PLANET MOM
The Beauty of Mismanagement
Melinda L. Wentzel
Friday, June 08, 2012

At times, the household can be in a state of disarray — but there is joy to be derived out of such not-so-perfect situations

As I type this, it’s two-thirty in the afternoon on a weekday and everyone in my household is still wearing pajamas. No one has brushed their teeth, not one hair upon one solitary head has been coifed and thus far, exactly zero sit-down meals have been served. All concerned parties have opted to graze through the day like cattle, raiding the fridge and cupboards at will. Myself included. That being said, dishevelment abounds and lethargy has rained down upon us like a scourge.

Indeed, the nanny would be horrified. And because I recognise the magnitude of my deplorableness, I can envision her disapproving glare — the way she’d scowl and shake her head at me. Like a taskmaster, she’d stand amidst my chaos with a big, fat marker in hand, fervently filling a white board with a host of solutions for dealing with the disorder and mismanagement that permeate my world. It’s likely that a complete overhaul of my parenting system and skills (or lack thereof) would be recommended if not demanded, necessitating the summoning of nanny reinforcements. Legions of them, quite possibly.

Naturally, we’d invite them in for imaginary tea — to be served within the confines of the not-so-imaginary blanket fort now consuming my living room. The one I allowed to be constructed. The one littered with Cheez-Its. The one from whence we viewed the antics of Tom & Jerry because I simply couldn’t bear to hear one more syllable emanating from Rush Limbaugh.

Granted, there is no school today, so the death of structure could, in fact, be deemed appropriate. Maybe even welcomed in some circles. Okay, tiny circles. Few in number. But quantifiable circles nonetheless. Even still, I ought to be ashamed of the sorry state of my domestic affairs.

I suppose it’s no secret that I don’t run a very tight ship. Admittedly, I pilot the Titanic most days — struggling to avoid the icebergs that pepper my hectic mornings. The women in the school office could attest to that fact. The ones who see me traipsing in to deliver forgotten lunchboxes and misplaced jackets — telling indicators of my ineptitude as a parent. Helen knows the score, too. She drives the big, yellow bus that we race to meet each morning — backpacks bouncing, shoelaces flapping and bellies sloshing with breakfast as we dash through the wet grass, my mind flying through the anxiety-driven Mom Checklist at warp speed: Is everyone wearing shoes and clean underwear… did they brush their teeth… did they actually EAT something… did I remember to pack their snacks… their library books… their homework… and so on.

The high schoolers sitting at the back of the bus know the awful truth, too. The ones who’ve forever peered through the clouded panes and watched me schlepping around the same silly book, The Tale of Despereaux — a wonderful story, I’m sure, but one I’ve failed to finish reading aloud since Christmas. I planned to share this literary gem with my brood at the bus stop, where we’d sit together on the curb and devour page after page as the gray morning skies surrender to the sun. I suppose I lug it there because I’m holding out hope that somehow we’ll find time to move past Chapter Three.

For whatever reason, I think I managed mornings better when my charges were kindergarteners. Back then, we actually finished books together and even had time to discuss colourful characters — proof that my time management skills were reasonable and my mornings less hectic. I hardly ever had to deliver a lunchbox or a coat because someone forgot it and I honestly don’t remember racing across the lawn to catch the bus — ever.

Then again, my memories of blanket forts and lazy days in pajamas are a bit fuzzy. It’s possible I embraced the notion of disorder back then more than I’d care to admit. Perhaps that’s the beauty of mismanagement — we conveniently forget the less-than-perfect-looking stuff of parenthood, yet savour every delicious moment while we’re living it. - wknd@khaleejtimes.com

Planet Mom: It’s where Melinda lives. Visit her at: www.melindawentzel.com and www.facebook.com/NotesfromPlanetMom. The author is the winner of the 2009-2010 Mid-Atlantic Community Papers Association Editorial Award for Original Writing — Category: Personal Column.

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