Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reclaiming Time

I must reclaim my time. That is my first resolution for the New Year.

Every year, I think things will get so much easier. Then I am shocked when I feel busier than ever. “After I stop homeschooling”…nope: our life filled up with extra-curricular activities. “After the little one goes to Kindergarten”…nope: my life filled up with coaching and volunteer activities at school. “After the cross country season”…nope: I took on so many freelance assignments I barely had time to floss my teeth. Not to mention travel softball which never stops, and Little League planning that goes on year round.

Now that my Christmas preparations are done and I decided not to take on any more work during the vacation, I am feeling so much more like myself. I hate rushing around! I hate crowds, I hate traffic, and I really hate having my life scheduled to the second. I really love just hanging around the house in comfortable clothes, letting it get a little messy, baking and enjoying my kids.

It seems to me there has got to be a problem when a stay-at-home mom has no free time. Is it society that pressures me to do more, or is it me? I’m sure it’s a whole lot of both. There are all these people who kept asking me what I was going to do with my time and, although I don’t feel like I have to prove anything to them, maybe I am still trying to prove to myself that what I do is valuable.

So somebody asks me to do something at the school and I think, well I have lots of things to do but no good excuses why I can’t come in…and there is one full afternoon gone. I get offers for work and I think, yes I have two unscheduled days so I can bid on two assignments…then both bids are accepted and I am rushing to meet deadlines, getting nothing done around the house.

Lack of boundaries is a big problem for many mothers. In the work place it is easy to set and maintain boundaries, but at home everything blurs together. When your work place is at home, and you have no defined office space or work hours, your physical and mental spaces are both going to get disorganized and difficult to maintain.

In spite of my love of spontaneity, to maintain my sanity I am going to have to lay out a weekly and daily schedule. Weekends belong to the family. One day a week I can volunteer at school. Then the school/workdays have to be subdivided into household chores, errands, and work. If I can do this then I can greet the kids with a smile every afternoon and enjoy my time with them, without worrying about all the stuff I still have to get done.

I’ll have to say NO much more often so I can say YES to my life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. If I meet this resolution you will be hearing from me much more often in the New Year.


Barb, sfo said...

What you say here makes a LOT of sense. I am in the same boat as you in many ways: some volunteering at school (1/2 day a week), many extracurriculars for the 2 kids I still have at home, some freelance writing which needs to get done on a fairly regular basis, church choir, theatre, Cub Scouts, etc.
There are people (including relatives) who seem to enjoy guilt-tripping me into thinking that I shouldn't be "staying at home" now that my youngest is in 4th grade. Why should I feel guilty, though, that I am holding down the fort around here so that the things my family has decided are important can happen? What we do here--it is valuable. We are living a healthy family life. I know my family needs this!
I'd love to see a followup on this, to see how you're managing to set those boundaries. It's something I need to do as well.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Thank you so much for your feedback Barb. This is something that has really bothered me. Even if I wasn't working from home noone has a right to belittle the value of my time. I will definitely do a followup on this in January! Thanks for always reading and commenting.

Loren Christie said...

You are a great mother! Your points are very valid. I think when we look back on lives our biggest accomplishment will be our effort in motherhood. Thanks for coming over tonight and I'm sorry I haven't visited your blog lately. Love, Loren

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Thanks for a lovely evening! I've been bad about visiting blogs myself and obviously very bad at keeping up with my own blog but hopefully that will work itself out in 2012.