Thursday, April 18, 2013


A dear and much admired friend (more on her another day) and I have coined a term for people who go through life in a constant state of panic and chaos. People for whom drama and confusion seem to be a way of life. We refer to such people as “crazy pants.” As in, “You’re wearing your crazy pants.”(It is important to note that these pants are figurative, not literal.J)

Naturally, everyone has crazy pants days. Life is full of too much unpredictability and too many obligations to ever be truly crazy pants free. But people who are regular wearers of crazy pants are people who I keep on the periphery of my life, as true crazy pantsers have a way of trying to suck others in.
True confession time:
Lately, I have found myself pulling on my crazy pants on a semi-regular basis. Shameful, but true.
Now I could give you a list of perfectly justifiable reasons for my crazy pants – things like selling our house and therefore keeping it perpetually show ready while living in it with a husband and three young children who all have an extraordinary talent for making crumbs, planning and preparing for a move, a looming deadline for my second book which is not exactly what you’d call on schedule, and the day-to-day busy-ness of managing a home and mothering my beans.
Sure there’s a lot going on. But I’m here to say that crazy pants don’t make any of it better. In fact, donning them regularly makes everything worse. It means I’m not at my best. I’m not thinking clearly and reacting calmly. In short, I’m on the edge. Ever in danger of cracking like a cheap piƱata.
It’s time for a different approach.
Since nothing on my plate can come off my plate, my strategy needed to focus on approach and execution. The solution came to me yesterday and was nothing less than shocking. SHOCKING.
I’ve looked at the problem from every angle and it seems the antidote to crazy pants is:
I know. I was stunned, too. And not because men aren’t capable of effective thought. They certainly are. I know my husband is. He spends his days looking at financial problems and questions from all angles, performing analyses that defy explanation (to me, anyway) and developing sound solutions. Good thinking to be sure. But traditionally, man-thinking has not been effective when applied to the many jobs of motherhood. Man thinking is linear and logical. Motherhood necessitates keeping many balls in the air and one’s hands in many pots. BUT, in times of impending crazy pants, I now believe thinking like a man is the only answer.
My husband, that darling, exceedingly left-brained man, has a saying. “Do one thing at a time, do it very well, and then move on to the next.” And it was within this motto that I found the answer. There is beauty in its very simplicity, isn’t there?
After I let this idea settle for a bit, I noticed my breathing was slower and I could no longer feel my heart beating in my chest. It was working already. For now, whenever possible, I will turn off my natural tendency to multi-task to the extreme and simply focus on the task right in front of me. I will complete that task thoroughly and to the best of my ability. And then, I will move on to the next.
My crazy pants will be relegated to the back corner of the closet where they should be. Back with the blouse that looks cute on the hanger but goes all wrong on my body and that skirt that really is just too short for a 40-something mom, regardless of whether or not she has good legs.
Wish me luck. I will report back.

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