In January, I'm leaving my job to stay at home full time. My husband will go back to work full time. We're doing a complete switcheroo, but since my husband will work 3 12-hr shifts, we'll have four days a week when we are all home together as a family. I cannot wait for January to come. But in the meantime, I've been thinking it would be a good idea to plan out some things I want to accomplish once I'm home full-time. Normally, I'm great at lists like these. I've spent much of my adult life making lists of my dream schedule, goals I want to reach, and what I would do if I won the lottery. But all of a sudden, I've got a case of list-block. All I can come up with is doing Bikram Yoga again and organizing the baby books and photo albums. I mentioned this to my friend Kim, and even though she's on the other side of the world, in New Zealand, she gamely whipped out a list FOR me.
2. Create a children's gardening book to go along with husband's gardening. You could have different sections for different ages.
3. Create a children's cookbook to go along with the children's gardening. Maybe model it after that 3-ingredient Buddhist cookbook you found awhile back.
4. Teach a kids' art class or volunteer at pre-school.
5. Learn how to make wine
6. Redecorate a room in your house (or create a new "Julie space" for yourself in the basement)
7. Plan for the next 5 years - what kinds of lunches and snacks are you going to send to school with the kids (don't lie, you know you're going to think about that)? How much are you going to have to spend on school supplies and clothes? (or wait, is that just something nutty that I would do?)
8. Study massage
9. Knit and/or sew blankets and clothes for homeless shelters
10. Learn how to give yourself a pedicure
11. Take language samples from son and transcribe them-just kidding. (this is an inside joke for anyone who's taken a phonetics class)
12. Put a dent in that list of movies you've been wanting to see and books you've been wanting to read
13. Join a book/wine club
14. Sell Amway
15. Bet on the ponies
16. Teach daughter how to ride a tricycle/bicycle; teach son how to cut the grass
17. Learn how to make candles, lotion, lip balm, etc. (that's actually fun)
18. Take ballroom dancing lessons with husband
19. Plan half-day or full day trips to places around Omaha (cultural events, festivals, etc.)
20. Volunteer to play with the animals at the Humane Society
Kim's ability to whip out a list has me wondering about what is happening in my life to stop me from creating my own. Of course, it would be easy to blame it on motherhood, or "mommy brain" as I'm fond of saying when I screw things up. But I think it's my writing that has stopped me from making lists. Because my life is so busy, I don't have a lot of free time. So when I'm working on a book, as I am now (Murder With Art - 32k words and counting), I have to spend all my free time on that book. When I have down time I'm writing. If I can't write (because I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep, for example) I'm planning the next scene or rejiggering the plot. In other words, my book writing is stifling my creativity. I literally can't make time for other big ideas because my book writing is sapping all my resources.
When I was single, with tons of free time on my hand, I had plenty of ways to fill my creative resorvoir. Julia Cameron wrote, in The Artist's Way, about renewing creativity with artist dates. The idea was to do something special, all on your own. Go button shopping. Take a long walk. Visit a junk store. But these things are not so easy to do in my current existance. It's kind of sad to say that my best chance at reviving my creative resources will be when my book is done. But when this book is done, I'm starting on the sequel to The Truth About Dating. I've already got the outline. The book is just waiting to be written.
So what I've decided, for January, is to start putting up some boundaries on my writing. I'm going to continue to write, obivously, but writing my books will be limited to a set amount of time. The rest of the time I'm going to try to blog and write letters to friends. And read. For now, one of my major goals will be to read.
1. Enjoy my children, who are very young and won't be that way much longer.
3. Catch up on photo albums and baby books.
4. Learn to do all the cat's cradle tricks. Jacob's ladder, etc.
5. Learn to crochet via You Tube.
6. Start doing more blogs, esp a series I might call Lame Parenting. After all, the pressure's going to be ON once I'm home full time!
7. Write - novel, letters, blog.
8. Figure out why my computer says it's got updates every time it's shutting down.
1. All of the above.
2. Flower gardening
3. Finish sequel to The Truth About Dating
1. All of the above except...
2. Take a break from books until Fall or even longer.
I'll keep you posted!