How do you achieve it?
I feel like there is just never enough time to do everything I need and want to do. I keep looking at my life in my head and wondering what I can cut out.
The Town Book Club? I’d rather not. It’s my only connection to this little town, I enjoy the social interaction, and it is the freaking only place I can go that isn’t at least a 20 minute drive. I can’t put into words how refreshing it is to have somewhere to go in the evening that doesn’t involve prolonged trips through corn and wheat fields.
The Church Book Club? Again, I’d rather not. I enjoy the social interaction and being able to discuss books with others who approach a lot of themes with a similar perspective. Plus, it’s how I make friends.
Homeschool? Let’s face it, if three of my children were gone most of the day things would be much more manageable around here. That, however, brings me to another question:
How much time do you other homeschooling moms actually spend doing school with your older kids? Because, honestly, me? Not so much. If they have a question about something I explain it to them. If they have an assignment that needs checked I check it (but they can check lots of their work on line or in the teacher guides that come with the curriculum). If they need help setting up a science lab I help them. Other than that, they pretty much do their work on their own, and this causes me no small amount of guilt. However, they are learning what they need to be learning (I do keep track of what assessments they are passing, which is almost all of them), and I have no idea how I would actively present each lesson to each child when I have three children working on three different grade levels. So, what do you all do? Should I be feeling all this guilt? And please don’t misunderstand, it’s not like I don’t interact with the older kids at all, because I do. They frequently come to me throughout the day, and if they haven’t asked for help lately I ask them if I can help in any way, all while I am doing very hands-on teaching with Midge, who is doing kindergarten, and trying to keep the baby alive and Tank Boy happy. It is chaotic at times.
Anyway, back to wondering what I can cut out.
Homeschool? At times this seems like the most logical choice as far as freeing up my time, but I still am not convinced it is what is best for them.
House Cleaning? Well, it’s not like I’ve ever been one to devote lots of time to that in the first place, so I don’t see how I could possibly cut down on it, unless we hire someone, which we aren’t doing.
Which brings me to the final thing that eats up a large portion of my time:
The computer? I’ll admit it, I’m an addict. First thing every morning I check my email accounts and my blog. If I’ve been out somewhere, the first thing I do upon returning is check my email and blog. Throughout the day I am reading blogs and checking news and checking email and, yes, checking my blog. What can I say? I love the comments. Plus, after years of being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, blogging is the one thing that has really helped me feel not so isolated from the rest of the world.
I keep thinking maybe I can just cut down on the number of blogs I read, but wow! How to decide which ones to drop??
So I’ve been pondering this and pondering this for quite a while, realizing that something has to give so that I can fit in the things I need to fit in but haven’t been (regular scripture reading, more book reading (I have a stack almost as tall as I am of books I want to read, have bought so that I can read, but haven’t read yet), researching for the book my friend R~ and I want to write, etc.); and as I’ve been pondering this I’ve thought repeatedly about a lesson I’ve both seen and taught at church many times.
My Mormon friends will probably recognize this one: You get a jar of some kind, some large rocks (like a-bit- smaller-than-an-egg sized), some pebbles, and some sand. The jar is your life. The large rocks are the most important things in it. The pebbles are the other important, though less so things, and the sand is the stuff that is fun but not really a priority.
If you put the sand in the jar first you won’t be able to get everything to fit. If you put the pebbles in the jar first, you’ll be able to make more fit, but still not everything. If you put the larger rocks in the jar first, then the pebbles, then the sand, it will all fit. The pebbles will naturally fall into spaces around the larger rocks, and the sand will fill up the rest of the space, if it goes in last.
So rather than just cutting things out, first I need to try prioritizing.
If I’m being totally honest with myself, most of the time (not all, but most) that I spend in front of the computer is sand.
The plan for now is to spend some time making a list of things I should be doing, want to be doing, and actually am doing, and then prioritize everything. Once that is done, I need to give myself some boundaries, like “No blog reading until I’ve done a., b. and c.” or “No email checking until after I’ve done this, that, and the other.” You get the picture.
That is the plan, but still, what do you do? How do you manage, or at least try to manage everything? And, most importantly, am I the only obsessive email checker out there?
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.