Planny McPlanner: Are You Guilty of Planning Too Much?

There’s a vicious beast when it comes to parenting. It swarms and takes over households and wreaks havoc. It’s dirty, stinky and smelly for most. I prefer to roll around in it, bless it, work with it, train it, own it. I am one with it. I am a planner, an over-planner that is.

I’ve always been over-planned. It’s my comfort zone and where {in my mind} every planned activity turns out perfectly. On a dreamy, well-planned day, we all high-five each other as we eat ice cream after spending a fun-filled day at the zoo, followed by the water park, rock climbing and a trip to the grocery store. Right? Nope. Not true. It is NOT true.

The level of energy that over-planning requires is exhausting for you and your family. And truthfully, it’s unnecessary. If you are a planner, ok. If you over-plan every day, stop. If you want to learn to over-plan, don’t. If you do not over-plan, congratulate yourself. You get the blue ribbon in this parenting exercise.

Let me tell you about one of the times we visited the zoo. Understand that I took a day off of work, a vacation day, to have a special Mommy-daughter day! I planned this well in advance. My plan failed after spending $26 and 45 minutes {a totally acceptable cost/time ratio} at the zoo. Claire proclaimed that her legs were “broken” and she could no longer walk, and that I ruined the trip to the zoo because I didn’t bring her stroller and there were no more elephants.

I waived the white flag and told her that we were leaving and she started to run. I already saw the end of that story coming. I told her, “DON’T RUUUUUNNNNNNN,” but it was too late. She flew through the air and hit the pavement. She screamed so loud that zoo staff literally rode over in their little golf carts, while she was screaming, “I BROKE MY LEG {umm…what?}!!! I JUST WANT MY DADDY! YOU’RE SO MEAN!!” So, they legit thought that she broken her leg and that I was the worst parent ever. 

The truth is, planning is really about control. And control is an illusion. So, why do we continue to over-plan, thus being over-controlling? We know there is little we can do when a child decides they’re not going to play our game. I think, why does my kid have to act this way? Why does she test me and ruin all my detailed planning? 

In my special world of planning, err…over-planning, I mean, everything is perfect and controlled. Of course it is, because it’s a plan, an idea…an illusion. And because all of my plans are perfect, I can cram a ton into one day. Everyone on the face of the planet knows that nothing planned always turns out perfectly, especially several plans in one day. We all have stories, but on this trip to the zoo, I had expectations!

I wanted to educate Claire, show her the baby tigers and point out ecosystems and talk about how caterpillars become butterflies, then go get a special lunch and come home to a nap and then swim and grill out and do s’mores by the fire. I want! I want! Me, Me, Me! So, not Claire. Not hers. I wanted the perfect day and wound up telling her that she ruined MY plans. Ouch. That stings. Instead of flying on eagles wings, I watch her soar through the air like a flying squirrel and hit the zoo pavement. Ouch again. 

 I love to watch my daughter play when she doesn’t know I’m watching. I am amazed by her creativity, sense of humor and beauty. I marvel at her vocabulary and the nurturing way she plays with her dolls. I realize her growth and development because I am quietly observing a moment with no plan and there is no illusion. I am witnessing pure childhood. A moment frozen in time when our world just stands still. 

I am reminded that these little ones are people, not our possessions. They will march to the beat of their own drum if we let them, and it may be a completely different beat than our own. When we choose to occupy our time over-planning the next millisecond, we miss stuff; stuff that doesn’t come back. I say, let them plan. It’s their life to plan, not ours.

It’s our job to keep them safe and make sure they aren’t planning to color siding with a permanent marker, run into the street or eat all of their Halloween candy in one night {how on earth did I come up with those examples? Another blog, another time!} Let’s choose a plan for our own life. We have lives too! Let’s guide and encourage our children and plan for safety, education, culture and growth. Let’s plan for no plans sometimes. Let’s plan for one plan at a time. I think I might plan another trip to the zoo, with no plans other than that. Who’s in?

Are you addicted to planning? How do you cope? I’d love to hear your feedback!

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One Response to Planny McPlanner: Are You Guilty of Planning Too Much?

  1. Ali September 7, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    Ms. Claire has always and will always walk her own path. She is strong, spirited and opinionated 🙂 Love you all!