Monday, December 10, 2012

Planning to fail

I have a love-hate relationship with planning. That is to say, I love the idea of planning, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only mom who feels that way. I truly admire those who can say with confidence that they know exactly what they will do each day, espousing the virtues of weekly menus and chore charts. I also think they're lying. Well, maybe "lying" isn't exactly the word I want. Exaggerating? Being overly optimistic? The fact is, every time I attempt to make some semblance of a plan, life happens. I'm too busy, too tired, too sick, or I just plain don't feel like following through. And then I feel like a failure, because I made a plan and didn't stick to it. I have to remind myself that if we're all reasonably clean, fed, and alive at the end of the day, things are going okay. Riiight. It's pretty easy to say, but much harder to believe, this idea that simply surviving can be succeeding.

There really isn't anything wrong with planning, per se. The problem is in the execution. It's all very well to make a list of things you want and need to do in a day and figure out when to do them. The problem comes when, at the end of the day, you know you did things that needed to be done, yet the to-do list remains unchecked. Incidentally, these are the nights I dream of being chased by pencils, unending lists of chores with their teeth bared (what? Your dream chore lists don't have teeth? Get with the program!) and the house collapsing under the weight of the undone chores. The laws of physics clearly do not apply in the land of nightmares, because it would obviously be the crawl space collapsing and not the house, but... I digress.

Maybe the answer is to plan to fail. I know, it sounds preposterously dumb, but hear me out. If you anticipate life and its twists and turns, maybe planning works. For example, this might mean picking up a frozen pizza along with all of the from-scratch ingredients at the grocery store, knowing that you won't be able to get dinner on the table every night without it. Maybe it means only washing one load of laundry each day, instead of trying to do five in one day. Maybe it means allowing six hours, as I did today, to get four errands done. The funny thing about planning for failure is that when the inevitable happens, it's not nearly as frustrating. I smell a catchy slogan - "planning to fail takes the fail out of failure!" Yikes. Maybe not. But you get the idea.

After all, we moms plan for failure all the time...if we didn't, there'd be no such thing as diaper bags or bibs. But collectively (with the help of Pinterest) we seem to have fallen short when it comes to allowing for life to intervene on a daily basis. So my goal this week is to plan for failure. Won't you join me? I have a feeling we'll get a lot more done!

I'm linking up with Megan at Positively (Im)perfect for Make it Count Monday!

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