Too busy… reflections and solutions for my life-in-this-moment.
It’s been a long time since I’ve put up an about me post. Today seems like a good day for that. Lately I’ve been reflecting on how busy I have been and how I can’t ever seem to get back to anyone by the time I’ve told them. I read somewhere recently, on a blog post that I should have bookmarked because I can’t find it now. (Update: Reece reminded me that I found it here. Still can’t find the actual post though, sorry.) But anyhow – it was reminding me that being busy is a choice.
It is a choice… yes, but of course there are so many things I “have to do”. Spending quality time with my husband and my kids, doing the laundry and cleaning the bathrooms (and showers, my least favorite!). And we need to eat, and of course I absolutely LOVE blogging here. And sewing… and a zillion projects I want to do. So I have decided to try to start choosing to be more intentional. So often I get an idea in my head and go out and buy supplies right away… and then it sits. For years sometimes. Until it gets used for it’s intended purpose. For some reason I think I should have time to finish the 4 dresses, dress shirt for my husband and new t-shirts for me with the 7 free shirt patterns I have currently on my wait list – all in one week. But of course that is impossible and I feel guilty for ignoring/displacing all of the above important quality time with my family because I tried to finish my “list”.
I don’t and haven’t ever paid much attention to our house. It definitely needs to be cleaned more often – but it is tidy, and my (wonderful) friends assure me that since my husband and I work from home, we make it dirtier than someone who’s family is away during most days. So, I’ve tried to remember that and not feel so bad! I also heard on the radio that due to a change in values, families (specifically mothers) actually spend more quality time with their kids than in the mid-to-late 1900′s – so, if you think you are doing a bad job, you are trying to live up to an ideal that is not actually true. (Hooray!) Apparently “back then” priorities dictated that mothers should provide a super-clean home and wonderful meals and so they would send their kids out to play so they could accomplish that. Now, apparently, we have dirty homes, but we spend enormous amounts of time with our kids.
Adding to the busyness, I’ve often felt helpless against the barrage of ideas that live constantly in my head. I can never accomplish them, but I haven’t been able to tame the guilt caused by not following up on them all, especially if I’ve already purchased supplies. I’ve even had a few conversations with my husband about what it would be like to not be creative, and that my life would be so much simpler. And then I’ve taken it back. Because I can’t imagine ever not-creating something.
One thing that has led to me trying to slow down is that I’m a bit apprehensive about this summer. Both of my kids will be home most days in July and August with “nothing” to do. Of course we have vacation and weekends and other things planned – but school and pre-school have been life-savers for me, since I produce much of this blog’s content while they are away from home or in the evening. I have a great group of supportive friends and grandparents around me that have offered to have the kids over if I’m busy. I am so fortunate to have them! But, this is my youngest’s last summer before full-day kindergarten begins and I’m super-emotional about her going, so I want to prioritize our time before she isn’t home as much.
Solutions? And I think these are actually do-able…
- Turn our dining room into a little sewing studio until September. (With the approval of my husband, who is so supportive of my work. I’m so fortunate!) I’m trying to keep 1 or 2 projects in this area and making a good effort to put things away in my sewing room as I go. This way I can be around while the kids are playing, and I can see them in the backyard as well.
- Plan adventures for my kids. I’m going to tape 9 giant weekly calendars to our wall – despite the fact that our main floor will start to resemble a badly decorated dorm room! We will pencil in our plans and decorate it with drawings and paste photos on the date of each event so they know what’s going to happen. I think being excited about something is half the fun of enjoying it and I hope to do that for my kids.
- Organize all of my projects into bags. As much as I want not to create plastic waste – those large resealable bags are so useful. I think this will stop me from feeling overwhelmed by the large pile of unfinished/un-started projects in my sewing area.
- Change my sewing process. Having everything organized allows me to be able to cut out a pattern, pin part of a project together, or do any other prep work, more easily and quickly. There are lots of times when I’ve left mending on our kitchen counter ready to go and had a minute to finish it up. I find when everything is organized I can concentrate on doing something, rather than thinking about how I feel like I never do anything (which leads to more of me not doing anything!)
- Ask myself regularly if the project I feel like I “need” to do is really necessary. And more than that – what it will displace if I prioritize it. I find a lot of projects I take on look like a lot of fun, but could wait if I was a bit more patient.
- Spend a few minutes cleaning something every morning and evening. That is when I “feel” like cleaning anyhow – so I may as well go with it! I don’t know about you but I feel like super-mom when the counter is empty of dishes, but I rarely take the time to finish them. It’s amazing how much this helps my outlook on the day (pre-coffee even!) when I come downstairs in the morning.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way because I’m learning more and more that I’m not alone. Everyone I’ve talked to with any creative impulse at all seems to be dealing with the same issues and feelings. I’d love it if everyone would share their tips on how to deal with the busyness of life and still come out on top. Even a little thing, because every little bit counts. We can, slowly maybe – but steadily and surely!
How are you doing today?