Week 37: Like the good schoolgirl I am…

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week (or there abouts), I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#14 Mise en Place and weekly planning

My sister Poppy, Queen of Planners, helped me set up a system that really has made all the difference when it comes to know where I need to be when and with whom. Even, what I need to get done in each individual block of time, thanks to space on my planner for individual to-do lists per project, all at-a-glance.

My planner even has a little column for Mise en Place, that life-changing habit of planning ahead what I am going to wear so I don’t stand in front of my closet five minutes before we have to leave, throwing an outfit together and then regretting it all day.

If I want to, I can plan ahead until January (nb: I don’t want to.)

However, I did have two Mise en Place moments that reminded me of why this habit is amazing.

1. One day this week, it was supposed to be warm. So I had planned to wear the comfy but elegant black dress with pockets my father had given me last summer. Short sleeves, pockets….it was perfect for following around two little boys at the zoo (one of them mine, one not mine…their teacher was absent Wednesday morning and I volunteered to take my youngest’s friend with us to the zoo, since both his parents work. Golden Rule, right?)

Long story longer, although the early part of the day was warm, a storm blew through and there was a downpour which dropped the temperature significantly.

Because I had planned ahead for the week, knowing that it would be chilly in the latter part, I had already dug through my winter clothes looking for my leggings and my cardigans for later in the week. I had even already given them a wash, to avoid any risk of moths that might have survived or proliferated in the summer.

So once we got home, I knew exactly where to go to add something warm to my outfit, and I knew what to add because I had already given thought to transitional outfits. Yay me.

2. The 18 month class I am going to be taking starts on Saturday (today, as the bird flies…uh…I mean, as I write! Twenty one years after my college graduation, after as many years sending my indulgent husband back to school every fall, and subsequently my own children, this mama gets her own nervous back-to-school.

So yesterday, I carefully did my back-to-school Mise en Place, like the good school girl that I am. And I got that same nervous energy I used to get every year before the first day of school every time I went into the bathroom and saw my outfit there.

It doesn’t mean I’m going to be a good student. But at least I’ll look fabulous.

#12 Set aside “unplugged” hours of the day

Last week, I gave a first go at something I’m calling “Cinderella Time”. It’s the period between when I pick up the boys for lunch and when I take them back to school for the afternoon. In theory, it’s a approximately 90 minutes.

During those 90 minutes, I’m supposed to turn off my devices and just be Cinderella. Last week, it got me feeling like I was being a pretty good, undistracted, unbusy mom.

This week, I don’t understand how it’s possible, but I got to feeling like the housework expanded to fill every minute of those 90 minutes I had set aside. Nothing was getting done, but everything was getting started.

And yet, everything was still a mess. And I was bored out of my skull because without my devices I couldn’t listen to a podcast or a radio show to keep my mind occupied.

I ended up at the University Library in the afternoon after lunch having only packed my backpack with half of the “mobile office”. I forgot my pen. I forgot my notebook. I forgot my keyboard. Thankfully I had brought a book I have to read for the class I’m taking.

I think that was the worst of the consequences of this ever-expanding quality of the housework. It was that I managed to mess up one of my work blocks because I was overwhelmed before I left.

So yes, probably the forgetfulness is wandering womb related. But still. I drowned in a teapot devoid of electronic devices. I died climbing a molehill of my own making.

What really irks me is the “Everything started, nothing finished, even without distractions?“ thing.

It might be time for a checklist, Lily Fields

#16 Improve my posture

Last week I laughed uproariously at this point. I took that as a warning sign that I might have let this get out of sight for too long.

So during the mornings this week, when I was working at home alone, I wore the little posture brace, the backpack without a backpack, which serves to hold my shoulders back so I don’t slouch.

Uncomfortable? Why yes. Helpful? Oh my goodness, yes.

After just one morning of wearing my brace, I noticed that by the time I got to the library in the afternoon, I was more conscious of sitting straight and was carrying myself more thoughtfully.

Episode 32: Environment and Ecology Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: “Not on my Green Parenting Bingo Card,” LiElla is back!; Geeking out and going out green. Episode 32 is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Environment and Ecology." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge
  1. Episode 32: Environment and Ecology
  2. Episode 31: Mental Health
  3. Episode 30: Contentment
  4. Episode 29: Commitments
  5. Episode 28: Lucidly Ever After

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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