Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The big O

No...not that one. I'm talking about overcommitment. I think I've overcommited my schedule this Fall. And that's a sad, sad, thing to realize when you're right in the middle of it, or you are the type of personality that needs lots of open time, down time, dead time, nothing time...whatever you want to name it.

Karey Swan of the wonderful book Hearth and Home, speaks of a stitchery she once saw that said:

If a mother's place is in the home, then why am I forever in the car?


I really do think, regardless of your personality, be it introverted, extroverted, planning, laissez-faire...whatever...that children and moms need to remain home for long stretches of time as Karey says, to "get beyond the urgent or simple maintainence [sic], even...to be creative." Her secret to creative homemaking is staying out of the car. I think about that a lot.

I also often think about I Thessalonians 4:11-12:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders, and not be in any need."


In need of a home school swim class? Maybe not that, but yes...fellowship. Violin lessons? Women's bible study? Just where should the lines be drawn in a family that tries to protect its lifestyle.....and it's mama's sanity. Oh, I definitely don't have the answers...just musing!

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my busiest days...I try to cram it all into those two days, so I'm at home the other days. I actually think it's pretty reasonable, but those days are so tiring!! Perhaps I need to cut out something--one thing might make all the difference....whittle and whittle. An aspect of the simple life I am trying to learn...gladly!

Honestly, who are we (and me) trying to please? And what are our ideals? Are we looking in the wrong mirrors? as Karey says. Are we getting substitute images for reality? Do we believe that the woman's place is really in the home?

So, as I'm about to head up for my soak in the bath (ahh, the lovely bath--it's just calling my name!), I'll think about ways to simplify and prioritize my days.....again. This hasn't been the first time. It's that quest for balance, the search for balance in all things. After all, my hand does rock the cradle. I need to be on top of my game any way I can!

It seems I'm not the only one lamenting a busy schedule. Katherine's also had a busy week.

18 comments:

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Girl, you are at the very HEART of where we are. We decided to do our family sabbatical because of stressed out schedules. I absolutely hate being busy all the time. I used to be the typical suburban mom--tons of activities for each kid, a minivan on the go all the time, rush rush rush here and there.

Now we only do 1 activity at a time. the girls dance. Reece will do tee ball in the spring. That is it. We do as much as possible TOGETHER as a family. I also try to schedule a day a week at home where we do nothing and maybe even stay in pj's all day.

trust me, we're all better for it. I know we all have this fear within us that if we don't do art class, music lessons and whatever that our children will not be well-rounded enough. Homeschoolers seem to have double that fear, because we need our kids to get what they're "missing" by not going to a formal school setting.

In the end, we overdo it.

Sometimes we need to just BE.

Jana said...

I, too, need lots of down time. A lot. Most of the time, it feels like a bad thing that I don't have a vehicle. But after reading your post, I'm reminded again that it has it's advantages. I can't sign my kids up for lessons or take them all over town. We stay home unless we can walk. I love it. Usually, the only places we walk to are the park, which to me, IS a place to relax. I've learned a lot about what I used to think were necessities that are so NOT needed. Not having a car has saved me A LOT of money, a lot of busy-ness, and a lot of stress and other stuff - in more ways than one. It was a FORCED thing, but one I'm now grateful for.

Goodlikeamedicine said...

You know, I struggle so much with this. And my children are not even in school yet!

I think the more kids I have (and we do pray to have more than our three), the harder it will be to stay at home as much as possible.

I don't have the answers either.... but I agree. This is a challenge we must face and fight hard if we are to stay loyal to our goals and priorities! I just wrote an article on it recently concerning "keeping it simple with little ones" and stated that "staying at home as much as possible" is one of the biggest factors to peace in home life!

To answer you - I think we try to impress whoever we think needs our help the most... often to the detriment (even indirectly) of our kids and their structure. I did it just a month ago and now am excited about November coming so I can again have that morning at home again....

tonia said...

I agree! Even with teens now, I think it is so important to keep the "going" to a minimum. I shudder when I listen to the crazy schedules my kids' teammates and friends keep. Insane!!

We are talking about going to one car in a couple of months. I guess I'll be staying home A LOT then! :) Remind me that's a good thing.

Beverly said...

I struggle with over commitment. I don't have multiple kids right now that need to go multiple places, but I stll need to learn to say no. When Lena was pretty young, I realized that I needed to stay home more. She's been much more settled and peaceful since then. It is so hard to prioritize -- I think we all struggle with that.

Brenda said...

Oh, I want to be home too but this certainly hasn't been the week for it! When we are too busy, everyone's sleep schedules are thrown off. The little one falls asleep late in the afternoon in the car and is then up until 10:00 at night. Which causes even more stress.
I think it was you who first told me about that quote from Karey. I have thought about that a lot. Sometimes I'm too busy to get the basics done, much less be creative.
I will be thinking on this too...

Terry said...

Andrea, when you have kids, some days will indeed be busier than others. There's no way around it. It sounds to me like you've done a pretty good job of setting boundaries and priorities if you only have two days a week that are really hectic. You're right about one thing: we have to actively guard our family time because it is so easy to give in to the tyranny of the "shoulds". Should I do this? Should I allow my daughter to be involved in that? A couple of years ago we a 6 month period where I was rushing about every night of the week. When those commitments ended I vowed to never again allow so much of our time to be controlled by outside interests. It's made all the difference.

L.L. Barkat said...

Your "this year" sounds like my "last year". It has changed everything now that I scheduled violin and piano lessons for two days AFTER our bible study. I'm still out two days a week, but having that day off in between has made all the difference.

anya* said...

well said. last week i was so done. we stayed home all week and cleaned, played, baked (even some of your pumpkin muffins:)), and just stayed put. why is that so hard? i had an over committed last few months and i could tell my boys needed me more- at least more quality time with me, not time rushing to 15 play dates and unneccesary trips to target and costco.
and you know who i think appreciated it the most? my husband.

Anonymous said...

Andrea- We have also tried to keep things simple and have found a lot of the same struggles you have mentioned. I find myself much more relaxed and a better mom/wife when I am not trying to always be so "busy". You are not alone! :)
love to your family!
Ami

Kendra said...

Yes, I've tried to have this discussion with my husband, too. So far, our two oldest are the only ones with activities. And, those are limited to one at a time. But, that line is so hard to find! If all of my kids end up wanting to play soccer some day we could potentially end up with no evenings at home!
Maybe, we should just stay home and play soccer in the backyard, or is that being isolationist? I dunno.

Sarah said...

Isn't this the everpresent dilemma of motherhood! Either we're feeling undercommitted or overcommited, too much or not enough. It always brings me back to the book, "Captivating", highly recommend it. I'm in a season, with young children, where I feel homebound most of the time, itching to get out of the house, no fenced in yard yet. But thank you for the reminder that the simple life, our life at home, can be oh so rich. Keep pressing on sister, you'll find that balance.
Sorry it's been forever since I've commented. I've still been reading all your posts and am ALWAYS encouraged or challenged by them.
Love, Sarah

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I've had seasons of overcommitment myself, but they were usually things I couldn't get out of (or a commitment that I didn't want to break). So, I endure the season, and then reevaluate. This year I cut out two things, and it's been nice. We still have busy days, but I feel like it's manageable.

I do think that cramming it all in is good. For me I find that the stress creeps in if I don't have at least one full day at home somewhere in the week.

Andrea said...

Thanks for all your input, everyone. I love hearing everyone's responses.

L.L.--I like the idea of spacing busy days. So then you have a day to "re-coup". Something to think about.

Anya--Isn't that so true...when we are more relaxed our husbands do benefit and appreciate it. Great point.

Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

Violin lessons! Yes! Absolutely! A plus, if not necessarly a must. ;)

Look at all these neat new people in your comment section! I must go surfing...

Elise said...

I'm still praying for you...

Even in your business, you manage to clarify your thoughts so beautifully, Andrea... I love that about you! :)

Trina said...

Andrea, you must be reading my mind. I go through these thoughts and reevaluation every 6 weeks or so! I'm definitely one of those people who don't function well on a overly busy schedule. I'm continually having to say no to more and more "great" opportunities (even Bible Studies at church). Many people don't understand the limits that we place on our lives to function best, but we have to continually do what is best for our family over doing what other people are doing or think we should be doing. Easy right? Dont't I wish!
One verse that always encourages me in creating healthy boundaries is 1 Corth 6:12. Check it out

Mindy said...

I too am overcommitted this fall and am sad about it. I like the question and cannot be reminded enough, "who are we trying to please?" uggh, I have decided to finish out my commitments and drop a few things in the spring.