Thursday, May 27, 2010

Exceptional Parents

There is a great magazine (or anyway was) called Exceptional Parent for the parents of children with developmental disabilities.  I haven't seen it in awhile, I guess because Sam isn't really a child anymore.  But the idea has stuck with me.  Exceptional children require exceptional parents.  Sometimes I have risen to that challenge and sometimes I have not.  It has troubled me lately that I am on the "not" side of the equation.  We are coming up on 60 and retirement and I am TIRED!  But Sam's needs keep growing, even though he doesn't.  When Charley retires from teaching we will still need income and we are actively thinking about what we might do.  I keep asking myself who I am and what am I good at.  The answer is always that I am Sam's mom and I am good at being Sam's mom and also a lot of craft stuff.

So fine.  My career, so to speak, has effectively been being Sam's mom.  I should think of it as my career.  

At one time I was a pretty great Executive Assistant to several guys.  Now my title is Personal Assistant to Sam.  (for which the State of Illinois pays me significantly less than the other guys I was Executive or Personal Assistant to... including the church job!)

Nevertheless.  I have been keeping a log of my day and started to explore time management for caregivers.  I've taken a lot of time management classes in my life as an Executive Assistant.  They often bugged me because they advocated delegation as a great method of time management.  When you are the "delegatee" that doesn't help much.  Now that I am a stay at home Executive, there has to be a different sort of time management that will work for me.  

So I am taking all the stuff I learned and all the realities of my crazy life and trying to come up with a new system.  I call it the "worry book".  I just keep a spiral notebook and write down all the things I am worried about not getting done.  Housework, bills, Sam Care, phone calls, sweaters for the grandkids, grocery shopping.  Then on the next page I put tomorrow's date and start thinking about what is most important to get done tomorrow.  I have discovered that I think best in the late afternoon or just after dinner.  Doing this in the groggy morning when I have to get Charley and (Hopefully Sam) out the door is just not effective.

I have three columns.  Time, Task and Actual.  I write down the time I hope to get things done and the things I hope to do them.  Then on the next day, I keep track of how the day goes and what time (if ever) I actually accomplish my tasks.

In this way, I'm getting a written record of how my day goes and hopefully I will be able to see some ways of becoming more effective at doing my job.


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