A Functioning Mutant is a Delegating Mutant

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I have vented a lot on here about my lack of organization, the stress with the house, and so on and so forth. A lot of you have chimed in with amazing ideas and suggestions and encouragement (as usual, because I have the best readers on the internets EVA).

So, I have been tweaking things around here. Little things. And some of it, is actually working. Stuff like…

Child Labor

I force myself to delegate more and more household chores– especially to Eldest who is beyond old enough to start carrying around a bigger load of responsibility. But also to Daughter and Baby. What have I had the kids do? Well on top of the usual things they already do I have had Eldest empty out the dishwasher with the assistance of Baby and/or Daughter. I’ve also had him load it if anything happened to be in the sink while the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. Daughter is now fully responsible for feeding the cat. I made two changes to make sure she could do this easily. 1) I put a plastic cup in the giant bag of cat food so she could just scoop out the food instead of carry and pour it out. 2) I switched the wet food to this stuff by Meow Mix called Pate Toppers. Why? Because the containers are plastic with foil lids that peel right off. Much easier to do, and safer, than the metal cans. Also, the plastic is recyclable. I have them help me fold laundry, especially socks which I hate doing. I aim to clean while they are present and then delegate appropriate tasks. Wiping down surfaces with a Clorox wipe for instance. Cleaning the place mats. Running the vacuum cleaner. Emptying the bathroom trash cans. I have also employed them more often in meal prep– especially breakfast and occasionally lunch and seldomly in dinner or dessert. Eldest is especially good at this one but Daughter is as well. Baby is good at setting the kids table settings and getting cups of water for everyone.

Google Calendar

Where have you been all my life? I have toyed with Google Calendar before but recently I have made it a point to really abuse it and have gone so far as to set it up properly with settings I prefer (Pop Up Reminders FTW) and even shared it with Stallion and set Stallion up with one so I could better track his work schedule which always changes and is a nightmare to keep track of mentally. I still keep a paper calendar in my purse because entering things in my phone is a pain in the booty-bum and my Nexus 7 has a knack for not being in my purse, not having a charged battery, and/or not being in a wireless hotspot when I need to enter a reminder. I also like that I can email events to people as I’m entering them. So, for instance when I updated my calendar to show Eldest’s upcoming Track and Field meet, I also had it dash a quick email to MutantWino, MutantPirate, and MutantDad since they have all shown interest in attending his meets and have even made it to one already.

Prep

I have been working really hard on getting things taken care of ahead of time. I prep lunches the night before, except mine and I don’t know why I do that. I make sure the uniforms are prepped. I put everything that needs to go out the door with us the next day clustered together on the dining table (one day when I’m financially stable, I will be doing some work on my entry so that it is an awesome Home Base area thing). And when I add reminders to my Google calendars, I try and set the time for evening hours– earlier if it’s something the kids need to do and later if it’s something I need to do. I am also prepping food-wise as much as possible. I haven’t really done another formal meal plan but I want to. And I do try and at least somewhat think about what I have food-wise and what to make with it when. On Sunday, I hard-boiled ten eggs and put them in a tray in the fridge so we’d have access to them all week. It’s been a great extra to throw into lunch boxes and my kids LOVE them. It’s easy to do and so this is something I will do more regularly. I have also started purchasing more snack food. I know it’s more expensive to buy the little bags of cookies individually packaged but I am just not going to package them myself. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Grilling

About a month or so ago, my family had another Grand Round of Shuffling Objects. My aunt and uncle were downsizing, Mutant Pirate bought his first home, and Mutant Wino is settling down with a fiancee into a house they will be purchasing from her mother soon so he is expanding. Anyways, things were shuffled around and I ended up with my parents gas grill. I have never grilled anything on a BBQ in my life and now I’m wondering what the hell took me so long (besides cash flow to actually purchase one of course). Almost every single thing I have put on that grill has turned out heavenly (except for the one time I wanted to char the Tandoori chicken I had cooked in the crock pot and then forgot about- doh!) and there are no pats and pans to clean and there is no cooked food smell in the house and I don’t even lose my appetite after cooking! It’s the best thing ever!!! I have made burgers, steaks, fish, even pasta on the thing. It’s fast and it’s easy and it gives me a reason to be outside of the house where I can’t hear the screaming of the children.

Stopped Caring

About the money that is. Sort of. I have been driving myself absolutely crazy trying to keep everything afloat financially. Counting pennies to make sure I have enough to pay this, that, and the other. Hounding Child Support Enforcement. And so on and so forth and then I just STOPPED. I gave up. On everything. I gave up on paying off my debts. I gave up on tracking my spending. I gave up on the idea of ever seeing child support again. I even gave up on the idea of paying every single bill on time. Yup. Just. Stopped. Caring. I recognize this is not a healthy way to live. I know that I cannot and will not sustain this for a long period of time. And I also know the way I was living before was just as unhealthy and just as unsustainable and finally everything cracked and fell apart. Credit cards are loaded up again. I’ve had some late bills I completely forgot about or flat out didn’t have money for. I had a bounced check. I even had one of my accounts cleaned out by credit card fraud. Someone got access to a nasty adult website at the cost of $90 of my precious money. I just felt like the more I kept fighting the money thing, the more ferocious it got. It was like a hydra. Cut off one head and eight more grow back in its place. So I stopped cutting and settled for lamely poking and some lazy dodging. Funny enough, a random child support check for $100 showed up (two days before my $90 was stolen so there you go). Does it mean things will be turning around soon? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care? Not yet, no.

I believe that each of us has limits and that includes limits on the number of things we can consciously dedicated time and energy to. Because life shifts constantly, these things need constant re-evaluation and re-prioritization. Right now, my focus is on 1) Organization, 2) School, and 3) Relationship Strengthening (romantic, family, kids, friends, and with myself). And that is all I can handle in a serious, dedicated, and consistent manner. It’s not that everything else gets thrown to the curb, it’s just that everything else gets handled as well as it can with whatever energy and other resources I may have left after dealing with 1, 2, and 3. As one of those becomes easier to handle and needs less and less of my attention, other priorities can ease up and absorb me some more. But right now, these are three biggies and they win, period end of story.

So, that’s where I am. And that’s where I am going. Thanks again for your suggestions. I have been trying them out here and there and it’s been nice knowing I have such a great team of cheerleading readers. But I’m curious– what do you think of limits as far as priorities go? Do you shift things around constantly or do you stay focused on pretty much the same things all the time? If so, do you find you need to shake things up now and then? Do you know what your limits are? What are you focusing on big time right now?

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27 thoughts on “A Functioning Mutant is a Delegating Mutant

  1. I’m glad some new things seem to be working. Personally, I rely on my Google calendar a little too much sometimes. If it’s not in there, I’m not doing it. And I have to out everything int here. I love it. Also, I too have started giving my son (11) more responsibility around the house. I thought there is no reason why I am trying to kill myself while he plays video games or outside with his friends. It helps a LOT. Also- I tend to shift things around quite a bit. I try to keep some things in top priority, but if you can’t bend sometimes, you will break. I had to stop caring about money so much- I was stressing all the time. I mean ALL. THE. TIME. That too was slowly breaking me bit by bit. I have to accept that at this time in my life I can’t pay all my bills on time every month. I may or may not get child support, and it could be $4 or it could be $20. My stress level is down (kinda) once I stopped focusing on how much money I DON’T have.

    Reply
  2. Google Calendar for the win! I had a few tech tips for busy parents I’d posted once, and Calendar was one of them. We now have several shared Calendars for the various family members. Planning is SO MUCH EASIER!

    Feels great to get a wee bit more in charge of your life, no? Keep on keeping on – you got this!

    Reply
    • I apologize if I’m getting you confused with someone else, but aren’t you the hypocritical asshole who kept going into bigger debts with random las vegas trips and so on because you were so entitled? The one who is never going to get out of debt despite a very high income and many folks believe isn’t actually a real person, just some internet troll making things up? I vaguely recall you leaving monkey poo on my blog at one point.

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      • Sure that’s me, everyone hates me but I put all my details out there, screen captures, everything… But this is not about me, this is about mutant, I’d hate to see things get worse financially later on…

  3. Yay on the delegation etc! Hopefully you can get back on track with the money issues… maybe not going back to being net positive, but at least limiting the damage (I assume you’re not going on huge shopping sprees and stuff though, in which case you probably are limiting the damage).

    (Do call up the credit card company about that adult website if you haven’t! That’s messed up. I hate it when stuff like that happens.)

    Reply
    • Yeah I’m not doing the huge shopping spree thing, that’d be dumb. But I’m not killing myself for paying a bill late. Already resolved the website thing. I actually called the vendor. They even gave me the name and email of the guy who used my billing info!! They are supposed to issue a refund this week and then I’m closing it down. It was the credit union account so I am finally going to close it and be happy about it

      Reply
  4. Yay on getting the kids involved. We have been working on this as well. Told them “this is part of being a family.” And you know what….they don’t even bat an eye. They just know this is the way it is.

    The money….sometimes you have to let it go. As long as you aren’t going hog wild and booking a trip around the world….if you need to let it go right now for your sanity, then so be it.

    I change priorities ALL THE FREAKING TIME. To the point where it is ridiculous. But that is my life. There is a shift all the time. And because I like to try and stay ahead of the curve, I worry needlessly about step 18 when I am on step 2. That said, the big priorities don’t change (keeping the family safe, making sure everyone has what they need).

    You are doing just fine….

    Reply
    • The family teamwork dynamic has been great. Sometimes I get a complaint but most times, it’s not a problem and I’ve even gotten responses like, “I LIKE helping you Mommy!” which is amazing.
      Yes, I probably should have clarified on the money thing. I don’t equate not caring with wreckless spending. Imperfect spending, yes. And some late payments, although nothing more than a couple of weeks. And very loose tracking. I still care to the point I check my accounts and catch things like $90 charges for porn! LOL!!
      I have sometimes switched too quickly. That’s bitten me in the booty. I think as long as I make thoughtful and carefully considered changes in priorities, I’ll be ok. It’s the impromptu shake-ups that kill me!

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  5. As a former Child Laborer and mega-neurotic PF blogger: I fully support your changes!

    I helped cook and wash dishes as young as 5 or 6, and I did laundry in coin laundry machines on my own at 7 with some help from my older sibling (sometimes). I enjoyed it because I felt helpful, I was learning stuff on occasion and I could visibly see how it relieved stress from my mom who was working 12+ hrs a day. I think you’re finding some of the same from your kids? And it’s a great lesson for them in life skills 🙂

    Also, I dropped off the worry-about-money wagon for about a year when everything was too much to bear. That didn’t mean I was spending like a fiend, though it feels like it did, it meant I wasn’t keeping tight reins on every single thing always. It meant I forgot to pay a bill or two and had to make calls to get the fees removed. That was more work than I should have created for myself and I didn’t even want to call. Not that I wanted to pay, I just didn’t have it in me to talk to anyone. Anyway, it’s how I got through. And if you need to do that, then fine. You’ll adjust when you’re ready.

    Best of luck!

    Reply
    • Thanks! I love your stories. Yes, the kids are definitely getting into the helpful thing. My Eldest is the only one that occasionally complains but I know it comes with age.

      And yes you have the financial thing exactly pegged. It doesn’t mean shopping sprees and fancy dinners, it just means to stop worrying about everything all the time. If I have the money, great, if not– whatever.

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  6. There’s this sweet spot in a child’s development when they LOVE doing “adult stuff” and helping out. I don’t know what age range that is, but as a parent I’m sure you do. I say exploit it like hell! 😉

    Worrying about money all the time is incredibly draining, and it’s good that you’ve been able to take a break from it. You are simply keeping it at arm’s length for now, but you’ll go back to spending time on money stuff once you’ve gotten your other priorities in better order.

    I’ve been trying to get more organized, myself. One of the problems with my house is that there are too many places to put stuff so I just let things pile up. I want to purge stuff I don’t need and clean up my office so I can actually work in it. I’m trying a technique from a another blogger and spending just 20 minutes a day on my organizing. Actually, I spent closer to an hour on it last night, but I was OK with the extra time. The point is, it’s OK to not get the office completely cleaned up in one go; it will take many more 20 minute (or even one hour) work sessions in there to get it cleaned up and organized. I should also get some cash out of this exercise since there are a few boxes of books in there that I’d like to sell.

    Reply
    • Yes, twenty minutes a day on something is an excellent way of chipping at things. I feel like I can never purge enough. We are trying hard to be consistent in putting things away. What kills me is the stuff that doesn’t really have a home. I have to solve that problem.

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  7. I’m sorry you are still struggling to get Child Support. That has to be such a lose-lose battle. I can understand why you just don’t want to worry about it anymore. Put it out of your mind. It’s what I do sometimes with the financial stuff. Sometimes its not the best way to go, but I also put my mental health first, which is important too.

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    • Child Support battles are definitely not a positive experience for anyone. And yes, you’re right. Shelving things sometimes may not be the most rational solution but things aren’t always rational.

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  8. It’s so easy to not let the kids do their share because its faster to do it yourself, but long term, that’s not the best way to act like a team. I admit, I sometimes give up on having the boys bring in the garbage cans because I am tired. Hurray on your little victories.

    I will also admit that I went through a little burn out after my adventures in trying to get debt free. I think it’s okay to take a break from micromanaging your finances every once in a while as long as you get back to it at some point and not have a head in the sand approach to dealing.

    Reply
  9. It sounds like you are finding your strut! I’m glad your kids are helping out. It will make them better people in the long run. I went to a work shop the other day and there was a Louise Hay’s quote that stuck with me, “How you start your day is how you’re going to live your day. And how you live your day is the way you live your life.” Something to think about.

    Reply

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