Wednesday, March 28, 2012

White Space Balancing Act

So, I am realizing that I have a problem with over-booking myself. I mean a chronic problem. I'm not talking about double-booking either. I mean just plain putting too many things on the calendar each week.  I have heard from many people that creating white space on the calendar is one of the best things we homeschool moms need to do. It's really rather funny that this is an issue. I mean, after all, isn't lack of socialization a common reason non-homeschoolers list for why homeschooling wouldn't work for their kids? Right. I have yet to meet a homeschooler who has any problems in this area. The problem...is staying home!

The reason I feel the need to blog about this today is that we've just reached one of those "it will be good when" moments in our schedule. You know, "It will be good when ____ is over. We'll have more time for ___." You probably have those too. For several weeks I've been thinking how much more time I'll have to: write, work on my at-home business, and organize my house when CC (Classical Conversations) is over. We had our CC End-of-year Showcase last night. That means I should have all this free time to do all these other things. Well, now we're in Little League season. My calendar that was FULL of white space a couple weeks ago, is now filled with both daughters' softball practices and games and my son's baseball. I want my white space back!

Well, I really don't.

Growing up, I had all kinds of white space. I knew what it was like to be bored. I knew what it was like to be lonely. But, I also knew what it was like to have an imagination and find ways to enjoy being alone.

I had lots of time like that before I was married too. Those years of single life after college (AC) but before Dave (BD) were long! It was kind of a double-edged sword: I hated being alone so much, yet I enjoyed the opportunity to appreciate the quiet time.

Then, I got married. Nine months later we became a family of four. Twelve years later, I would truly love to be able to utter the words "lonely" or "bored"! I occasionally see people post those words on Facebook as if we're supposed to feel sorry for them. But, sorry, that just doesn't sound bad to me!

So now it is time to gain a fresh perspective. I don't want to wish away the busy times with my kids - they won't last. I also can't afford to put those other things on hold until the busy season of raising kids is through. I need ways to keep myself "in the zone" (that would be the: not too stressed, getting things done, yet still having some fun Mom zone).

Here are my initial thoughts on how to achieve this (let me know your techniques):
  • Make sure I'm always praying and talking plans over with Dave before they find a space on the calendar. I have gotten better in this area, but I know it needs to be an ALWAYS thing. I still have room for improvement here.
  • Get more sleep. I have got to start getting to bed earlier if I'm going to be Super Mom each day. I think just one more hour of sleep a night would help me feel more refreshed and ready to be productive each day.
  • Start working out in the AM. I am NOT a morning person. I would love to do just about anything as long as it happens after lunch. But, in my busy life, waiting until then to workout means that it might not happen (And lately...it hasn't.). I know how much more alert & focused I am when I've gotten in my exercise first thing in the morning. Time to stop making excuses and start "gettin' 'er done"!!
  • Schedule my alone time. Now this is what I really want to do, yet it seems to never happen. I have realized that this cannot be an occasional thing. I NEED this. Some people are fueled by their "people time". I am fueled by my "alone time." Knowing how much of my growing up years were spent alone, it's no wonder that this is part of who I am. Yet, it has disappeared over the last twelve years. I need it back. Now to just figure out how. And when. I think that's my personal homework assignment for this week. Where do you go to be alone? How often do you do it? I'd love to hear what works for you.
Well, it's about time to jump back into my Mom schedule. Stay tuned as I process this whole white space balancing act. It's definitely a re-occurring theme. Time to do some prayerful research and tweak the calendar a little bit. Oh, and I really want to completely re-arrange my office. Hmmm. I can tell there is a little more white space on the calendar...my creative juices are flowing again.

Until next time...be blessed!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ready, Set, Write!

Ahhh...a beautiful thing has transpired since my last post: another great season of homeschool basketball has come to an end.

I always know that basketball season is going to be busy.  I try to mentally prepare myself. I do truly enjoy all the people and the places it takes us. But, by the time we get through four months of twice a week practices (times two), 30+ games between the two teams, and one ultra-intense two-day tournament to finish it all off...it's time to take a break!

And, so we did. This basketball season was book-ended by a family vacation (on purpose). Shanty Creek before, and Florida after. The BEST vacation I get every year is when we head to Florida. There my Mom is waiting to spoil us rotten. Maybe me more than anyone. For one week, I don't have to worry about meal-planning, cooking, or even laundry. It's the best! Regardless of the weather, this trip is a hit.

So here I am now, all refreshed and relaxed. Looking at more white space on my calendar than I have seen since October. Suddenly, I can breathe. I can think past tomorrow. I have the energy to do more than just "survive" the rest of the school year. I feel good!

As life settles into a more comfortable pace, it's time for me to start focusing on a few things a little more. One of those is my writing. In June I'm attending a writing conference in Grand Rapids. I now feel this pressure to get some solid ideas and be ready to shine. But instead, I have too many ideas floating around in my head with no real sense of direction.

Here's what I already know: it's time to shut out more of the world, and immerse myself in the Word. Facebook has to be a rarity. God's Book has to be my constant.

God has a lot to say. It's best I pay attention!

So...I hope you'll hear more from me on here as I spend less time caring about who's doing what elsewhere. If you think of it, could you pray for my writing/studying time over the next three months? Thanks in advance if you do.

See you soon...