I am a habitual over-committer. I can always find more to do until I make the Mad Hatter look like he’s on tranquilizers.
Of course, when you look at just my normal life, you would think I have a reason to be busy. I mean, I have five kids. Just keeping them all alive is almost a full-time job some days.
If one isn’t
- falling off her sister’s back (and breaking her elbow), or
- driving a jeep (toy, not full-size) over a sister’s foot, or
- performing a WWF move (which they’ve never seen in person),
Then one is
- failing a hearing test and requiring multiple ENT appointments to determine she’s almost deaf and needs months of therapy to recover a portion of her hearing, or
- fainting from a migraine while visiting a friend at a nursing home while her dad is out of the country, or
- suffering from severe eczema that covers 80% of her body, including her face, and doesn’t respond to any known lotion or medication.
And that doesn’t count the times I want to return them to the hospital for a full refund.
Parenting is hard work. No doubt about it.
Not only do I have five kids, I homeschool four of them. That means I’m with them approximately 8,000 hours a year. And not just in the same general vicinity, but in the very proximity of their person about 6-8 hours of the day while I teach them things like fractions and algebraic equations and the names of the countries on seven continents (North America is easy, but just try Africa or Asia for grins) and the difference between b and d. And I cycle through each grade FIVE times. Just imagine doing sixth grade over and over and over and over and over. Let’s just say my natural hair color has been missing for quite a few years.
In addition to this 40-hour a week job, I am self-employed. I work one day a week at client offices, another half-day remotely, in addition to being on call for various issues seven days a week. I don’t often get weekend or evening calls, but I sometimes do.
About now, I have approached crazy-woman status. There is so little time and energy left at this point, that you would think I’d never entertain the thought to add something else to my schedule. You would be wrong. I am just crazy enough to add in teaching co-op classes, blogging, planting a garden, cooking from scratch, caring for an elderly parent, and more. Much more some days.
Therefore, one of my NOT normal resolutions for this year is to do less, not more. I don’t intend to abdicate my parental responsibilities or ship my kids off to public school or feed my family frozen dinners or quit my job. But I do intend to work smarter, not harder.
- I can combine some of our subjects to streamline our school time. If we all study birds or the ocean or anatomy at the same time, we can cut a good 30 minutes of individual science studies. We can also do a fun group project each semester, like painting birdhouses. Same goes for geography and Bible, etc.
- Cooking from scratch is not only healthier, it’s more economical. Many hands make light work, so my girls can all help to various degrees, and even prepare a whole meal for easier recipes, like soups. Double recipes make double meals. Brownie points for Home Economics.
- I can help reduce our overall budge to require less extra income, thus allowing us to pay off more bills and save more money. I may never completely stop working, but my stress level will be greatly reduced if I’m not responsible for as much overhead.
- I can stop to enjoy the 8,000 hours a year of my time with my family. The years will pass quickly, and one day all of this chaos will be over. I’m afraid a quiet home will not be as serene as it sounds. I plan to laugh, tickle, kiss, hug, chase, photograph, talk to, read to, fight with, feed, and many more everyday, mundane activities. Such real-life interaction gives me and my family the love and security to weather life’s storms.
- I’m not going to worry about everything that doesn’t get done. I do what I can when I can. The rest can work itself out. No guilt.
In the world of over-commitment, less is more. How about you? What can you do less of?