Exercise+, Day 16: Life Changes

February 3, 2009 at 12:33 am 1 comment

Today was a weird day.  Tuesdays usually are, actually, because we have music lessons in the morning, Livelessons around midday for both boys, and then Scouts around 3:00.  Used to be worse: right after Scouts came soccer practice, but that season’s obviously passed now.

What’s on my mind tonight isn’t strictly relevant to weight loss, but it is related enough thanks to Whiny Week last week that I’m going to go ahead and talk about it here.

One of the fundamental truths about my life is that I am ungodly busy.   There is sort of a prevailing attitude in the Suburban culture that Busy is Good.   Busy suggests popularity, industriousness, success, etc.  Inevitably, Christmas Letters describe at length how everyone in the household is staying busy.  People around us ‘complain’ about being busy the way one might ‘complain’ about having too big a house or too luxurious a car.  It’s not so much a legitimate complaint as it is a means of drawing attention to something they’re proud of.

Which isn’t to say that these people aren’t legitimately busy.  I’m sure they are.  I mean, *I* am.  When I sit down and think about all of the things I need to worry about in a given week, it sounds just overwhelming.  I have four children to clothe and feed and care for, I am homeschooling two of them, I have a home business, I run a MUCK game online, I have a house to keep clean, dinner to make, dishes to do, Handbell choir, Boy scouts, Basketball games, Basketball practices, Music Lessons, VBS, family obligations, and Facebook and Exercising and on and on and on.  Somewhere in there I’m supposed to find time to shower, shop, do laundry, answer the phone, and watch Law & Order (thank you, God, for giving us TiVo).  Written all out like that, it feels like it’s a wonder I have time to breathe!

Granted, a list like that ignores the fact that time exists so that everything doesn’t happen all at once (and space exists so that it doesn’t all happen to you).  It’s not as if I regularly am expected to do all of those things at the same time or even in the same day.  There have been moments where I could be caught teaching, cooking, cleaning, chatting online and talking on the phone with a website client before, but that’s about as many activities as I can cram into any given moment in time.  And happily, those moments are rare.

But time is still finite, sadly.  And I am just one person.  Therefore, there is only so much I can cram into my life on a regular basis and expect to be able to stay reasonably on top of my responsibilities.   Knowing those limits is important

When we started this whole 21-day thing, one of my biggest issues was the ‘I don’t have time’ argument.  It’s a pretty trite argument, easily countered with ‘If it’s important, you’ll MAKE time.’  But this past week’s Whiny Week experience has demonstrated to me that there is no such thing as ‘making time’ at this point in my life.  There is not a single moment in ANY day when there isn’t something I should be doing instead of whatever it is I happen to be doing, and when my attention is attracted by one thing, something else suffers.

So..when I’m being good about exercising, cooking healthy meals and keeping the kitchen clean, the kids are falling behind in their classes because the former takes up time and energy that would otherwise be funneled into keeping the boys on task.  When I’m doing well with school and work stuff, the house falls apart and NarniaMUCK begins to wonder where I went.   My life has honestly become a series of spinning plates and I have, quite honestly, reached the point where I’m not sure it really is POSSIBLE to keep them spinning even if I don’t take any time out of my day for myself EVER.

Which means its time to prioritize.  Insofar as I can.   Cooking and Exercise need to stay; that much is a given.  Happily I can exercise and do work/socialize online at the same time, so there’s no good reason to give up either.  I could let PCG go, I suppose, but I still believe I can make it a worthwhile endeavor and given how we’ve invested in it, it doesn’t seem right to just close it.

I could close down NarniaMUCK, or pass it off to someone else.  Problem is, if I do that, it will die.   Maybe it should; it takes up my time and it’s not like I’m getting paid for the work I do on it.  I consider going that route at least two or three times a year, and I just can’t bring myself to go that far.   Too many people would be affected, and I would miss my friends.

I could send the boys (and girl) back to Zion next year.   That’s a tough call, because that’s a serious expense.  However, the boys’ schooling is a huge time-eater, for obvious reasons.  I often feel that it comes down to a choice between MoVIP and PCG.   And that’s tough, because I’m into both for very good reasons, and I can’t decide which are more important to me.

So I’m doing a lot of thinking right now.   The easiest thing would be to put the kids back at Zion…    I don’t worry so much about the socialization issues there, and I can always pull one or both back out if something comes up; I’ve obviously proven I can homeschool them, after all.  But the cost is considerable, and none of us are sure we want to go that route.  Zack and Noah go back and forth on it; they sort of miss their friends but they like being home, too.  I love being so in touch with everything they’re doing, and I think I would miss that a lot if I sent them to school.

Unfortunately, if I want PCG to take off, I need time when the house is quiet so I can make phone calls and try to drum up advertising clients.  Right now, that just doesn’t happen; four children do not pull off ‘quiet’ easily under the best of circumstances, I’m afraid.  I am constantly apologizing to people I’m speaking with on the phone because Susanna comes running in at full-tilt, squealing at the top of her voice (which is really saying something in her case) because Noah glanced at her crossways.  No amount of scolding or training about Being Quiet While Mommy Is On The Phone has done much good; often they’re just being loud in the next room over and don’t realize I’m on the phone.  Not much I can do about that.

I don’t know… I am not happy with any of the alternatives before me.

120 minutes.  Check.  Time for bed.

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Entry filed under: Exercise, Successes. Tags: , , , , .

Exercise+, Day 15: Saying Goodbye to Whiny Week Exercise+, Day 17: Hard Decisions Made Harder!

1 Comment

  • 1. melalvai  |  February 4, 2009 at 7:56 am

    There’s generally an alternative(s) between giving up something completely and pursuing it avidly: pursuing it less avidly. PVC probably isn’t something you should give up on, but something you’ll have to do slowly until the kids are older.

    Similarly, some of the kids could be in school and some of them homeschooled. Noah & Zack both experienced Zion and homeschool and you have that knowledge to help you decide which is best for them, but Susanna hasn’t. Having one less kid for a few hours won’t give you the quiet time but it might help a little.

    I have quite the opposite problem right now. I’m teaching, doing research, writing papers and grants, vice-president of MoBikeFed, chair of a National Postdoc Assoc committee, and I jump at every opportunity to get in on anything else, because I simply get bored. My job is actually not keeping me busy enough, and I’m struggling to fill in the time with something other than housework and relaxing. I can only take so much relaxing. I keep feeling each time I take on another major commitment that I might be making a mistake because at some point it might all pile up into a huge unstoppable bulldozer, but so far that hasn’t happened.


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