Parental organizational states
There are three states of parental organization. I’ve done all three on occasion, but I do have my tendencies. We all have our way of getting things done. Here they are:
1. Super organized parent: These are the folks who know where every thing is, and everything has its place (you can tell where the place is, because the things are there, in their place). Appointments are made ahead of time, marked on a calendar, all people who should know about said appointments are informed (possibly more than once), and all required attendants show up at said appointments on time. My mother in law is one of these people. Sometimes she’ll find a stray kid’s sock that we left behind at her house, and she’ll keep it and tell us about it, because to her this is a Problem. She’s actually surprised at stray socks, because in her world they are an oddity. They are worth discussion, and they are even pondered. I’m rarely this organized, but it does happen on occasion, and then everybody is surprised (more discussion and pondering usually ensues).
2. Sporadically-organized parent: This is the parent who remembers to register for summer camp the day before it begins, hoping it’s not too late. The parent who once bought a package of wipes for the car, and who might even know if it’s getting close to empty, but might forget to buy more on their next shopping trip. The parent who usually does the kids’ laundry on time, but every once in a while forgets and the next morning has to go digging through the drawers to find clothes for the kids that aren’t too torn or too small, all while urging sleepy children to wake up and get their teeth brushed. I usually fall into this camp. Hey, this time I registered the kids for gymnastics a whole week ahead of time. Go me!
3. Disorganized parent: You know what this is, I don’t have to tell you. We all have our fuzzy moments. (OK, maybe my mother in law doesn’t. She has skillz.) I sometimes slip in this direction. But here’s thing thing about being in a disorganized parental state, which is why I don’t worry about it too much: sometimes it works for me. Take what happened to me tonight (which prompted me to write this whole thing). My oldest is 5, and he’s got some sort of stomach bug. On the way home from my in-laws’ this evening, he announced that he had to throw up. I’m surprised by this, because he hasn’t thrown up all day, so I haven’t thought about this ahead of time (I’m not the super-organized type, remember). But. On the floor of my (messy) car, among other oddities, is a plastic bag with a bunch of party favors that I got for my kid’s birthday party. Not the birthday party we threw a week ago, but the one last year, because I guess I forgot about those party favors and they didn’t make it into the party favor bags for the guests. So yes, there’s been a plastic bag with about 20 little plastic rings with big googly eyes on them sitting on the front passenger floor of my car for about a year. So I pull over, dump the googly-eyed rings on the car floor, and get the bag to him, in time to get most of the throwup in it. I’m very grateful the bag didn’t have holes.
See, if I’d been super organized, I’d have had a box of Ziploc bags or something at all times, plus some wipes. That would have been nice, but that’s also a lot of spare cycles my tired brain doesn’t want to have to worry about, along with all the other spare cycles that being super organized requires.
If I’d been sporadically-organized, I’d have eventually found that bag of googly-eyed rings sometime over the last year (perhaps while cleaning my car – don’t laugh, I actually cleaned out my car once) and put it somewhere sensible (wherever one stores such things, to be found in time for the next year’s birthday party – because they didn’t make it in this year either), and thrown away the bag. So then I would have had nothing to hand my kid. I’d have been screwed. (On the other hand, I might have had some wipes on hand, which would have been nice.)
But no, in this case I was simply disorganized. So I had the bag, and the evening was not a complete parental failure. Disorganized parenting FTW!