Tired of Being the Planner | Giftie Etcetera: Tired of Being the Planner

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tired of Being the Planner

Just to clarify, I'm not tired of my planner. But being The Planner is exhausting.

I remember which day the boys must wear dress uniforms, bring a bag lunch, or turn in their projects. I have the complete family schedule of karate practices, social events, and obligations.


Because I actually know what we are obligated to do this weekend, I am the one who has to schedule (or at least be consulted to schedule) any additional stuff.

Husband wants to go to a movie? He doesn't know what's on the agenda, so he has to call me with movie times. Also, if he wants to invite the kids' friends, he has to call me for the parents' contact information. Then I have to call the friends' parents, because I'm the one who volunteers at school and knows them.

Child wants to play Chopped with family dinner? I have to plan the ingredients, find a night that works for cooking, and come up with the recipes.

Work is having a Thanksgiving potluck? I'm the only one in the house who maintains the recipes and grocery list, knows what the inventory of serving dishes in the kitchen is, and knows what is going on right before the potluck that might mean the dish must be cooked in advance.

All of this is almost okay. (Seriously, though, I would kill for my husband to use a pocket-sized planner, just to write down things like "lunch with friends on Saturday" and "remember to change the ice maker filter." He could slip it in his pocket. And, then, he could STOP ASKING ME to remind him.) (Alright, I'm bitter about being the family secretary. BITTER.) (VERY BITTER. Sigh. I don't like being cranky pants!)

But when others cannot make decisions that affect my planner and cause me to keep checking it, I lose it. Cranky Giftie is not fun to watch, let me tell you.

For example, I want to know when house guests will arrive and leave. To get this information, even if it is my husband's house guest, I have to call myself, because my husband doesn't get how making the decision of days when they are visiting affects my planning. He doesn't see it as important.

From my perspective, an extra day that I didn't plan means that I need: more food in the house than I expected, to get more work done in advance or schedule it after the house guest leaves so I can be a good host, that more towels need to be clean or the soap needs to be refilled, that I need an extra library book to read while the house guest watches tv that is not my thing, refuse girl's nights out because we'll have guests...

I could seriously make this list for three days. (Okay, maybe that is a tiny exaggeration. But don't mess with me. Cranky Giftie, remember?!? Grrr...)

A recent example in our home of me being the sole planner causing issues was when we were choosing the dish for a potluck. I suggested cranberry sauce (around Thanksgiving). I was vetoed. Husband suggested meatballs. Still easy to make ahead of time (important, as potluck is on a Friday evening), easy-to-make, and we have a decent serving container. Cool.

I wrote the date of the potluck in my planner. I wrote the ingredients of the meatballs (large bag meatballs, large jar pineapple in its own juice, and a Sweet Baby Ray's large bottle of barbeque sauce) on this week's grocery list. I looked up a coupon for the fruit and for the barbeque sauce and added it to my e-coupons. I made a note to cook the meatballs on the Thursday before (and decided we would have meatballs for supper that night). I made sure we had hot dog buns in the freezer for Thursday, because my youngest likes a hot dog meatball sandwich.

Then, and this is the most important thing, I quit worrying about it. A plan was in place.

Um, he messed up. Someone was already bringing meatballs. I erased everything. 


He suggested several other things, but he is not aware of prices, serving dish inventory, or the ease/timing of cooking, so lots were discarded as possibilities. No ham - too expensive. No caramel apples - tricky and needs to be made the same night. No dirt cake - the mixer is broken and it's hard to find one of the ingredients. I can't drive around looking for the ingredient because I have a big work project and am getting ready for a Thanksgiving house guest and Thanksgiving.

So I told him he needed to either be okay with cranberry sauce or a duplicate serving of meatballs (at a potluck with almost 100 people and almost definitely a completely different recipe) or take care of it himself, but without taking away from our almost-nonexistent family time.

He found my response threatening (which is strange, because I thought I was totally repressing my urge to harm him - TOTALLY) and freaked out.

If he had to plan the meals, maintain the budget, deal with scheduling, do the shopping, and work and volunteer, he couldn't possibly do it. But when I pointed that out, well, it was not pretty.

"What do you want me to do?" he asked.

"E
ither be okay with cranberry sauce or a duplicate serving of meatballs (at a potluck with almost 100 people and almost definitely a completely different recipe) or take care of it yourself, but without taking away from our almost-nonexistent family time," I replied. 

Hey, I'm consistent! I gave options. I did NOT threaten to harm any husbands in the making of this blog post. I SHOULD earn a freakin' crown for that, don't you think?

I've tried solutions. A family calendar on the fridge. Explaining the importance of big obligations or scheduling being done as far in advance as possible. Asking me what I want BEFORE signing up for/scheduling something. Giving me the final say on things (like cooking) that are going to be my ultimate responsibility.

None of these work if the other person is not on the same page, and without knowing all the things that go into running a family's calendar, the other person will struggle with that understanding.

May I suggest that you ask them to read Giftie's blog? I can go all Giftie Smash on them, too!

Etcetera. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% on this! At a rare girls' night out dinner we were talking about this exact subject. We all feel like we have to do all the planning, scheduling, organizing and why can't they give some help. Or if they are given a task list and it is very clear, why can't they just complete it without having to nag or ask when it will be complete. Thanks for this blog post!

Linda Meritt said...

Boy do I remember those days! It gets easier as the children get older. Sometimes! Now we are going through the same thing again with our children's families!

Lu said...

In my case it didn't get easier... Plan everything for when my sis visits with the kids, keep track of my mom's drs appointments, run my own home, my classes, my job, my projects... And they change plans always like is not big deal!!
Hello?? I'm trying to have a life here!
Hugs & cookies from Spain to make you feel better!

Lavender Life UK said...

What a freakin' great post!! Yep!, lady. You do deserve a crown indeed!! Not just for your consistency but specially for the way you plan which is a Master Plan!! Really. I am still trying to get myself to as detailed as you are. You are THE BEST!!! Thank you for this great post! A lot of great efficient ideas for a efficient planning. Love it!!

Christine Cortese said...

My husband completely lacks the genetics for planning. But he can fix the car, repair broken plumbing and electrical appliances, stucco the house, lay down new flooring and open extremely well sealed jars. He trusts the money. cooking and planning to me. We have decided that we shall both do what we do best.

Poochie Baby said...

I totally feel your pain! But... I must say that my husband responds very well when given a "Honey Do" list. I have long since given up trying to get him to remember his doctor appointments, etc etc.