I’m trying to remember what it was like to decide to do something, and just get up and do it. A time when I didn’t have to make 356 arrangements in order to make something happen. I’m sure I had spontaneity in my life at some point… I just don’t remember what it felt like.
We Real Women are like Air Traffic Controllers…. or perhaps it is more like Army Logistics Coordinators. (Anyone keeping track yet of all the roles we play?). If you have a spouse or partner, or even live only with pets, you have to consider others when making plans. If you have other family members living with you, especially children, you automatically have even more coordination that has to be done when attempting to do any activity whatsoever.
Even simple matters are not so simple. Let’s say your child has a doctor’s appointment. If it is during the school year, there are dismissals to arrange, or timing around school and activities. If it is during the summer, there is camp or other activities to plan around. And that is just for the child. Then there is the decision of who is taking the child to the appointment – which parent, or caretaker? If it is a parent, which one of you can re-arrange your schedule or take time of off work to go? You get the picture… and I know you live it every day like I do.
This air traffic control or mobile-army maneuvering gets even more complex when planning something more substantial, say a few days off for a family vacation. The other day I had to laugh as my husband and I discussed the coordination needed just to go away for a couple of days for a little family getaway. Some of the conversations went like this:
“When do you want to leave on Thursday?”
“It would be great to leave mid-day, can you get out early?”
“I think so, how about you?”
“I can leave at noon…no, wait, I can’t. I had a meeting get scheduled…I could get out more like 2pm.”
“I’ll tell the sitter that we won’t need her that afternoon, since we’ll be home early so we can leave.”
“What do you want to do about the dog? Board him, or ask the dog sitters to come by and take care of him?”
After a discussion about the pro’s and con’s and costs of taking care of the dog, the matter is settled and arrangements for him are made. A couple of days later, we continued:
“Wait, I forgot. What about our son’s music lesson that night?”
“Oh, geez. Can the instructor do another night?”
“Not sure, I can find out. If not, we’ll have to just leave later.”
“Ok, let’s find out. If we leave later, I’ll change plans slightly with the dog sitter, and child care, and accept another meeting request I got at work.”
“Alright, but let’s be packed and ready to go so we can still get there in time for dinner that night..”
And on and on….
If it is an even larger event, say a lengthier vacation involving flight travel, the planning (and packing!) has to start months in advance. And if it is just one of us, a Real Woman who is going away, say on a work trip, it gets no easier. Prepping ourselves is the least of the challenge. Making sure all is coordinated and arranged to carry on life as usual while we are away is where our planning skills are put to the test.
I am blessed to have the life I have, really I am. Luckily my mother instilled Planning DNA in me, so I don’t really mind taking on the logistics of every day. But sometimes, just sometimes… I daydream about waking up, saying “hey, let’s go to Bermuda!” and just doing it. Maybe some day I’ll pretend to be that spontaneous – after I’ve got it all planned, of course.