Blog post! It’s been a crazy week with preschool, sick kids, preschool make up days, extra guitar lessons, canceled guitar lessons, extra writing to catch up with my writers group, cars breaking down, cars getting fixed, trying to sell a car, and working on refinancing the house. So I have done terribly with posting this week. I’m going to try and be better, use some time to get a little ahead and write a few extra posts today. It’s Sunday, so we’re on a “whatever I’m thinking about” day, and today I’m thinking about time. Not surprisingly.
I don’t have extra time. Every minute of my life is scheduled pretty tightly from the moment I wake up in the morning until after dinner, when I finally have some time to do housework. Between preschool, guitar lessons, writing, my sons’ taekwondo lessons, homemaking, and taking time to spend with my family, I have no minutes left over. Because that list is not a weekly schedule, it’s a daily one.
This isn’t to say “oh poor me,” or “look how busy I am,” I share this because when I say I know something about feeling busy and overwhelmed I want you to believe me. I want you to know that I understand. Finding time to schedule doctor visits or visiting friends requires extra juggling and sometimes seems impossible. Regardless of how much I enjoy or value what I do everyday, I still have mornings where I want to stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head and pretend no one will miss me if I don’t get up.
Not to say I don’t have fun. I enjoy teaching because I love the a-hah moments kids have. Those are awesome. And I know I am so blessed to be able to work from home so I can be here with my kids. I am grateful for that. But it means I am never not at work. Literally. My commute is fantastic, sure, but I live at my job, just like every other stay at home mom. I can’t clock out. I never get to be away from my work station, and no matter what I’m doing I feel like I should be doing something else.
Every working mom feels like that. Frankly I think every mom is a working mom whether you get a paycheck with your name on it or not. Every minute of our lives we are pulled in more directions than should be physically possible in a four dimensional universe. If we do the dishes, we’re guilty that we’re not playing with our kids. Playing with our kids we worry about the dishes. Doing the dishes after the kids are in bed makes you worry that you’re not spending time with your 9-5 spouse (which really becomes more of a 7-7 or 6-10 for most of them).
I put out a plea on Facebook for an unpaid intern who would come and be my assistant. One of my favorite girls responded asking what said intern would do. Well, I need someone to come and help me actually finish one checklist- just one- that I could get every item done before I had to add another ten things to the bottom. Time runs away from me and before I’ve finished half the things I want to get done it’s bedtime. Sometimes I resent the medication I have to take- narcolepsy treatment requires that I go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning. But I should be grateful for it. Without that kind of regulation I don’t know if I’d ever get to bed.
Because lists never get done, and if I didn’t sleep and take my meds I wouldn’t be functional. But what about everything else I want to do? All the things I want to get done for me- where are those on my list? That’s easy, they’re at the bottom. And they keep staying at the bottom. My husband is a wonderful man and knows how passionate I am about writing, and so he’s been glorious in helping. He’s taken over several chores, like emptying the dishwasher and making breakfast so I have some time somewhere to write. He’s gotten me a keyboard so I can take the iPad with me to the boys’ lessons so I can write while they learn to defend themselves. He let me have the computer for a week and took care of the boys every evening so I could learn to and design my own website.
That kind of support is invaluable. He is awesome. But he can't do a third of the things on my list because of how much time he spends earning money to support us. So there still isn’t enough time in my day. What do I need to do? Time management isn’t the issue. I’ve done the seminars and taken the classes and trust me, my time is managed to the minute. Cut back? Also not so possible. Everything I do in the day is important, and the only thing that could viably be cut is my writing, which is the one thing I’m doing for me. And I’m willing to go a little crazy to keep that.
Is that crazy? Right now I'm working two full time jobs (mother and preschool teacher) and one part time job (guitar lessons). Then add church callings and spouse time on top of those, and trying to write seems pretty selfish. There isn't any time left that I can use: I only have time to write if I take it from somewhere else.
So far I've been stealing time to write from my physical therapy. I'm supposed to do physical therapy for a half an hour every day to keep my blood flowing and my muscles flexible and to fight my aggressive arthritis. Haven't been doing it. Been writing instead. And I can definitely feel a difference in my body, but I've been trying to make up for it by being extra active during preschool. Not the same, but something I can do without giving up writing.
I try to take time to read and study, but that time comes out of something else. Then I don't work out and that makes me feel terrible about myself because one of my new medications has the glorious side effect of me gaining 15 pounds in the last few weeks. My pants don't fit and I feel bloated and awful. Then I escape by writing and feel more myself but my preschool lesson prep didn't get quite finished, so even though the kids love it when I wing it (winging it almost always involves more games and songs and silly dancing) I feel more stressed.
Maybe it isn't worth it. Maybe nothing will come of all this writing and work and all the time I've spent on it will have been merely to prove to myself that I can't make it as an author, so I can let go of the dream and focus on my life here and now. But I don't want to. I don't want all the fight and struggle of getting the manuscript finished to have been just for me. I write because I'm passionate about it, but also because I believe I have something to say.
What are you doing every day for just you? There isn’t always time, and sometimes life goes crazy and every plate you’re trying to keep in the air crashes down. You don’t have time then. But sometimes those are the times when it’s the most important to take time for you. Crazy and stress needs a break from crazy and stress and doing something you love is good for you.
So why is it so freaking hard to find the time? Because we're good people. We want to fulfill our commitments and never let anybody down. We want to help each other and be good spouses and good parents. We have worthy goals. But life these days is so busy and hectic and noisy that there is no extra time. I have often fantasized about being able to split myself into two people from 8:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night so that one of me could live the life I have now and the other could live the life I want. The only problem I can't resolve is if the working out half of my self does counts for both of me, then the aging I do counts for both of me too.
So multiple mes is out. But what do I do? I keep trying. I get up in the morning when my day starts out already behind, and plow through. Because in my mind, there is no other choice. I'm going to do it because it needs to be done, and I am the person there is to do it. I will not give up because this is the life I've chosen for myself, and if I don't have time to live it all, I will spend every day getting done as much as I can.