Thursday, November 18, 2010

What if Real Life was just like Preschool?

Then we'd all be a lot happier. I mean, I'm just sayin'.

Nick Jr runs these ads centered around this idea. I searched and searched for a video, but alas, came up empty-handed so unfortunately you'll have to rely on my word-smithing to catch the idea.

Scenario 1: A mail clerk is attempting to make his rounds in your typical office, but as he calls out name after name, there's no responses. Nobody's sitting at their desk, cubicles are all empty, lights are off. Finally, a snore draws his gaze downwards, to the hard-working, suit-clad workers snoozing under their desks, teddy bears, blankies, thumb-sucking and all.

Wouldn't it be great if life was like preschool? There'd be naptime.

Scenario 2: A bustling surgery, doctors calling for scalpels, etc. For their tinkertoy creation, that is.

Wouldn't it be great if life was like preschool? There'd be arts and crafts.

You get the picture. There's a also a few in a mechanics shop involving story time and a class pet. These all make me smile, of course, but also give me pause, because in a lot of ways, my life is like preschool (even more so than when I worked in a preschool, actually):

1) There's naptime. Sweet, sweet naptime. Currently, M still takes a morning nap, and both M & N nap in the afternoon, giving me ample to time to recover, rest, take some quiet time of my own, and occasionally (okay, pretty much all the time) work on my other projects, of which there are many. But sometimes, if I really want to, I can close my eyes and enjoy the peace and quiet. Or watch endless Glee videos. Whichever.

I personally think America's working hours are too long - when I was in Dublin, I worked 10-4. And I gleefully walked to work everyday. Now, I loved my internship, but, I also never got burnt out, and neither did the editor. I love the Spanish idea of a siesta as well. There's been many a study about how productivity lags in the afternoons, and how Americans are putting in more and more hours, but getting less accomplished. Efficiency in shorter hours. When I have my pie shop / boutique, we just might have siesta time.

2) There's arts and crafts. Not just the kind N likes to do, which mean I come home and find dried playdough, beads, and hair elastics hiding inside my clothes, or marker on my nose. No, I've been lucky enough to find a group of artistically inclined girls and form a Craft Night - which makes us sound like a bunch of old biddies knitting and gossiping, but really, it's a bunch of wildly talented visual artists (and me) inspiring each other with the creative work they get up to when they're not doin' the daily grind. I love it.

3) There's storytime. Hellooo, blogging, writing, reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" a thousand times, memorizing "Goodnight Moon?" My parents nicknamed me "Belle" when I was little and this had entirely to do with the fact that I could be caught reading while brushing my teeth, walking, eating, watching tv, riding in the car, in the shower (I still do this, I read and re-read the back of all my bottles and what-not) - anywhere I could read, I would. My life is storytime because I am so caught up in language and literature. My imagination's vivid. And I'm always daydreaming.

4) There's a balance between worktime and playtime. Of course there's that old adage, "All work and no play makes Jack a dully boy," and then the European sentiment, "Work to live, don't live to work," but I saw this balance quite evident when I was working at a Montessori preschool. In Montessori, there is work, and while it may take on the appearance of toys, it is always exercises in counting, motor skills, letter learning, etc. but this is always balanced with playtime at other times of the day. Elementary school was like this, you had math, science, social studies, but you also had recess, music, art, P.E.

My life is exceptionally balanced in this way I find because taking care of the kids is both work and play, when they nap, I get a break for my own work and play time, and then I break up my evenings and weekends with work/writing time, gym time (which with my upcoming dance classes will be play time too), friend time, volunteer time, dating time, craft time, future planning time, music time, family time, cooking time, collapsing face first into my bed and turning off my phone time...

Okay, so sometimes, I add way too much onto my plate. I've always done this. I'm interested in doing too much. My life has become about finding a way to balance this, structure this, and to be able to do it all. Up next on my reading list is a book, "The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One," which, as you can read in the title, is all about figuring out how to accomplish all of these things. Recently, it's become about realizing different goals and projects should be tackled at different times in my life, not all at once.

5) There's always room for imagination. This goes back to everything I've mentioned above, the stories, the varied interests, the has a lot to do with this. It's dress up time, yes, and call me crazy, but I feel empowered when I love what I'm wearing (which tends to be always). And that's important for a nanny with a college degree. It's one of the reasons I go to the gym: I feel empowered when I feel strong, and I love feeling strong, always have.

Preschool is all about playing make-believe, which imitates real life. And what is the life of a twenty-something but that? We've just been thrusted out of a lifetime of school, into this "real world" thing, and I know but few people my age who really know what they want out of life. We're all trying new paths, new jobs, new hobbies, new people, and just trying to figure it all out. Some people know what they want and are figuring out how to get there. Others, have an inkling, or have no idea, but again, are figuring out how to figure that out and get there. We're all toddlers and pre-schoolers out here in the real world, learning how to walk, talk, and live. And with practice and play, we'll get it right.

What are your pre-life ambitions? Experiments? Hardships? I'd love to hear.


  1. Okay 1) they just came out with a study showing how nap time at work reduces tiredness & the muddly thinking that comes with it and increases productivity. Come on, America, let's do this.

    2) I love reading my shower items! Sometimes I get excited about it and can't decide which one to read first, even though I've read all of them about 100 times. The best is when you try out a new product - could be awesome for your hair, skin whatever AND makes for interesting new bathroom reading. I'm glad I'm not the only one who appreciates the fine art of product descriptions.

    3) I want to join your craft night! You sound like the funnest old biddy I know.

    4)I love you

  2. 1) I know! I know! I mean, come on people. We all require naps.

    2) Yay, I'm so glad you do this too! New proudcts ARE the best! But of course, I too, will read them over and over. And when we all shared a bathroom, don't you think I didn't read yours and Vivian's (and probably Brittany's) too!

    Now. Do you read the backs of salad dressing and bbq sauce bottles at the dinner table?? (shhh I do).

    3) Get your crafty bum over here! For reals. I'll give you extra incentive: it's being held twice a week now for holiday crafting. And there's always wine - I know you love wine. And food.

    4) I love you more.