Monday, September 26, 2011

Maid Simple: Errand Day

My life is pretty busy. I have one child. By extrapolating this information I can confidently hypothesize, then, that women with more than one child must be equally busy or busier than I. Which is why I feel the need to share this very basic, yet sanity-saving information about something we all do: errands.

Used to be I'd run out whenever I needed to, wherever I needed to, as soon as I needed to. Within the past 5 months I've found this method to be somewhat taxing on my gas consumption, and extremely taxing on my mental state. Now that I have book club meetings and lunch meetings on top of my daily work schedule, and B's involved in thirteen thousand activities, it hardly seems feasible to run to the post office to send one letter or buy a book of stamps. It seems even less likely that I'll be able to finish homework, oversee the practicing of multiple instruments, and get dinner on the table at a Christian hour if I'm standing in line at the bank, or worse yet the dreaded supermarket where the "express" lane is just a cruel, cruel myth.

To ease my stress and cut back on the instances of pots boiling over or chicken drying out in the oven while I run my crazy ass all over town, I have instituted the official weekly Errand Day. One day each week is designated for errands. Knowing this ahead of time allows me to prepare my to do list and map out the quickest route so I'm not doubling back for anything. Also, keeping the same day each week makes it easier to work it into my schedule.

A word to the doubting Thomasinas out there. You may be saying "Right, but what if you forget a crucial dinner ingredient? Won't you still have to run out?" My answer is yesandno. I will move heaven and earth to try to find a substitute for the missing ingredient, sometimes going as far as making something completely different that night just so I don't have to run out. Have there been times when I've had to run out to the store aside from my errand day? Yes. But seriously, I will do almost anything to avoid it. I'm a creature of habit and schedule. Being off schedule makes my teeth itch.

How to do it:
1. Pick a day of the week, preferably a day when you have very few other commitments. I chose a day when I don't have to take B to any lessons or meetings.
2. Begin making your list well in advance of Errand Day, and continue adding to the list as needed, as the day approaches.
3. Map out your route, hitting each errand in order to not have too much unnecessary driving. This will really help if you have little kiddos in the car.
4. Do some deep breathing exercises while you're waiting in lines. Smile at people, it'll make you feel better.
5. As soon as you get home, make a list for your next Errand Day, starting with anything you forgot to do while you were just out.
6. Reap the benefits of not feeling harried every single day of the week. Put the (little) kids down for a nap and send the big ones outside to play. Make a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and read a good book. You don't have to go anywhere!

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