The full moon illuminates the house. Windows glow. I fell asleep too early, again. This early evening darkness throws me off. I meant to get up and go to the Alibi, catch Floating Goat. I woke up at 12:50 a.m. and considered it – for about a minute. But I couldn’t fall back asleep: my brain left the gate and charged down the familiar racetrack of All That Needs to Be Done.

The current Atlantic Monthly reports, “Multitasking is dumbing us down and driving us crazy.” I completely agree.

This comes on the heels of a recent story in the New York Times about the “growing happiness gap between men and women.” Why? Author David Leonhart writes, “women now have a much longer to-do list than they once did…. They can’t possibly get it all done, and many end up feeling as if they are somehow falling short.” Not exactly breaking news.

(Salon’s Broadsheet comments here, noting, “As the burgeoning field of positive psychology has shown, studying happiness is a complex and sometimes contradictory matter. Some research has suggested that a relative sense of wealth (or lack of it) has a greater effect on happiness than absolute wealth… Other happiness research points to a very different interpretation. People are not happy or sad based on their income but on the quality of their daily lives. Thus, maybe women are becoming less happy relative to men because more are working in the same way men typically have: engaging in goal-oriented but unfulfilling labor in exchange for time.”)

So, feeling dumb? Check.
Depressed? Check.

Maybe it’s just the pre-payday blues. At least the balance is still on the positive side of things. I’ve been working with Chelsea on having her do the bulk of budgeting and bill-paying, the idea being that she’ll get a sense of how much life costs, as well as how managing money should be done. So far, this experiment hasn’t been a complete success, which is due as much to my exceeding the budgeted amounts as it is her failing to invest the necessary time in this assignment. I still think the basic plan is good – she will learn and I will be on a better track financially – so I’m still trying to make this work. (I’m paying her $25/week for her time, which isn’t as much of a motivator as one might think.)

It’s a learning experience for both of us. Despite my proficiency at math (when I’m not dumbed down from multi-tasking and lack of sleep) and lists, I’ve never been able to keep to the rules I set for myself. Some glaring character flaw, I suppose – one I’m trying to not pass down to my children. (Note: The income-to-expense ratio over the years hasn’t left much room for error, either. So it’s not really all just me. But, still.)

The differences in my kids makes me wonder how much people are born with, how much they absorb. Chelsea is more like me when it comes to money: plans one thing, then blows her money impulsively or has to spend more than she expected on something and never has any savings. Kaylee is like Bobby: hoards it up and only spends when she’s sure she wants something – or has so much set aside that blowing a few dollars doesn’t hurt. Nick sometimes saves up, but will spend his whole chunk of cash on whatever is the must-have thing of the moment, often regretting his purchase after the initial thrill wears off. These differences seem genetic rather than learned. Ah, children… my own little science experiments.