Wednesday, February 27, 2013

life on the hamster wheel

In our early life as a family, I always prided myself on successfully avoiding "overscheduling."  We had lots of downtime, and I loved it most of the time, barring the occasional case of cabin fever during the winter.  Currently, despite not having changed much in our approach, I feel like the BUSYness of American life has found us.  I feel like I am constantly telling the boys to DO something.  Part of it might be down to little boys with jumpy, distracted minds.  It seems to take them forever to complete tasks.  I'm sure it's normal, but it adds to the time that I have to be nagging them, which I hate.

Before school we are rushing to get fed, dressed, gather things, get out the door.

After school we are rushing to do homework, do chores, and practice piano.

On Saturdays we are rushing to practice piano, catch up on housework, make a dent in the laundry, sometimes rushing to get to a fun activity in the city or elsewhere.... but always pushing the boys to get ready, move faster, do this so we can do that, etc.

On Sundays we are rushing to get to church, get the grocery shopping done, make sure everything is in place for the next week, and then the whole thing starts over.

When the boys walk in the door from school, they want nothing more than to have a snack and read books.  They would happily sit and read for a good hour, and I would love nothing more than to let them do that.  But no, it doesn't seem possible.  Too many things to do, too much to accomplish in the few hours between school and dinnertime/bedtime.

I think about other families, and how they are surely twice as busy as we are, with sports and other commitments.  Aside from the occasional after school class, we don't do anything extra, and we still struggle to get it all done.  I wonder if I have a lower threshold for stress than other people, or if I'm just not used to it because we are relatively new to this busy chapter of life.

In the midst of all this GO GO GO, I have so many goals for myself....  I want to harness my creativity and make awesome stuff, I want to be more loving, patient, and kind, I want to lose weight, etc.  I think they are worthy goals, but they feel impossible when the days are spent quickly moving from one thing to the next.  And that is discouraging.  A hectic, stressful life is not conducive to being one's best self.  At least for me it's not.

I'm trying to think outside the box, and figure out how to slow down to a pace that is more comfortable.  Sometimes I wonder whether homeschooling would make life less frantic for us.  Homeschooling!  Me!  I know!  I don't think I'll go down that path for real, but just the fact that I'm sort of daydreaming about it should tell you how bad things have gotten!  The one thing I've decided on so far is that we will cut down on chores.  I think it's important for the boys to know how to do basic housekeeping, but I guess we can practice those skills 3 days a week instead of 6.  Other than that I'm flummoxed.  Homework is obviously decided by someone else.  Frequent piano practice is a must in my mind because as long as we pay for the lessons, I want the boys to be making progress.

I'm not sure what else to do.  Do I need to just grin and bear it?  Do I need to adapt the ol' "whistle while you work" mantra into "smile while you nag?"  That will be a tall order for me, as I hate to rush around and I hate to nag my boys to death.  I just don't have any other tricks up my sleeve for getting all this stuff done.  BIG SIGH.  Can anyone relate to this unpleasant feeling of busyness?  Any tricks of the trade to share with me?

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Laura, FOB here (friend of Bonnie). Thank you for your sweet comment about the HP party. It was work but a total blast. I loved your post and drew a great deal of inspiration from it. From one party loving momma to another, thank you!

As I read this reflection you wrote, I understand. I always feel like we're running from one thing to the next. We do abide by the one activity/kid per season rule and while that helps some, life is just busy and I don't think we're all that involved! I've found three things to be extremely helpful: I have a chore checklist for each of the kids and they're required to do it each day. It's not major stuff, but it helps me and gives them responsibilities. We call them COH duties - citizen of the household. Second, we lay out things the night before - from lunches to clothes to assignments, what have you. The kids have pegs where they hang their backpacks/jackets and it greatly reduces the "I can't find my {fill in the blank}" because they put things in the same place everytime. And, we recently starting enforcing the love & logic tone of parenting. It's a book (I just finished the class) and it comes with a heavy dose of love while letting the consequences teach the lesson. I've done significantly less yelling because I've stopped taking ownership of my kids problems and I'm refusing to engage in arguments with them. What a lifesaver.

Hope all that rambling helps!