eldest two daughters, now 15 and 11, always ate vegetables, unless my memory is worse than I think and/or I'm kidding myself.  They certainly enjoy their vegetables very much now.  "Let's just order a pizza or get some fish and chips" I say, exhausted and not in the mood for mess, and they plead for me to cook them vegetables.  I'm not joking, it's really true.  The only issue I have is that one doesn't like zucchini, which is one of my favourites.

But my little ones, 2 and 3 years old, are not great veggie eaters.  What did I do differently?  Where did I go wrong?

They do, however, like to touch, hold, discuss and identify the vegetables.  But my son will not even allow them to touch his plate.  Not even the ever-favourite pumpkin.  He won't even taste it.

As little babies they ate veggies, and lots of them.  Their father would make great batches of home made baby food which we would freeze in little servings.  It would have pumpkin, potato, broccoli, carrots, and all sorts of lovely things good for little babies.  We incorporated beef mince into it too.

But when they get to the age where they want to hold the spoon themselves, and no longer need everything mashed up, it gets tricky.

Three bored looking young kidsIt’s school holidays at the moment here for my older kids.  The challenge for me is to not end up feeling guilty. 

How on earth though, do we manage to not feel guilty when it’s guaranteed that at some stage during the holidays the kids will complain that they’re bored and have nothing to do. 

It’s no good telling them that when we were their age we had to make our own fun, and we certainly didn’t get driven to the pool or the roller skating rink or the zoo every day.  And it’s no good complaining to them that we have limited funds to spend on entertaining them.  They just don't get it. 

So what I do is tell them at the outset, that there will be a set amount of outings, whether it’s one or two a week, and they can each choose some.  That way my schedule and my budget are prepared, the kids know what to expect, and there’s no arguing. 

The other days they are welcome to get together with friends or do things that don’t cost money, and if there’s driving involved for me, there’s a limit, and I don’t guarantee being able to if given no notice. 

We have some visits lined up with family and friends as well, and hey, we parents are allowed to have some time to ourselves too.

Pregnant womanTalking to people about childbirth, as I often do whenever the opportunity comes up, I have found many people don’t understand the nature of the pain we experience during labour.

Men often feel fear, frustration, and worry for their partner.  Wishing there was something they could do to help her, and feeling useless is a common comment..

When speaking to women who are pregnant with their first child, their fear of the pain of childbirth is often made worse by not really understanding the nature of it.

So I like to take the opportunity to explain my experience and understanding of it to expectant parents, hopefully without being intrusive or boring them too much.

My own fear of childbirth pain, when I was expecting my first child, is the same thing I have often heard pregnant women tell me.  I knew that the labour pains were caused by the contractions of the uterus, but I was more afraid of the head crowning than anything else.

Lola's birth

These birth stories are frank and very personal accounts.  They are most likely to be of interest to expectant parents, particularly pregnant women, or to doulas, midwives and people with a particular interest in childbirth.  Please ensure you are comfortable with frank discussion about the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy and birth before deciding to read further.

This is the story of the birth of my first child.  It was a planned homebirth.  The labour lasted about 12 hours and both mother and baby were fine, no intervention or drugs being required.  This account was written in 1992.

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