I’ve always been a planner. I’ve pretty much had my life planned since I was old enough to form sentences. I wrote a book when I was in first grade about how I’d grow up to be a teacher. I planned out what my house would look like (though, I quickly learned that my shingled beach house with purple hydrangeas and and my profession of teacher weren’t working together), and I knew I’d become a mother as soon as possible. However, I never thought about what this meant for my love of planning things.

As someone who started babysitting at the age of 13, then went to college for a total of seven years to learn about children, you’d think I’d have known that kids and planning don’t always go hand in hand. But somehow, I missed this lesson. There were things, so very many things, that I took for granted. If I bought the ingredients for chicken parmesan for dinner, I knew I’d leave work that night at the usual time, go home, and make some delicious chicken parmesan. If I bought a great new silk shirt and put it on for work, I knew I’d wear that shirt to work. If I had plans to meet a friend for brunch at 10 am on Saturday, I knew, barring any natural disasters, it would happen. I guess you could say I felt like I had pretty good control over my life. And I loved it. Control over my life and I were a good combination. Because I was such a planner, I was sure I’d give birth to perfectly scheduled babies that would fit into my plan. HA.

BABIES. We were babies.

Pre-kids: BABIES. We were babies.

So now, 6+ years into motherhood, I have realized that while the control is slowly coming back, a lot of it is gone for good. I won’t even get into the chaos that was the newborn days (months!) when I’d go through several spit-up covered shirts per day, endure hours and hours of colicky crying, and struggle to make grilled cheese for dinner without forgetting what I was doing halfway though. Now, at 3 and 6, I’d call it a reasonable level of chaos. Yet still…for comparison purposes, here is what I’d planned for today (a day off work), with notes of what happened.

*Wake up at 6:15 and prep crockpot meal before leaving. Wake up 5 minutes after “everyone must have clothes on and teeth brushed” time because I accidentally silenced my alarm during the night.

*Drop children off at schools and head home to write lesson plans for my preschool class. Drop one child at school, realize from empty parking lot that 2nd child’s school has a weather delay. Go back home, watch Curious George “A Very Monkey Christmas” for the 500th time.

*Prepare a healthy lunch, vacuum the house, check on crockpot dinner, do laundry. Get home from preschool pick up late because of delay, forget about laundry entirely, vacuum up thousands of pine needles from the Christmas tree, try to finish lesson plans while three year old takes out all the DVDs, silently, in the other room. Sort of vacuum half the house.

*Pick up kindergartener, then return home to finish cleaning the house. Pick up kindergartener who has developed a horrible hacking cough during the day. Get a 4:30 doctor appointment, which is 45 minutes away from school. Realize the soup never made it into the crock pot.

*Address Christmas cards while the kids play together; get dinner on the table. Frantically text my husband that we won’t be home until quarter to seven because of hold ups at the doctors and picking up a prescription after. Ask him to pick up any pizza from any place with any toppings he wants.

*Eat a nutritious dinner as a family, baths for the kids, and a nice, calm bedtime. How easy was that day off?! Everyone inhales pizza because bedtime is in 20 minutes. Baths will need to wait until morning (since tomorrow is a sick day of course, due to horrible hacking cough). Spend 30 minutes trying to get sick child to sleep. Collapse. Prepare to wake up 3-5 times with coughing child.

This is the part of motherhood that I had no idea existed. I was really sure that all the moms who complained about how exhausting and truly ’round the clock this whole gig was simply must be doing something wrong. Well, they weren’t. And I’m not. And you’re not. It is that exhausting (and also wonderful), and it’s nothing you’re doing wrong. So pregnant planners beware. The baby has zero regard for your plans!

Going with the flow for 6 years now.

Going with the flow for 6 years now.

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