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Vignette from a Mentoring Relationship
by Mary Beth Burns, Ed.D.

In the last edition, Sara wrote Emily and applauded her for the changes she had made; she also provided her with some additional feedback and suggestions. What follows is Emily's response to Sara's suggestions...

Dear Sara,

My planner is working out beautifully! I can now, with one glance, get a realistic idea of not only what my day holds, but the whole week as well. I feel far more organized and in control of my daily schedule than I ever have. For example, if it's not written on my daily calendar I just don't drop everything like I used to and do whatever it is that popped into my head. Instead, I assign whatever the chore or task is to another day. This way, I know that whatever it is that needs to get done will get done sometime in the near future. The result is I no longer get distracted and veer off course. I also don't feel that if I don't do at that very moment, whatever it is I just remembered, that I will forget it altogether.

I can't tell you how overwhelmed I used to get because I had no system or idea of what I was going to do on any given day. That often meant I was left running in nine directions and with little sense of where I was going, or what I was doing. Even better, since I started using a planner I don't feel so anxious these days. Scheduling my time in such a structured way has relieved me of the habit of worrying how I was going to get everything done in a timely manner. Last but not least, I no longer have sticky notes all over my computer, refrigerator and car dashboard!

I spoke to Jenna's Girl Scout troop leader and her cheerleading coach about whether or not they thought there might be another parent I could carpool with. Jenna's troop leader responded immediately. She told me that over the past few weeks two other moms had asked her the same question and that she had put them in touch with each other, but it hadn't worked out because they live in opposite directions. However, she was pretty sure that one of the moms lived fairly close to me, so she gave me her number. Now we alternate picking and dropping the girls off at their meetings, which has not only been nice for us, but for our daughters. The girls have formed a closer friendship and have been going back and forth to each of our homes. I haven't found anyone yet to carpool with for cheerleading practice, but the coach promised me she would make an announcement at the very next parent meeting.

I also took your suggestion and asked my husband to help me get Jenna to school in the morning. He not only agreed to drop her off at school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he also offered to take responsibility for helping her get out the door on those mornings, lunch and all. So, guess what I did? I signed up for a morning exercise class on those two days, which is something I always wanted to do.

I loved your idea about having a girls' night out with Jenna, so I scheduled in my planner a girls' night out for the first Friday of every month. Jenna and I decided we will go out for pizza and a soda or to a movie on those nights.

Sara, I just can't thank you enough. These small changes have made such a difference in the quality of my day. I feel so much more directed and grounded lately. My husband even remarked the other day that he noticed things seemed to be going better around the house. No more rushing out at the last minute to get milk for the morning cereal, or phone calls from the hair salon about a missed appointment. Now that's progress!

Your mentee and friend,

P.S. My next goal is to get my house in order, so in a subsequent E-mail can you give me some ideas on how and where to start? Thanks!

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Vol. 2, #11,
May 2004



Founder and
Contributing Editor:

Patricia Quinn, MD
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Julie Sullivan
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