I am not Charles Barkley

Strobist: Basketball Group Assignment 2007-03-28
Photo by Doug L.

Remember when Charles Barkley famously said, “I am not a role model”?

I’m not a role model. I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids .

I’m a parent. I should be a role model.

I work hard to model certain things for my child. Kindness. Compassion. Empathy. Generosity. Creativity. Open-mindedness. Forgiveness. Diplomacy and peace. Humor. I don’t always succeed at these things, that’s certainly true. But I think he knows that I value them and work toward them.

I really struggle, however, with many other characteristics that I’d like to model for Quinland. Accountability. Self-discipline. Order. Time management. Serenity. He definitely sees that I value these things, because he knows how defeated I feel when I don’t measure up in these areas. Hopefully he sees, in my struggles, that I think they are valuable things to work toward.

As I read this over, I notice a trend. The first set of qualities, the ones that I find easier, have mostly to do with relating to other people; the second, to managing one’s own life. I don’t mean to say that I am some kind of wizard at relating to people – I definitely struggle with being a good friend; since so much of my life is caught up in my own struggles, too often I neglect the people I care about most – but I really seem to have trouble in relation to myself.

I don’t have the answers. I am just beginning to see the questions.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for a good Girl Scout meeting tonight, for my fabulous Mr. Darcy book, and for getting out of work on time!
  • I’m lighter! I have been doing a good job of waking up early and putting my life in order in the mornings. It gets my day off to a great start.

What would Patti do?

I almost didn’t write about this, because it might seem silly, but what the heck.  It’s the truth, at any rate.

I went through my whole day today thinking, “What would Patti do?”

Who is this mysterious “Patti,” are you asking?  Well, picture someone who does what needs doing and does it efficiently and well, but still manages to find the time for fun and friends and family.  And organizing.  And cooking.  Knitting, scrapbooking, photography.  Being a most excellent Nana and simultaneously a Star Trek geek.  (I know, I know… I have just described the perfect woman for millions of men, but sorry, geeks: she’s taken.)

But I digress.  Obviously, I have been in a funk this week about my shortcomings, and I resolved to pull myself out of the funk by my bootstraps.  So last night I decided to spend a day being Patti.  I began by setting my alarm for an ungodly hour, because I have heard that Patti gets up early.  (I, apparently, do not get up so early, as I did not even hear the alarm until after David had snoozed it once and then – when it went off again – ordered me to get up because he wasn’t getting up that early.)  That was the first step: getting up at early o’clock plus seven minutes.  It was darkish, but I did it.

After I got out of the shower, I realized that a) Patti would almost certainly not have all these clothes lying around, and b) since I was Lori yesterday, I did not have any clean pants.  Patti would have had clean pants on a Monday morning, but now that I was Patti and had gotten up so early, I could go wash them!  I got the laundry going, hung up all the clothes that needed hanging, and then woke up my family.

I was all ready to make sure Quinland ate a healthy breakfast and packed a healthy lunch, but Q beat me to the breakfast while I put the clothes in the dryer (Good job, Q!)  I did pack Q’s lunch, but I forgot that Patti would have packed herself a healthy lunch, too.  Of course, since I was Lori yesterday, I did not have healthy leftovers anyway.  (Apparently, it is better to be Patti on the second or third day.)  I got Q dressed and out the door, and I thought I left on time, but I didn’t factor in the traffic on Barbur.  (Patti would have.  Patti is always very early to work because she factors things in and sometimes they don’t happen.  Lori has often been late because she did not factor things in and they did happen.)

Being Patti at work was very productive.  I decided not to pump up the font size on my monitor, but I did try to keep my desk clear most of the day.  It’s tricky, because a lifetime of being Patti seems to give one a “Don’t even think about setting your stuff on my desk” aura, while being Lori seems to be analogous to a neon sign that says, “Go ahead and pile your piles right next to my piles.  There is still some room over there by the 3-hole punch.”  Still, faxes got faxed, letters got typed, deposits and reports got entered, all in a very timely manner.

Example of my ultimate Work Patti-ness: On Friday evening, after Patti had gone for the day, our boss noticed that she had left him a report on the front counter by my desk.  He said, “Wow!  Patti already has the postage report for September done!”  This afternoon, he asked me to see if I could recreate a document he wanted.  When he came back to the office after a short break, he said, “Wow!  You already have that done?  Great job!”  The Patti in me was really shining through.

How did After Work Patti do?  Well, she noticed a rip in her black skirt and mended it (Lori has known it was ripped for about four months).  She got right to work sorting papers that needed sorting.  She made sure Quinland took a shower, did his chores and went to bed early, and then she wrote this post.

Now my Patti-Day is drawing to a close, and I have to say, it was eye-opening.  It made things I have been dreading or putting off a bit more attractive, because I knew Patti would “Just Do Them.”  Even now, I know I need to go to bed immediately (it’s 10 pm), because I know I need to get up early in the morning.  And because I was Patti today, I have clean clothes to wear tomorrow and they are all neatly hung in my closet.

Because I am also still Lori, I just realized I forgot to eat dinner.

{Procrastination} released: Skirt mended! Papers sorted!