Monday, November 08, 2010

Process of Simplification

They say life is about change, and I’ve had all the life I can handle in the last four months. In that time, my husband has changed careers and I’ve finally had to go back to work full time. I now clean houses 3 times a week, on top of my resume writing business. My husband’s new job keeps him out to really late hours, so on top of my new work I now have the morning and evening responsibilities for the kids alone on most days (can you say -- homework hell?).

Anyone reading this blog on a regular basis can probably guess that I don’t adapt very well. :) This has taken a lot of getting used to, and I spend a lot of days wishing I could go to bed and leave everything behind. There’s nothing like being overwhelmed already, then having children fight until bedtime, and refuse to stay in the bed without spankings, to leave you harried at the end of the day.

But though I don’t adapt quickly, I do eventually face things with a “might as well learn to cope” attitude. (Note I said: eventually) I’ve finally reached this stage with my new phase of life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch my breath long enough to see the best strategies for dealing with the chaos. Catch 22? So I came to a decision last week that my life had to slow down. If it wasn’t absolutely necessary, it wasn’t getting done. This was especially true for being on the road.

You see, I’m a goer. I practically live out of my car (as many soccer moms do, I’m sure, except my kids don’t play sports). But I’m always on the road to something. School, groceries, lunch, errands, writing stuff… there’s always some place to be. But in the midst of all that stuff, I’d lost the space to think, to breathe, to create. Something had to be done. I had to learn to say, gulp, NO.

Now, I make myself think twice before going anywhere. I’m even giving up my beloved “Write Out” for the time being. I’m limiting the amount of clients I take on to the ones I can comfortably fit in, and scheduling the rest into the next week if they want to wait. Right now, my focus has to be on working (to bring income to my family) and writing (to preserve my sanity and the one thing that is MINE). And by that I mean the actual writing, not writing-group related activities. The only exception is our local chapter meetings. Those days are my "treat", when I get to spend time with the Playfriends and lots of other friends and refresh my spirit and determination.

So tell me, have you figured out how to simplify? To create time in your life, rather than always spending it? If so, I’d love some advice. Otherwise, let’s discuss. :) I'm sure we could all use some "breathing" with the hectic holidays upon us.


Coming Soon!
The Playground has a birthday coming up! Next Monday, November 15, will be the Playground’s 5th birthday party. Join us for lots of fun and gifties, right here on the blog!

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M.V.Freeman said...

I understand where you are, in so many ways.

No is my favorite word and now I have a hard time saying yes!

But I agree...set up what is important to you and stand strong. Guard your time. Say No.

Remember to breathe. Appreciate the small things (even if its a glass of iced tea that tastes SO good!)
And know you have friends to support you! :)

Playground Monitor said...

Simplyfy? Normally I can say "No" quite easily, but the divorce and grief recovery group I've become involved with needed help badly so I've become more involved there (as in vice president). But it's such a needed service to folks who are hurting from divorce or death of a spouse (and I'm still benefitting from it as a participant) so I said yes.

Definitely stay strong and guard your time.

Maven Linda said...

I'm still learning how to say "no," but I'm much better at it than I used to be. Of course, I thought I was Superwoman who could take on any errand, any chore, any favor -- and then I found out I wasn't, and couldn't. So "no" is one of my favorite words now. I just wished I'd learned this something like thirty years ago.


Moderation. Delegation. Things I'm not good at.

susanwilson44 said...

Absolutely understand. Work full time and my kids have activities most nights. Some nights its nine o'clock before I've even taken my jacket off!
Think I need to learn from you x

Problem Child said...

I'm still digging out of my lat "yes" when I should have said "no." However, It's made it much easier this week to say no as the phone calls have been coming in as people start getting their holiday plans and parties together at school and church and such.

Evil and mean and bad? Sure. But maybe I'll get a nap eventually...

Angel said...

Thanks so much, MV! You've been awesome and talked me down off many a ledge. Without you, those partials would never have made it out the door.

PM, I'm learning to say no to things, so that I have the time and energy say yes to things that I really want. You've made a good choice.

Maven Linda, I'm praying I learn. I don't want to be taught this lesson again. :(

Ah, yes, Kelly. Delegation is something I'm working on too. As in, I'm not the only person who dirties up this house, so get off your butt and help me!!! :) I try not to give the kids too many chores during the week, because homework takes up a lot of time, but they have several that must be done on the weekend, along with their own laundry. I do it every Saturday, specifically so they can fold it!

Bless you, Susan! I have to admit, even if we had the money, my kids wouldn't have many outside activities. I have a very difficult time giving up those weeknights, and homework is a big thing for us. I'm selfish that way.

PC, you are not evil! You must protect the time!


catslady said...

It took me a long time to learn to say "no." I was always afraid of hurting anyone's feelings. That's one of the great advantages of old age - you do learn that word just like when you were two lol.

Katherine Bone said...

Hang in there, Angel! :D

Angel said...

Hahaha... so I'm going to turn back into a 2 year old? Actually, that might not be half bad. :)

Thanks, Kathy!