My latest life strategy: simplify and deny

So, perhaps you’ve heard I have baby lust? *chortle*  I’m reading all sorts of books on my Kindle about how to prepare for conception and prepare for baby and prepare for not sleeping. Someday I’ll get my blog guts updated to the point where I can put a helpful widget in the sidebar that shows everything I’m reading so I can link (or point) without a bunch of effort.

{Sidenote: I am middle management at A Very Big Corporation and I have the word “Engineering” in my title, and yet, I use words like “guts” without irony in discussions with large customers all the time.  My husband is constantly horrified — and amazed — that I continue to be employed, but I honestly find that boiling things down to their very basic form helps us all get along.  “Well, we have to rip the guts out completely and rebuild them, so that’s why I can’t get you a code fix in three days.”}

Anyhoo, I got really stressed.  The number of things I’m supposed to pay attention t0 — that I totally ignore today — is mind-boggling.  I don’t know where to begin.

I’m in the same place at work, frankly.

I’m 60 days in the new gig, feeling like I should know so much more than I did, but with every passing day I’m less sure of what I’m doing.  That loss of focus is my biggest career risk.

So, in work and in life, I only know of one way to get past feeling overwhelmed: simplify and deny.

Simplify

What’s important?

Making sure we’re emotionally ready — individually and together — to handle the stress of having a baby.  Everything else will follow (but needs to be planned for, of course).

To be emotionally ready, we need to get our life under control.  To get our life under control means to have a tidier house (and just one house!), fewer animals*, more projects completed, and a comfortable savings account.

To have a tidier house, we need to pick one night a week to clean up, deal with the dishes every day, and I need to help out with the laundry by putting my clothes away when they’re dry.

To have one less house, we need to finish painting, plumbing, and prettifying the Bonus House, which means at least two evenings a week over there.

To have fewer animals, we need to find Little Dude a home, so I’ll call the neighbors to find out if they have any leads… not sure what else to do there?

To have more projects completed, we need to get everything above done. Then we need to make the basement habitable. (I have a friend who might be staying with us for a few weeks at the end of the month.  If she stays for more than a week, we’ll get the basement ready soon so she won’t have to stay in the guest room for that long.)

To have a comfortable savings account we need to decide what our goals are, make savings automatic, and eat at home on weekdays.

To eat at home on weekdays, we need to buy fresh produce (I’m more apt to cook if it’s fresh), have quick ingredients on hand, and keep snacks around.

To be emotionally ready, I need to be physically ready.  (I am no fun when I don’t feel well.)

To be physically ready, I need to drink more water, eat out less, start an exercise program, and take vitamins daily.

See how that works?  Easy peasy! It can go on and on.  Feel free to stop when you’ve hit something actionable.

Deny

I can’t make everything perfect in a day. {Yes, this is self-talk.  I’m a dork — a dork who wants everything to be different RIGHT NOW.}  I can’t keep track of everything I’m not supposed to eat, not supposed to touch, or not supposed to think about.  What I can do is stick to the small behavioral changes first — drink more water, eat out less, make savings automatic.  Other lifestyle changes will follow when these become the new norm.

Until then, I’m giving myself permission to stick my head back in the sand when it comes to PCB’s, tap versus bottled water, the various ingredients in prenatal vitamins, and which stroller is most awesome.  I. Can’t. Handle. The. Truth.

Not yet, anyway.

But hey, I can feel like I’m making progress, even if I still wake up every morning and think, “This paint color is really too Crayola.  Must repaint.”  And then, you know, never repaint.

~~~

*I should explain the “fewer animals” thing.  We have 2 1/2 dogs and five cats.  1/2? Yes, 1/2.  He is a Bonus Dog, one who found us six months ago with this crazy ugly growth hanging from his lower eyelid.  We took him in, had the growth removed, and want to find him a home, however, we suck at finding homes.  I’ve posted ads on Craigslist and Petfinder to no avail.  If you’re interested in a super sweet 35 pound dog who twirls when he’s excited and thinks cats rule the world, let me know.  He will travel! (No? Didn’t think so.  Oh, well.  If you know anyone else, send them my way.  Really, he’s awesome, but three dogs is just crazay.)

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10 thoughts on “My latest life strategy: simplify and deny

  1. Okay, I’m going to admit it. I think this post is really boring. I had a different point in mind when I started but instead it turned into this boring boring post. Sorry about that. I’d pull it or revise it but instead I’ll just write another post with my original point. Sometimes you’re just not “on,” right?

  2. Wanted to chime in and suggest something for you 1/2 dog problem 🙂
    Are there any rescue agencies in your area that are non-profit but not associated with the humane society/petfinder? There are a few organizations in my area who are always looking for foster parents to care for their rescued animals. Maybe you could get in touch with a few to put your dog on their list/website/etc. while ‘fostering’ him until he finds a forever home? Sure they usually have an animal and then find a foster parent while trying to adopt it out, but this could work too.
    That way he may be more well-seen and they might have adoption fairs he can be shown at on weekends and the like.

    I know your dilemma. We have ‘lab cats’ who live in the yard area (and offices) of my work. It’s a safe environment for them here; we have them fixed and treated for fleas and they get food and love all day from all of us… but they’re not anyone’s pet. We have adopted out two so far but there are still 5 (thanks to a new one!) here. I like to consider us foster parents to them until the right home comes along, but if ever needed we’ll be looking into contacting some of the no-kill rescue groups to get them into fairs and on the website while they still live here with us.

  3. I don’t think this is a boring post. I think it’s a little less intense than some of your previous posts, but still a good read. Every post doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. Love you.

  4. When I can’t fix my whole life overnight (and a lot of the fixes you mentioned are things I need to do, too, like making sure dishes are taken care of every night and putting clean clothes away. Oh, and sweeping the floor at least once a week – I mean, we do have 2 dogs…), I tend to get frustrated and just say “F*** it!” And that’s not helpful, unfortunately. I keep telling myself that as soon as the wedding is over, I’ll be a different person (hello, unfounded optimism…) and will perfect my life one or two pieces at a time. Like buying local, grass-fed meat – which, to be fair, I just can’t afford while also paying for a wedding!

    Kindle must be genius for reading books you’d be embarrassed for other people to know you’re reading (not that that applies to you). I want to start doing reading on pre-conception, and though my fiance is more than ready for children – way more ready than I am – I would feel funny if he knew that I was doing research.

    Also, I got busted in the public library the other day by a guy who works in a superior position to mine (one I hope to fill one day) with a total low-brow novel ON TAPE. OK well not tape, but CD. Like, I can’t even read THIS… I have to listen. But it’s because I drive to work one hour each way dammit!!!!!!! And I’m not into contemplating the realities of this world at 7 AM.

    Long comment is pointless.

  5. I definitely think you should just pull the goalie and start making babies… I think you are going to kill yourself with research and planning for a whole year. Having babies is instinctual… yes, some people suck at it, but you’ll be great. Trust yourself!

    • @Amy, I lol’d at “pull the goalie” at work and received a dirty look. Totally worth it. I will now leave my early teens and return to my mid-20’s.

  6. Ok, I see where you started off with good intentions–break the bigger plan into digestible chunks first. But after you do that you have to priortize those chunks and just focus on them individually. That’s the only way I’ve made to long-term goals without going crazy that I couldn’t do it all at once immediately. For example, I don’t know how realistic it is for you to re-vamp your cleaning, eating, grocery shopping and basement while also spending two nights a week at your bonus house trying to get it finished. I generally prioritize tasks in the order of financial cost and incremental gains in happiness. Will it bring you more happiness to make your homey-office basement space more friendly or to get rid of the bonus house once and for all? I think you’ve got to guage the day-to-day happiness that crossing these things off the big list will do for you……plus, I have to say that you’ve been collecting imges of home office basement design inspiration for a while so I’m a little biased toward starting that project first 🙂

    • @Christine, Ha! My third (actually, second) bullet point was actually “Prioritize” wherein I talked about how, from the list on #1, I chose a handful of things to care about for now… but this post bored me to tears WHILE I WAS WRITING IT so I stopped. 🙂

  7. While this isn’t titillating, it is (dare I say it?) actionable. And sometimes that’s what you need. Heck, it’s what I need! I’m taking this as inspiration and plan to do some list-making/goal-strategizing of my own.

  8. Ha Ha. Isn’t it fun how sometimes plan making is wonderfully calming and fun (especially true for me when I do it with my husband) and other times its utterly mind-numbing? Maybe you can use this post as a spring board for prioritizing and then blog about each of these little steps as you work on them. It would sure fit into the “blogging about learning” that I love you for:-)

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