Friday, August 22, 2008

Scaling Back

One of the greatest things about being a mom of school-age kids is that you get to do the New Year's Resolution thing 3 times. For me, the start of a new school year is about as blank slate as you can get. So here I sit starting 180 days in the face and trying to re-vamp yet again. What do I want to do this fall? How do I want things to go? What are my goals? Why do I think in Dr Phil's voice? I have literally lost sleep trying to organize my thoughts and plans. I struggled with answering the questions "What do I want our family to be like? How do I get there? What is standing in the way that can be altered?" Here's what Dr Phil's voice said.

1. I want our home to be warm and peaceful. Not necessarily quiet but peaceful.
2. I want our house to be organized and have routines that are well-run.
3. I want our marriage to be strong and to work with our personalities and not try to be the couple we are not.
4. I want our kids to love being at home and want to bring their friends here.
5. I want to parent my kids not just react to them.

So now that I figured out what I want I needed to figure out how to get there and what was blocking it. I have come to this stunning conclusion. I have too much on my plate. Many are great and wonderful things. Church things. Things other moms can easily do without disruption to their families. Things I enjoy. These are things that are keeping me from being the mom I want to be. One example? Feeding these people. I love to cook and nutrition is a passion of mine. (As is double cheeseburgers but that's another post!) I rarely cook a big meal b/c I am so busy doing A, B or C that I'm too tired or we get home just in time to throw a pizza in the oven. Some things can't budge. Tim's work schedule has no flexibility. The kids have to go to school. So what goes? Everything else that I don't love. That leaves Ebay and Bible study. I love doing Ebay. It provides me a "thing" that is all my own and lets me shop! It also covers a big chunk of our tuition so Ebay will continue! My Tuesday Bible study at church is also great. I love the study and time with grown-ups. Everything else? Gone. I need to be at home. Period. I can not accomplish the goals I want by doing 700 other things at once. While driving.

So as we start this new school year I have to be prepared to say "No." "I'm sorry, but now isn't a good time for me." "Thanks for thinking of me, but I really have to pass." While I understand lots of other moms can do 700 things at once and do them well, I can't. I'm done trying.


Kary said...

Soooo. . .does this mean you can't meet me at Chili's tonight???? At least I will see you at Tuesday Bible study.
BTW~I think you are a totally awesome mom.

Jen said...

Meeting at Chili's is a "love." It stays. :-)

Tena said...

I want to go to Chili's. I also want to do your Ebay thing - you rock! I'm already doing a Tuesday morning Bible study so I guess we've got that covered. You go girl!! You can do it.

Mommy Brain said...

Great post...makes me wonder about those things too now. I love the question, "What do I want?" Seems simple but it's not. If you figure out warm and peaceful, will you post about that too? That's a goal I've been trying to reach for a long time. Great post Jen!

Oh, and never ever get rid of girlfriend time. That is definitely a love.

i am not said...

I have this ongoing conversation in my mind always. I never seem to get the answers written down... summer has been difficult for me to organize these thoughts at all. One thing that we have decided to do in this regard, though, is to get rid of our tv for the month of September. Gasp!!! We are going to put it down in the basement for the whole month and see what kind of affect it has on our family and make further decisions after that.

I'm worried that Kim will no longer be my friend, though:)

Ann(ie) said...

You're smart. I have one kid and I work FT and about the second he exited the womb I decided that it's time to start saying no more to preserve my sanity. But, YES hang on to girly time dearly!!! Also a sanity saver. xo.