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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Taskmaster

It is normal, at times, to turn over a new leaf. We've all done it on occasion.
Popular times are at the New Year, at the beginning of a school year, or at Lent.
Being the rebellious personality that I am, I tend to resist changing along with the mainstream public.
Sure, I like that nice new notebook as much as the next person, and I probably write more neatly the first few days, but there is no real RESOLUTION involved.

A few years ago, I embarked on what would be my first real and true change of my nature.
Never disciplined with money, I endeavored to learn how to manage it better and to learn how to save.
That began what has now been a four or five year odyssey that has led to a much healthier and more knowledgeable regard of money.

A couple of years ago, I took that same zeal and applied it to learning about the college process, much to my daughter's chagrin. 
If I was to lead her through the process, I would need to have a basic understanding of the ins, outs and loopholes: learning about colleges and Universities, state schools vs public liberal arts vs privates both large and small. Visits, interviews, SAT prep and how to compute weighted and non-weighted GPAs. FAFSAs and PROFILEs and the Great Merit Scholarship Hunt. 
I'm still working through this now. The amount of information to take in is utterly mind-boggling.

Two months ago, two more projects came to the forefront.
The first involved changing my eating habits and taking a more proactive approach to my own health.
Largely eliminating sugar and flour/processed products has eased the aches and pains in my joints tremendously. 
Again, a large amount of time and energy is being devoted to training myself to eat and approach food in a different way, and learning to modify old recipes and find new ones that the family enjoys. Also reminding myself time and again to be patient and focus on the benefits of the change rather than the time it takes to lose weight.

The last project is just beginning- we are almost exactly one month in. This project involves training the kids to be more independent and capable, and also more vested in the success of the family as a whole by doing more to contribute to its' wellbeing, both inside and out.

Essentially, I am loosely following the general premise of the book Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma. In it, she outlines how her kids were beginning to have that air of entitlement that many parents will recognize. She realized that the fault didn't really lie with them; rather, they did little because little was expected of them. By not teaching them and expecting them to participate, she was handicapping them into being unessential members of the family.

I recognized myself in this immediately. While I take pleasure in being an involved parent, I also am far too likely to throw on my martyr robes as I wander around the house picking up after my family while they lounge about. It was time for a change.

We started easy. Each day, each of the three are required to have made their beds and have their floors clear. If there is clean laundry delivered to them, it must be put away before the morning is over. 
Each month, a new skill will be added to the repertoire and will be required to be completed IN ADDITION to whatever skills had been previously taught. Future skills will include bathroom neatness and care, outdoor zones (weeding and dog poop), cooking meals etc. 
I'll keep you posted periodically as to how that goes.

I think of myself as The Taskmaster.
I think it has a nicer ring than The New Regime!

What do you think?
What changes have you been implementing in your life lately, and are they working?


Linda said...


Contact me if you want information about financial aid stuff!!

Richard Lewis said...

I'm really proud of you for changing your diet and adopting a healthier lifestyle. I'm no paragon of either, but I am convinced that these approaches are critical to a higher quality life and self esteem.

I love it that you're whipping your family into shape. Keep us posted with all the howling and yowling!