Monday, February 08, 2010

Is "BUSY" your biggest complaint?

I make no bones about being a busy mom. I've often cataloged the reasons I'm busy....
  • Full time sales manager
  • Author of two books (Green Guide for Horse Owners/Riders & Rookie Reiner)
  • Mom of two
  • Wife of one
  • Ex-wife of another! :)
  • PTA President
  • Volunteer at Church
  • Writing Group Presi-secri-treasurer.
  • Avid reader and writer, karate and dance mom.
But let me be clear.... I'm not complaining.

I used to complain. "I'm soooo busy, I'm tooo busy" used to be my mantra. It used to just roll off my tongue the minute I became stressed. But then I had to look at exactly what I was doing with my time. I had taken on too much. I was volunteering on four different boards (community association, local gov't official's, writing group and PTA) while trying to write every night and improve myself at my day job by taking on more responsibility and reading work-related books wherever I went.

Then last summer my father in law passed away. I spent a couple of weeks with family and realized that there was a lot in my life that I could let go. And I admitted that the world would continue spinning if I dropped some balls, I also discovered that I'd have more time for things that were actually important - family!

I realized that I was overcommitted and it was not making me happy. I was too tired, had too much on my plate and it was making me do one thing that is sure to sink a marriage and a family.

I was trying to raise my expectations for everyone else's behaviour to match my own.

So when my husband was playing his video games and enjoying himself, I was all "why can't you see all the things that need to be done! why can't you do seven things at once and help me out!"  When someone wanted to sleep in, I was irritated that I couldn't. When I had too many appointments in a day, I was irritated when others weren't offering to help.

I mean, weren't we all in this together?

No. We weren't. I had forgotten to check with my family and see if they were happy with my schedule. I had been thinking only of myself and my self-satisfaction when I put on that supermom cape each day.

So what's changed?

I'm still busy. But I'm not too busy. I've found a pretty good balance between bored and too busy. I certainly haven't found 30 hours of leisure time like some people would have you believe.I realized that my default was to say "I'm busy" when what I really meant was "I'm not happy you're not helping me out of this quicksand". I was the only one who had control over how much I took on. And when it came down to it, I knew that I had to be happy with just being a mom and a wife before I could add anything to my load.

So I hung up the supermom cape and gave myself permission to be happy. To be happy without needing to be busy.... and I found that I could then ENJOY not just my family, but also ENJOY being busy! It was no longer stressful because I was choosing to add things of value into my day.

Here's a typical day:

5:45 alarm goes off
6:30 crawl out of bed and get into the shower, daughter usually comes with me
cook breakfast, make lunches, get ready for work, drop daughter off at day care
7:30-8:00 get to work, eat lunch at my desk, try be a good boss, love my job (I do, it's weird!)
4:30-5:00 go get daughter from daycare, go home, start supper.
5:30 eat supper
6:15-7pm take son to karate, read a work book or report, finish up some writing.
7:30 bath time for short people, homework, book reading to the kids
8-9pm tell the kids to get their butts back into bed
9:30 sit down for "leisure time" which usually consists of blogging (work!) or research (work!) or writing (work!), while watching whatever I've recorded.
12 (midnight) head to bed.

Keep in mind that my husband works crazy and constantly changing shifts, so sometimes he's dropping the kids off, sometimes he's picking them up, sometimes he's sleeping when I get home from work and we try be really quiet until about 6 pm when he gets up! Also, I schedule most of my writing on the weekend or in the evenings, just like I always have and I've given myself the OK to not write every single day. I'll still be a writer just like a cyclist will still be a cyclist if he doesn't ride his bike EVERY day.

And I remind myself that "busy" is just a state of existance, it's not a complaint and it's not a badge of honor. It's just busy.

1 comment:

D Kai Wilson said...

I did a day in the life post recently too - since getting sick, I don't get up as early as you do, and don't have a job to shoehorn in, but I can't for the life of me see where I'd find 30 hours of 'lesure' time either. My writing time doesn't count (and is 20 hours a week - a part time job) but like you I'm on the go from around 7am till midnight.