I like to flip through my old notebooks and see what my to-do lists from prior years looked like, to see how ambitious I was, and to see what (if any) of the stuff got done. This particular notebook has garden notes and lists back to 2003, but to my surprise, I found a page sandwiched between two garden spring to-do lists, where I had scribbled an attempt to organize my schedule for the first 3 weeks of May 2012. As I skimmed it, I realized again how crazy my schedule had become and how it is definitely possible for us, as moms/businesswomen/wives, to bite off more than we can chew, BUT STILL PULL IT OFF WITHOUT (VISIBLY) BREAKING A SWEAT.
Here's what it had actually written on it. Bear in mind that this does NOT include the regular daily stuff like driving both kids to school and back 4-1/2 days a week, taking them to extracurricular stuff, all the regular cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. at home, running the admin and secretarial side of my husband's business, and answering the phone and doing all the bookkeeping for both his business and my busy wedding cake bakery. This was just a list of OTHER stuff I had signed up for in May 2012.
For context: I had volunteered to host AND fully cater our highschool's prom and dinner at our house originally on Friday, May 18 (which, mercifully, was rescheduled, as you will see later). Our property was a mess, since I was never home to do any yard work while running a bakery, and I had 3 events--2 wedding cakes and a giant sweet 16 birthday--to deliver and set up on Saturday the 19th. Oh, and I was working on a cake for a wedding photo shoot on the 10th and coaching our jr. high girls team for an Iron Chef competition the 11th.
Here's where I built a timeline to make sense of it all:
May 2: Nails. Pay all bills due, online or by phone. Sketch for photo shoot and 19th events, figure out how to make glow-in-the-dark icing for sweet 16 birthday party? tonic water?
Thur May 3: Yard work! (after nails? Hmm).
Fri May 4: Yard. Ingredients shopping. Iron chef practice, our house, all jr. high girls at 4:30.
Sat May 5: Mail mom a Mother's day gift! Yard work, lay pavers, setup gazebo, clean BBQ.
Mon May 7: Get ingredients, bake for 19th!
Tue May 8: Yard work. Call wedding planner re photo shoot cake.
Wed May 9: Decorate photo shoot cake, pipe lacework. Get Iron Chef competition ingredients.
Thur May 10: Deliver photo shoot cake. Bake for Sat tasting.
Fri May 11: Iron Chef competition 4-9 pm.
May 12: Wedding cake tasting 1 pm. Yard work, defrost chicken and bake, freeze (for next weekend Prom for 40 kids, chicken dish)
May 13: Mother's Day.
May 14: Finish all baking for Sat events. Bake for tasting tomorrow. Get Friday prom dinner/appetizer/dessert ingredients. Bake 3 kinds of cookies and Russian black bread for Friday prom, freeze.
May 15: Wedding cake tasting 12:30 pm. Make all fillings for Sat 3 event cakes. Make cake bases, wrap boards, get boxes, assemble cupcake boxes for 400 cupcakes. Pick up dishes and catering supplies from school for prom.
Sure. I can totally do this...
Wed May 16: Crumb coat and fill cakes for Saturday. Arrange for ASB team from school to have access to our house tomorrow so they can remove all furniture from our living room and turn it into a dance floor. Move dining room furniture to accommodate catering for 40. Make any do-ahead stuff for Fri. Make and decorate dozen cupcakes for pickup tomorrow.
Thur May 17: Cupcake dozen pickup, noon. Decorate ALL 3 cakes for Saturday, box up 400 cupcakes. Call event venues and/or wedding planners and coordinate delivery times (so I can deliver all 3, MYSELF, ON TIME). Costco for remaining prom groceries. Do prep work for prom food for 40 guests.
Fri. May 18: Make ceasar salad and chicken paprika for 40. Set out appetizers, bread, desserts, drinks for PROM. Be home for setup, cooking, and serving by 2 pm. Prom 5-midnight. Cleanup.
Sat. May 19: Deliver: 200-cupcake Sweet 16 party to CDA Resort at 11 am, 200-cupcake wedding to Beacon Hill 1 pm, 4-tiered wedding cake to CDA 4 pm. (These venues represent a round trip from the shop to CDA of 40 minutes; a trip from the shop to Beacon Hill and back, plus set up, of 2 hours; and another trip to CDA from the shop, another 30-40 minutes, so this day had at least 2.5 hours of just driving in it, not counting carrying cupcake stands and 400 boxed cupcakes and setting them up).
May 20: Stare at sky from hammock. (yes, I wrote that).May 21: Lunch at Belle Victorian Gardens with Pam and take a car full of potted-up rose starts from my gardens. Pot up starts WHEN? (Saturday?) (yes, really. I did this at some point…)
Flash foward to present day: Today I woke up still wondering, did I really do all that? So I looked back on my actual bakery schedule from May 2012 and saw that the ASB kids rescheduled the prom to Friday June 1, and everything went great. Instead of 3 events the day after the prom, that was a week where we had come back from camping Monday (unpack camper, do all laundry etc), and I had an anniversary cake to deliver Wednesday, and only one wedding the following day on Sat June 2, so, that was much more do-able. But still.
Lesson: Never let anyone (including *you*) tell you that you don't get enough done. Because--You rock, baby.
P.S. It's never a bad thing to pull the plug on ALL OF THAT, and only say yes to the Really Good Stuff.