Category Archives: being proactive

Many Happy Returns of the Day

For many years now, I have been susceptible to the GoBackToBed Magnet. I always seem to buy beds with really strong ones. On days when I don’t have to be out the door, sometimes rather often I can fall prey to the Preying Magnet. As recently as yesterday, the GBTB Magnet drew me as easily as the iron filings to Wooly Willy.


Knowing today that I didn’t need to be anywhere at any particular time, and also knowing full well how cozy the old grand lit is, I thought maybe I better approach the problem from a new angle.

While Kepler and I danced around at the bus stop (to the music from Shrek; always Shrek), a thought popped into my head.  “I shall pretend like I am someone who never goes back to bed after I get my kids off to school.”  I was thinking about actors and how they embody personas that are very different from their natural personality, and I thought well darn it if Leo diCaprio can do it, then so can I. On my way back to the house, I just engaged in a little game of pretend and imagined all the things that kind of person might think about their day and their time and their bed.

I find that things that work for me tend to arise organically, but almost always confirm something I have read or heard in the past. In college, THE thing that stuck with me out of all the psych classes I took was the idea that attitude follows action. That my attitude will very often change based on me taking action. When I start something, even if I only intend to keep it up for two minutes (like a cleaning task), keeping on going is almost always the outcome. Overcoming that initial inertia gets the momentum going.

I made colorful signs for myself and posted them around the house, affirmations about the kind of person that I am, even though I can find evidence against each of them! I placed “I am the kind of person who stays up after my kids go to school” on my already made bed. I placed others throughout the house, and each of them made me smile throughout the day.

And I got hella done, man. Not only for myself, but I helped my mother by taking nearly 100 books out of her house for her — books she was ready to part with. (Although I was once accused of shoplifting, I don’t actually steal things.)

One of the books leaving was A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book. I decided I needed that one more than the donation box, and so I will leave you with a Pretty Good Joke: Why did the mushroom go to the party? Cuz he was a fungi! Why did the fungi leave the party? Cuz there wasn’t mushroom.



Small Victories, Baby, Small Victories

Sometimes I think I must be the most obtuse person in the universe.

A little background. Darling daughter started public high school this year, after several years at a 2-days-per-week program 12 miles away. Twice a week, I drove her and picked her up. Had to. No other option. This year, we started by having her ride the bus. School is one mile away. That lasted a week because there wasn’t time to get her stuff after school and get to the bus in time. Without thinking it through, I said, “Hey, I’ll take you and pick you up.”

Here’s what I forgot. Darling husband is rarely here at going to school time, so KEPLER and I take her to school. Does Kepler enjoy this process? No, he most certainly does not. He has shown his displeasure many a morning by refusing to budge. He’s a strong kid, and it takes both me and DD to hold him (gently!) by the upper arms, and perp walk him to the car.

Isn’t it Steven Covey who first emphasized the power of being proactive? I finally got proactive yesterday.

Kepler needed to understand what I was asking him for. I was waiting around for him to catch on, and wake up one morning, and say, “Mother, I now see that it is futile for me to be so obstinate about taking big sister to school. I’ll be right with you as soon as I complete my morning ablutions. It won’t be a problem anymore.” Ooh, good plan there, mom.

See, obvious, like I told you.

But, poor kid, before I got specific and slowed down enough to explain it, he was in a whirlwind of activity every morning, usually me looking for my glasses. And then my keys. And my shoes. And his shoes. (another thing to be proactive about, obviously).

First try had me explaining that I wanted him to cooperate, but I didn’t make it very clear what that meant.

Our first trial run was yesterday afternoon on the way to speech therapy. He was doing well, until he determined that me placing his unfinished cup of milk into the refrigerator was decidedly unwelcome and should not be tolerated. FINALLY we got into the car, but I decided he hadn’t been cooperative enough. Which then made me realize that I had to get really specific.

So, I explained that I wanted him to cooperate and I explained exactly what cooperation is. In this case, it’s simple: put on your shoes, put on your jacket, walk to the car, when asked. Such cooperation earns the privilege of listening to the Frozen soundtrack (for the 87 millionth time).

After speech therapy, he COOPERATED. This morning, he COOPERATED. This afternoon, he COOPERATED. I guess I cooperated, too, by making it possible for him to be successful!

Small victory, but trés, trés sweet.