I simply am not a good planner

When I first had Claire, we had a gadget and item for everything. Cloths specific for either drool, spit up, or any other random thing she’d end up producing. A jumparoo, a chair, a swing, a reclined chair, a play gym, a reclined chair with a play gym, a walker, a diaper bag for short trips, a diaper bag for long trips, seventy blankets, thirty different crib sheets, five wraps and front carriers, a video camera to take with at all times, three pacifiers, two different baby monitors, soothing machines, white noise machines, and even Baby Einstein dvds.

Leaving the house was a nightmare.

Fast forward to child number four.

I leave the house with a messenger bag, my keys, phone, wallet and maybe a diaper.

Our jumparoo is missing a piece, rendering it useless. The swing sits in the corner collecting dust. The diaper bag turned into a cargo messenger bag that I use as a purse (my style any how since I’m totally not a purse carrying individual,) and I’m lucky if I have diapers in it. The Baby Einstein dvds were given to the gym daycare. The white noise machine proved to be incredibly useful, as all my kids have them in their rooms now, but the soothing machines? Waste. The baby monitor is somewhere around here. I think. It’s only use is when I mow the lawn. Otherwise the kids use it as pretend walkie talkies.

Baby ‘gear’ is a funny thing. In the beginning you think you need everything. How on earth can your baby live without three different devices for swinging and sleeping and sitting?

I wasted so much money as a new mom. So much. I registered for all kinds of useless things that now are either in the attic, or wasting space in someone else’s house.

I blame poor planning. Or, well, planning. I should have had an experienced mom make the list for me. I’m sure she would have said, “No, no, no, no, waste, stupid, flimsy, doesn’t work, no,” and then hand me a list that would have maybe 10 good items on it, and lots of clothes ranging from 0-12 months. But when you’re 22 and having your first baby and you literally have no friends or anyone really who has had a baby in the past 20 years, well… you figure you will just read reviews and go from there.

Wrong! Wrong, Cassie. So wrong.

Now? Audrey gets a blanket laid out on the floor and I plop her down. We use the Bumbo chair often, the recliner chair when she was first new and on rare occasions, the swing. Otherwise? It’s a blanket and the floor. She chews on a blanket, rolls around and entertains herself.  We don’t need all those buckets of toys we once had. I mean, we had buckets and buckets. It’s embarrassing now to think of it. All in the trash now. Sad, really.

At Christmas time, we literally say, “Please, no toys.” The kids have so much stuff. And that’s all it is. Stuff.

When we knew we were done having kids, after Mae was one, we got rid of a lot of things. Surprise! We weren’t really done, now were we? But we didn’t buy anything. I borrowed a stroller from a friend and otherwise, made do with the items we were left with.

I rely on the crib, the car seat, the car seat stroller (because let’s face it, who can carry one of those things while also making sure three other kids don’t get run over by a car?) the spit cloths, my papesean chair instead of a glider (because those things aren’t comfortable to me) and the bumbo chair. That’s it. So throw some diapers at me and I’m set.

I’ve spent a lot of time attempting to be a pre-planner, and when it comes down to it? It’s not for me. I’m a by the seat of the pants kind of girl. When I made the wedding registry, I registered, again, for all the wrong things. Personally, if I could have a do over, I’d have just asked for gift cards. Because now, having lived life as a responsible adult who actually uses a kitchen, I would have registered for that food processor and cookware that didn’t suck. And wooden spoons. Who doesn’t register for wooden spoons? Practical things that I use all the time. Instead, I have a party platter that, well, let’s just say I’m not much of one who hosts many parties.

I had a salad spinner that sat in the original box until my sister got married and asked for it.

I think I even got a roaster. It’s in the garage.

I don’t plan, people. When I plan, things end up taking longer or I end up hating it or I end up having to redo it. The time I went to Ikea with only the idea of wanting to have something to organize the living room, I ended up getting a really rocking bookshelf that to this day still works.

The time I did the research on a dresser from there, it ended up in the trash about a year later.

When we first moved into the house, the day after Thanksgiving, in 2006, I had already planned on all the colors I was going to paint the rooms. I spent hours on the Sherwin Williams website doing pretend mock-ups of what the room would look like painted in every color they had. The day they handed us the keys, I had 10 gallons of different paints in my trunk, all ready to spend the day painting our new house, in time for the big move the next day. Matt had no say whatsoever. Honestly, he didn’t stand a chance.

We’ve lived here now 7 years and every wall in the house has been painted at least once. Most have been painted twice.

The dining room has been 4 different colors.

When I ordered frames with premeasured matting for the drawings I did of the kids, I ended up having to cut them anyhow since I measured wrong.

I freehanded, with acrylic paint mind you, birds on Claire’s wall. Just because. Those things look awesome.

On Thursday I went to the Pirates game. I didn’t have time to plan for my RPM class. So when I got there,  I opened up all the RPM songs I own, looked at the class and said, “What do you want for warm up? How about track two? Track three? Track four…” and they ended up saying it was one of their most favorite classes to date.

Audrey? Not planned. Best thing ever.

See, if I were to truly sit and weigh the pros and cons, let’s just say it would come out with me looking like a fool for ever using The Internet and attempting to plan to do anything. When I just go out and do it, it usually turns out to be pretty awesome. (Read: a closet organizer that actually functions as such.) But when I go online and read reviews, they end up sucking in some way or another.

There’s that fine line between being practical and being prepared and I’m pretty sure I’ll never find it. Because really, if you’ve met me, you know that Cassie and practical aren’t really said in the same sentence. Unless we’re talking about shoes.

Given that I’m actually wearing any.

So in case anyone ever wondered, I’m not a type A personality whatsoever. In fact, I laughed just imagining me as one. But some of my best friends are. And if they’re not deemed type A, they’re at least really well planned for and it is nice, because I get a glimpse as to what that must be like.

I’m not going to lie when I say I’m a little jealous of those who can plan. I just find that when I do take the time to plan I get all anxious and tense and it’s a gross personality trait for me to have. Some people are just meant to be planners and some just… well, aren’t. I mean, if I know that the next morning is going to be busy, yes, I’ll have breakfast all in line, clothes picked out and bags planned for the day ahead. And I do plan meals for the week. I don’t live in chaos, and my life is pretty well put together. But that’s pretty much where it ends for me with being prepared.

I’m certain that’s why I married Matt.

Four kids later and the man still packs enough for a week away for an afternoon at his parents.




About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on August 12, 2013, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wooden spoons are essential in any household… not necessarily for cooking, but for keeping order. The wooden spoon was my mom’s weapon of choice for when my brother and I were acting up. If she actually ever wanted to use it, she should have worn it on a holster. The mere sound of the drawer opening fast was usually enough to get us to settle down.

  2. Jack just sent out an invite to our painting party this weekend! After two years! And we’ll probably just sit around and drink instead. But still! Planning!

    This reminds me of the diaper commercial they’re playing right now where the woman loads up a stroller with basically everything in the house when she goes out with the first baby (and almost leaves the baby behind, I think!) and then leaves with just the tiniest bag when she gets to her second baby. None of your kids have died of diaper rash without the entire house packed up for every trip, so you must be doing it right.

  3. This is my favorite: “Audrey? Not planned. Best thing ever.”

    I’m a compulsive planner, as you well know, but I’ve also learned that with Baby #2 I have taken a giant step back and realized that everything will be just fine as long as we have what we need to get her home from the hospital.

    Whenever people ask me what to register for, I always say a white noise machine. And a humidifier. I use those two things, the boppy, the car seat, the stroller and the bed more than anything. Though the swing did prove to be the best thing ever for Sarah – the only way to get her to sleep.

    But I think it takes going through all that stuff the first time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. I was fortunate to get all my stuff at showers or through hand me downs. And this time? Well I guess we’ll just see what we need as we go along.

    And I’m totally letting my sister plan, decorate and organize the whole nursery. That’s what being exhausted will do to a planner.

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