My New “Go-With-The-Flow” Attitude

posted by Andrea | 06/14/2012

If someone were going to describe my personality, “go-with-the-flow” would NOT be the words they might choose… I can guarantee it!

And you know what, I’m not bothered by that one bit. 

I wouldn’t be who I am today if I always had a go-with-the-flow attitude. My house wouldn’t be as clean, my freezer wouldn’t be as stocked, I wouldn’t be able to do everything I do on a daily basis, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to run my business/website as effeciently as I do now.

So my lack of “go-with-the-flowness” is not always a bad thing!

As you can probably imagine, Dave IS a very go-with-the-flow person {funny how opposites attract, isn’t it!} His laid-back approach to almost every aspect of life is a major reason I was so attracted to him… and if you ask him, I’m pretty sure he would say that my do-it-now, spunky attitude is what attracted him to me!

However…

Yes, there’s a “however” in this story…

Over the past 6+ months since Nora was born, I’ve been FORCED (completely against my will) to learn how to go-with-the-flow.

I’m still not very good at it; but I am learning :)

And in case you don’t believe me, here are 4 examples from the past few weeks:

1. I’m learning that being late is not the end of the world.

I HATE being late… and based on my line of work, it doesn’t look great if I’m always the one to show up at the last minute. Before Nora, I was almost always early — but now, even though I diligently plan ahead and leave in advance, I still end up arriving at the last minute {and sometimes even late!}

It bugs me, but I suppose I should get used to it.

It seems that no matter how hard I try to plan ahead and have everything ready to go, something always happens right at the last minute that takes more time (diaper change, clothing change, screaming fit, etc).

Thankfully, someone once left a comment on my blog, suggesting that I always give a “time frame” for when you’ll arrive instead of an exact time. I’ve been implementing this concept — and even though we often arrive near the end of my time frame, I feel better about myself since we’re technically not “late”.

I’m happy to report that there have been several times in the last few weeks when I was running just a little late — and I didn’t feel the need to stress out or apologize. I figure that most people will understand why I’m late and cut me some slack (hopefully!)

2. I’m learning to work around Nora’s LACK of a schedule.

This is probably one of the hardest and most frustrating things for me… still. I hate the fact that I can no longer plan activities several days/weeks in advance because I don’t know what Nora will be doing.

And I hate the fact that the second I DO try to plan something (dentist appointment at 1:00) she will finally decide to take a nap at 12:45 or be starving at 1:00 even though I fed her at noon.

Even something as simple as going for a walk with a friend stresses me out because I know that if we set a specific time to meet, that will be the exact time Nora throws a temper tantrum, has a blow-out diaper, or needs to eat {yet again}.

If you are a go-with-the-flow person, you probably think I’m insane; but if you’re a type A person… I know you can relate :)

Anyway, I’m trying REALLY hard to relax and not worry so much about having all my ducks in a row {even though I’d really love for them to be in a row – possibly even alphabetized and color-coded within that row!}

3. I’m learning that “big issues” might not be THAT big.

The other day, my website had a mini meltdown around 10:00pm EST. I had finally gotten Nora to fall asleep and I was ready to crash myself. As usual, I quickly checked my email and blog one last time before crawling into bed — only to find that ALL of my categories and tags had dissappeared, which meant that NONE of my blog posts were visible. Basically, my website was completely blank besides the home page.

Not cool.

I knew my web guys had been finalizing some updates/upgrades, so I figured the issues were a result of their updates… but still, not cool!

In my pre-go-with-the-flow days, I probably would have stayed up half the night trying to fix this BIG issue…. but the other night, I simply sent them a (somewhat urgent) email explaining the situation, and then I went to bed.

Since my web guys are amazing, it was fixed by the time I woke up for a mid-night feeding and I got some much needed sleep.

Maybe, it wasn’t such a big deal after all.

4. I’m learning that cleaning during a kitchen remodel is pointless.

Yes that’s right, we’ve started demolition… and it’s a mess.

After about 10 months of enjoying our relatively clean, construction-free home, we’re back living in construction {and I always forget how much I hate it!}

Even though I tried to focus on the positive aspect that I wouldn’t have to clean much during our kitchen renovation; it’s REALLY hard not to clean up — especially when it’s your kitchen. Sigh…

So after a couple days of trying to diligently clean the kitchen after the dust settled for the day, I’ve decided that I’ll just have to be more go-with-the-flow about the cleanliness of our house during our kitchen renovation. And if you know me, you know just how hard it will be! 

So, as I mentioned before, I still have a long way to go before anyone would ever describe me as “go-with-the-flow”, but I’m making progress.

To be honest though, my ultimate goal is not necessarily to be completely go-with-the-flow all the time (just think how crazy our house would be if Dave and I were both super relaxed!) however I think it will be good for me to relax just a bit — although still against my will!

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29 comments

  1. jodimichelle

    06/14/2012

    I like your honesty :) and I’ve been there! I probably would never be described as a type A person (ever) but I love organizing and planning and details – I get bursts of energy now and get to it – but for the first few years after babies came I had to completely let go of my expectations. (and THAT is hard for me) and it’s been easier to deal with the last minute changes or set backs. Now that my kids are getting older I can start doing a few more of those “type A” activities and it’s so exciting for me, but now I balance it with spontaneity and I get lots of help on that spectrum from a few certain 3 foot people. ;)

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  2. Kristia {Family Balance Sheet}

    06/14/2012

    Andrea – you are learning what so many mothers have learned before you and will learn after you–how to adapt to life with kids. This post actually made me giggle, because I remember running late for an appointment when one of my kids was a baby and right as I was putting her in her car seat I heard an explosion coming from her back-side. Their timing is never ideal, so it’s a good thing they’re so cute.

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  3. Thrifty Mom in Boise

    06/14/2012

    As a fellow task master I hear you. I am having one of those weeks myself. I just have to chill out and go with the flow. Sometimes we just aren’t in control. Others do have some influence, especially the little ones.

    Nora is so precious. Enjoy this time. My little ones are growing up right before my eyes.

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  4. Jess

    06/14/2012

    I am the definition of Type A but having twin boys who are now 4 months old and buying a “fixer-upper” has changed all that and knocked me on my alphabetizing, color-coding, cleaning daily butt. I am told it will be better and I keep fighting the chaos as best as I can. But I can so relate. :)

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  5. Melissa

    06/14/2012

    I totally hear you and agree on the points you have made. I’m always planning, can’t relax, type A personality and it’s very hard to learn to ‘go with the flow’ but I’m trying. Kudos to you for working at it especially with a baby. I can only imagine when I get to that stage in my life what I’ll be like.

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  6. Cathleen

    06/14/2012

    Sounds so familiar!
    I learned not to make too many commitments – but NOW as the kids are getting a little older, I am having to “re-learn” how to get more structured again because (a) using the kids as an excuse doesn’t work any more and (b) i think it is important to teach & show them how to organize, plan, etc.

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  7. Shannon

    06/14/2012

    Thank you for this post from one type A to another.

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  8. Leah

    06/14/2012

    I have never been a total Type A, but none the less after 2 kids I have also learned to go with the flow a lil bit more. I totally stressed about everything with my first and now with a second child I have adapted the motto “It will get done, when it gets done”. I still don’t like how kids have this instinct when you need to clean something/get somewhere/get something done. Thanks for your honesty and good luck surviving the reno!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes exactly. People always ask me, “when will she need to eat again?” or “when will she take a nap”. I now respond by saying, “she’ll eat again when she’s hungry and she’ll take a nap when she’s tired.”

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    Rebecca Reply:

    It seems like every time someone asks me “When will he nap again?” and I say something like “Oh he usually goes down around 2:00″ THAT is the day he won’t nap until 4:00.

    PS Andrea-I’d love to see a post about your experience with baby schedules. From what you’ve said, Nora makes her own schedule, but I am always curious to hear people’s experiences on what they tried and what did/didn’t work.

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  9. Jen

    06/14/2012

    I describe myself at Type AAAA and my sweet husband as Type J! HAHA It has taken me 24 years to get used to his laid-back approach to life and to appreciate it! Or we’d be in some serious trouble. :-) However, a friend recently told me “Type A is good and necessary but Type AAAA is killing you!” I’m learning to relax and you are fortunate that you are learning at a MUCH earlier age. I wish someone had helped me do the same.

    I had four babies that amazingly conformed nicely to my need for a schedule. But I wish I had held them a little more, enjoyed them a little more, and stressed out a little less. The days are long but the years are short. My oldest “baby” will be married on August 4. Before you know it, Nora will be doing the same. Savor every moment!

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  10. Melissa

    06/14/2012

    I can totally relate. I hate to be late and it just drives me nuts, but my four year old won’t leave unless there is at least one major meltdown and now my youngest who is 1 has started to follow suit. As a result, I usually have a screaming car leaving my house to make it on time anywhere. But if I just go with the flow, no screaming kids and I am usually no more than 10 minutes late, so I have decided that 10 minutes late is okay for me.

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  11. Anel

    06/14/2012

    Andrea, this was a great post. Definitely something I need in my own life. There are days I wake up stressed from all the things that need to happen that day. I know it’s not healthy and I also need to learn to work with the flow like you

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    Andrea Reply:

    Please don’t think that I never wake up stressed… because there are days when I do! I still have a long way to go but will keep trying to be more “go-with-the-flow”. It’s hard, especially for people liks us :)

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  12. Liz

    06/14/2012

    Ahhhhh, the joys of parenting when you’re a Type A.

    I learned to have a range of plans…instead of THE plan. That way when all heck breaks loose I always have something to fall back on that isn’t the complete end of the world.

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  13. Marie

    06/14/2012

    I can relate. Although I don’t know if I’m type A exactly, I know that in comparison to my husband, I look like a huge control freak. He’s pretty much as laid back as it comes to housework and planning and I LOVE to have a plan and a clean, clutterless home so we have always struggled with that. However, I have recently learned as well with recent schedule changes and stress that It is OKAY to chill out and let some things slide in order to preserve some sanity.
    So I’m happy to hear that you’re learning the same things as well. :)

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  14. Catie

    06/14/2012

    I appreciate your honesty! I’m positive I’m more go-with-the-flow than you even on my BEST day, but I, too, have learned to relax a little. :) The schedule thing is the WORST for me, too. And I HATE being late. But with two toddlers, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t always be on time. It’s also allowed me to show others a little bit more grace in these areas! I can relate now! LOL

    I am a stickler for a schedule, though. We are ALWAYS home by naptime (between noon-1pm) and the girls are *usually* always in bed around the same time. These two thing rarely waver in my life. Mostly for our sanity. If the girls are tired, then they get crabby, then *I* get crabby! NOT GOOD! ;)

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  15. Diane H

    06/14/2012

    I just saw a quote yeterday that I liked and it was “the only thing that goes-wtih-the-flow” are dead fish. : )

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  16. Kimberly

    06/14/2012

    Thanks for the post. So glad to know I’m not the only one to live like that. We are the same. I’m the type A, and DH is the go with the flow guy. So hard to adjust, but with 4 boys, I have had to learn. Just today we were late to swimming lessons (we’ve been late for probably half of our lessons but today we were 10 minutes late – not just 2) because my car battery died. Got it jump started and made it to lessons, bought a new battery and made it home -got home and it was the wrong size. I wished to get to stay home and not run anywhere today after 3 days of feeling like I was running like crazy. Wish granted. However, I need to run a lot of errands. I’m sooo working on telling myself it is fine and I can get them done tomorrow. :) Breath in, breath out – go with the flow. :)

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  17. Sandy

    06/14/2012

    God created each of us in His image; wonderfully made and unique. God gifted you generously with scheduling, teaching, organizing, giving, thoroughness, frugality, sharing, honesty and more. Now God is adding another gift to your repertoire….whether you are learning willingly or not.
    I find some of the best things God teaches me come through a very difficult struggle to maintain control. And God keeps teaching me patience over and over and over again. hmmmm…….LOL.
    Keep letting us join your journey. We can all learn from each other.

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  18. Leanne

    06/14/2012

    that was a great post, Andrea! I didn’t learn some of those lessons until baby #2 (our 2nd adoption) and then I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 when baby #2 was 8 months old…did I mention baby #1 was only 2 years old at the time? oh…and I went on bedrest at 35 weeks, had a c-section at 38 weeks, and developed complications within a couple of weeks of being home?! wow! that just put my type A personality in a MESS!, but now, I have a new normal, am fairly organized, and have 3 kids rapidly approaching school age! that’s when type A comes in really handy!
    thanks for such a great post!

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  19. Renee

    06/14/2012

    It’s nice to know that there is someone going through the same situations! Life as a young mother can be a bit overwhelming and it’s important to remember to keep life simple and savor the moments that truly make life important.

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  20. Akta

    06/14/2012

    My “go with the flow” attitude started 7 yrs ago when I married my husband. I was the person who has everything organized in my home, life, work etc. but when we got married and lived together, it was a total 180 for me.

    And now with 2 girls (1 with a personality like mine and one like my husbands) everyday is a new day with new challenges & new surprises, I’m learning to “go with the flow.”

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  21. The Diaper Diaries

    06/14/2012

    I used to be very driven and Type A. No one who knows me now would know that. Marriage and kids sucked all the Type A out of me. The funny thing is I still cling to tiny bizzare pieces of Type A-ness. Like not letting anyone else load my dishwasher because they all do it wrong. Even going so far as to rearranging other people’s dishwashers when I am helping in the kitchen at their houses. And actually I am still more anal than my husband who was much more anal when I met him. We have both seriously mellowed through the years.

    Life is a journey. And as I sit here this week freaking out that my oldest is at sleepaway camp and I have no control over what she is doing, I am realizing yet again, that much of life is teaching us that control is all an illusion.

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  22. Rebecca

    06/14/2012

    Oh this is like reading a blog post about myself :)

    It always amazes me when the baby is crying and my husband just nonchalantly stops what he’s doing and picks up the baby or gets on the floor and plays with him until he’s happy. Doesn’t bother him in the least. And my thought is “I just want to finish washing the dishes/read a blog post/check facebook/finish folding this laundry…why do you have to cry right now??”

    Thank goodness we have spouses to balance us

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes… for sure Rebecca! Dave is super relaxed and Nora’s crying never seems to bother him. I wish I could say the same for myself!

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  23. Jen @ BigBinder

    06/14/2012

    I am so proud of you :) Good job Mama! We go into this whole parenting thing thinking we are here to teach our kids the way and so often it ends up being exactly the other way around :)

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  24. sarah

    06/15/2012

    Well Done! Being able to plan and execute those plans is a very important life skill your sweet Nora has and I’m sure will greatly benefit from yours as she gets older. Being able to roll with a certain amount of unpredictability is another important life skill. From personal experience I’d have to say there’s nothing like a baby with an inconsistent sleep pattern and strong disposition to shed light on where we as parents might need to be stretched and molded.

    when I was a kid I did lots of gymnastics, any and all of the awards I received had this on it :

    “For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name he writes not that you won or lost but how you played the game.”

    It is a great reminder to keep my focus on the journey not the end result soooo much with whatever I’m facing as a parent, household manager, etc
    Keep going Andrea!

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  25. Debra Kapellakis

    06/19/2012

    Change is not always easy but sometimes it brings GOOD things! You have the right attitude and that is going help you VERY much! :D

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