Challenges…

Current challenges:  

Reading and following this to curb my urge to yell, thanks to a not-so-charming world:

  Following this Pre-K rule book and seriously considering if I should distribute copies to the adults around me:

 
 
What I feel like:

   

Ah! The challenges of ordinary everyday life! Who says it’s ordinary or even simple?!

Have a blessed week ahead! 

Advertisements

Research in the Old Fashioned Way!

Remember the days when research meant a trip to the library and poring over an armload of books. What with the new School year, T’s best friend’s moving away, our shift to a new neighborhood, missing grandparents after having them all summer, and reaching new milestones, little T is having quite a few adjustments to make. All part of growing up, yes. 

But, I am always game to learn a few new things. And what better than a good old fashioned book to do so. Teaches T that mom loves books and gives me a chance to indulge in my favorite activity and gain helpful strategies too! Win-win! 

  
This book has been on my reading list for a while now. So many of my parent friends recommended this book. Especially the really sorted, have-it-all-together ones. After even my youngest mom friend had finished the book, I decided I have to find out just where are they getting it. Turns out, the ebook version was in our library. 🙄

I am half way through the book and I love it. Even if you are not a parent who yells too much (every parent yells at some point or the other 😜), this book has very good strategies for when your child is being their most childishly annoying self.

  
This next book was a find in the Parenting section of our library. (Paperback) I am constantly bemoaning with fellow moms how our naughty darlings turn into such angels the minute they step into their schools. I keep pestering T’s teachers about tips to understand what they are doing. Almost all the amazing Kindergarten teachers I have met across continents are roughly of the same mound as Madame Gazelle from Peppa Pig. Encouraging, polite yet firm and adept at getting kids to listen, follow and blossom. 

Imagine then, what I felt when I spotted this book! Absolute delight and thrill. Again, I have read a third and already I am so impressed. I can’t wait to finish the rest.

Both these books don’t advocate blindly following the strategies listed. Indeed, they lay out the techniques merely as guidelines to be adapted to each child and parent based on our personal beliefs, strengths and values. I am so happy to have laid my hands on such wonderful texts. I look forward to sharing my detailed reviews once I finish. 

I would like to point out here, that the Kindergarten book is obviously meant for parents of 3-6 year olds. But, it does have a section for older kids and mentions how the tips can be tailored to suit kids of all ages.

I have read some amazing books on parenting in the past like ‘No Regrets Parenting’ and ‘Bringing up Bebe’. Hence, I am happy to add to my list these two books as well. 

AudioBook- Own the Room

This week’s challenge has definitely been Own The Room– the wonderful book by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Wilkins. This book was on my Goodreads To-Read list. SO, when I noticed an audiobook version in my library, I borrowed it right away.  And then trouble started.

  • I do not have extensive experience of audio books. This book has tables which I could visualize but not keep up with in the absence of a tangible cue.
  • I listen to audio books while doing mindless tasks like ironing. Not a very good idea as far as this book is concerned. It is a self-help book, that means we need to listen carefully enough to absorb and emulate. Possibly, my visual learning made it hard for me to recall and associate the tables and reference to the ACE model. I know it is Assumptions, Communications and Energy. But, when I listened while multi-tasking, it was hard to recall all three. [Just writing that line makes me feel foolish. I am chanting “I am an Engineer. I have a Bachelors Degree with Distinction. I did an online course from Wharton” as I write to make myself feel better.]

I learned an important lesson in this experience.

Just like some books are to be savored and some skimmed, audio books need differing levels of attention. Sure, all the audio books I finished have been self-help books. But, they were more anecdotal in narration while this was more case study like. Also, two principal characters from the two case studies are carried throughout the book, which I found difficult to keep recalling. The reasons are many: distraction, divided attention, audiobook beginner handicap, preference to the written word and so on. I hope to listen to this book again during the holidays in longer bursts of time. Hopefully,  I shall be able to finish and retain the knowledge that time. Until then, I shall try other audio books and learn lessons from the experience if not the book.

As an aside, I want to add that I finished a third of the book. Up to this part, it was wonderful. I simply enjoyed learning about the ACE model, the four Voice Quadrants and Signature Voice. It was just the process and comprehension that I found difficult.

Have you listened to audiobooks? What were your experiences? Leave me your thoughts and tip sin the comments below.

Time Tracking

I had taken Laura Vanderkam’s Time Challenge in the second week of September and had fun finding out how exactly I spend my time in the new school year. Read bout that here.

With the 168 hours up (and another too), I finally analyzed the time slots. Here. are the results:

Category                          Weekly                                Average(Daily)

Family                              35.25                                    5.0

Work                                  15.25                                   2.2

Friends                              2.75                                      0.4

Cooking                             13.75                                    2.0

Chores                                36.5                                      5.2

Entertainment                  7                                            1

Sleep                                   57.5                                      8.2

Total                                   168                                        24

Conditions/ Assumptions:

Being an SAHM, I multi-task often. I have to or we would barely get anything done. Plus, my schedule is predominantly about making Hubby and Kiddo’s schedule go smoothly. Hence, I typically weave my tasks around theirs and club chores together. T is still in Pre-K and school just began (at the time of tracking), so, transitions did cause us a bit of grief and upheavals. (parenthood and childhood are both frustrating!) So, I have added my 15-minute time slots in categories based on what tasks it predominantly was composed of.

Family:

When it came to activities with my child, like reading to her, playing Legos and Pretend, coloring (for learning or fun), conversations about science and Paw Patrols  and WonderWoman, I found time slots where I was completely immersed with her and those where I also got mindless chores done. (like folding laundry and ironing) I put both under Family time because the chores were secondary. I even added one bathroom stint because T and I had an excellent conversation planning out mock-drive-through-play while on the commode. After all, inspiration strikes anywhere. 🙂 With Hubby, it was mainly conversations over dinner and snacks. I did not add watching TV together in this category, though we do typically catch a half hour episode on Netflix together.

When I looked at this time sheet, more than the numbers, I am happy about the kind of activities we had together, kiddo and me, Hubby and me and together as a family. This was one of the goals I had envisaged with my last time tracking. About improving the quality of family time. I felt I was a bit embroiled in the grind of everyday activities and could certainly do better in the quality of family time.

Work:

For SAHMs, work is supposed to be zero. Despite the fact that we are always on duty. But, I shall not debate that point in this post. Suffice to say, every family makes choices best suited to them and parenting is plain hard. So, wishing everyone success and strength to follow their duties and responsibilities to the best of their capabilities and within the myriad constraints we all have.

Coming back to my work, for me, it is is studying (my online classes) and my blogs :2 personal and one professional tech-related. Research and data analysis for my professional blog also comes under work. I did about two hours on average, and hope to bump that up with T being in school for a solid four hours. (My total drive time will eat forty minutes, but it still gives me  about 3.5 hours.)

Friends:

This is one sphere that I really need to boost. An average of 20 minutes seems good enough, but the details showed me two bursts of forty-five minutes. This is one key takeaway for me. To improve my friendships and community relationships.

Cooking:

The one unsurprising category in my time sheet. Being Indian, we cook a lot. My actual kitchen time is greater, but this category includes time spent exclusively in cooking, not multi-tasking with cleaning or packing lunches or chatting. It does seem a lot but happy that kiddo is eating her food groups and so am I.

Chores:

I am horrified to see that this made up the bulk of my day, surpassing even Family time! Argh! This includes Driving time, Cleaning, Getting the Kiddo ready, packing lunches, ironing, and of course personal activities like showering, getting ready, etc. Obviously, some activities cannot be cut down (like brushing) or multi-tasked (like driving). But, I did see certain activities with potential to be outsourced (kiddo and dusting) or eliminated (web surfing) or multi-tasked (more ironing while listening to child talk about her day or folding laundry with audio books). This again will require planning and determination. I did finish off reading/ listening to three books with a few multi-tasked activities, so, I know this can be done with a little more practice and deliberation. All the Best to me! 🙂

Entertainment:

Mostly TV time with Hubby, it also included time slots where I ate and read books, or simply watched videos for fun. Hurray! I am delighted to note that I do have solid time chunks for entertainment and not just spare moments grabbed from my time confetti-like days.

Sleep:

I sleep 8.2 hours on average. Weekends definitely improved my average. But, compared to last year, I gained more minute-wise and quality-wise since T is sleeping a lot better in the nights. No more disturbed sleep nights. Yippee!!! Definitely this was the best part of the tracking. Ah, blessed sleep!

Goals:

I gained a lot of insights by tracking my time once again. Knowing where I am spending my time, I have set the following goals to improve my life and relationships:

  • Arrange to spend more time with Friends
  • Aim for three hours of ‘work only’ while T is at school
  • Streamline chores to free more time for exercise and family
  • Add exercise [right now I only managed forty-five minutes of walking every weekday. Since, these were leisurely nature walks that involved more talking with Hubby and kiddo, I clubbed it under Family time]
  • Continue time tracking for a fortnight to gauge if using time better because of self-consciousness  and accountability

So, how do you spend your time? Did you take the Challenge? What did you find out?