For years I have had a bad habit of double (and even triple) booking myself. Enjoying so many things coupled with my desire to help people, I often committed to things without really thinking it through. Sometimes this resulted in being unable to really do my best and other times it resulted in me feeling frenzied like a chicken with my head cut off. And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s that.
While I enjoy a certain level of busy, I’m not the type of person who enjoys being busy every day. Or being so busy I get lost and am unable to enjoy the moment ~ always thinking 10 steps ahead of where I am. So I’ve made a change…actually several over the past few years, but especially recently.
Early last year (March) the Captain got a job working away. What this means is that for a lot of the time, I am the only one I can rely on, which adds a different dynamic than we’re used to. I am certainly capable and not complaining, but life got noticeably more complicated. It isn’t simply double the work, but really more like quadruple. And trying to find ways to compensate so the kids don’t feel the absence so deeply is a huge weight to bear.
Truly, if I didn’t love my job so much, and if I felt it specifically had a negative impact on the kids (they are in school full time so my working really doesn’t impact their lives), I would have more than likely walked away from it. But I do love it and I haven’t noticed an impact on the kids – but it does add one more complication ~ plus getting ready for work while getting kids ready for school can be NUTS!
What I found was the most important was to balance the after work/school time to their benefit. The summer was easier for several reasons – no school or extra activities and because I work part time, LOTS of play! But the school year is certainly busy with activities dance, gymnastics, and now basketball for Jonah plus household responsibilities, nevermind church responsibilities.
In order to balance life, to make sure I was still able to be the kind of mom I strive to be, there were certain things that had to *give*. Since March, I have missed every church function with our Relief Society. Not because I don’t enjoy them (I actually love them), but because it was one more complication I didn’t need ~ finding a sitter, kids being up late, me being up late and tired for work, etc. were all things I didn’t feel I should put my time and energy towards. My responsibilities in the youth program (Young Women’s) also took a major back seat. My commitment level was minimal, for many of the same reasons. I love the youth and love serving with them, but it was a commitment that simply weighed me down. I was released at the end of the year, and while I miss the girls dearly, I have been relieved of a lot of guilt.
At the end of the day I had to shift my focus to those things that helped either pay my bills or raise my children.
I now have a new church calling which I love, that allows me the freedom to do it as it fits into my life. I’m making sure to get adequate rest so I’m alert at work, though I still sometimes fail miserably. I’m working hard to keep up on the housework (using one of my 10 commandments to *do it now*) as well as make progress in de-cluttering and removing the things we just don’t use (and never will). I’m making sure the kids get to their activities each week (3 days, plus Saturday now), get their homework and reading done. Luckily, one of my closest friends takes the kids to school when the Captain is away and I can’t tell you what a huge blessing that is! (HUGE…trust me, at the end of the last school year I didn’t have that, and it was a little nuts for sure).
I also try to make sure they have healthy meals, though if you knew how many times we’ve had fast food the past few months you’d likely gasp in horror, but it, too has it’s place (survival). I also have two big dogs needing attention ~ as you know I also helped Malibu while birthing her 11 puppies, dealt with the loss of 3 of them, and helped care for the remaining 8 for 2 months until they went to their new homes (one until 3 months). If you wanna know BUSY, have puppies. So fun but also slightly insane.
And of course, I’m doing my best to mantain focus on the importance of Making Memories.
I’m not saying my life is any busier than anyone else’s, and in fact quite the opposite. I’m sure your life is just as busy, if not moreso. That’s why I’m writing this post. I want to know *What Gives* for you?! What are the things you have to let fall by the wayside? What are the things that just cannot be given priority status in your life? Do you find that dynamic difficult to maintain? Or do you find that you have it organized all wrong?
Again, for me it has been anything that doesn’t pay the bills or raise my children (there’s also a small portion of this reserved for things that fulfill me and make me tick, but there is a whole post coming about that). And being able to *say no* and *miss things* (two of my Secrets of Adulthood), and focus on these has quite simply been the biggest reason I have been able to (mostly) keep from being overwhelmed.
So, what gives?