Thursday, April 06, 2006

Balancing Act

Balancing life, work, children, home, and school is like a sad clown juggling act. The idea of multi-tasking is intriguing and seems do-able. When you look at my life from the outside, I have it made. I love most of what I do for work (the creation, planning, and design of web sites and business images). I get to work from my home and set my own hours(most of the time). I get to interact with the outside world. And the extra money is useful and fun to have. All this, and I still get to have and teach my children at home and live on a farm.

I can keep all the juggling pins in the air most of the time. The problems arise when everybody needs me at once -- phone ringing, e-mail beeping, children calling, and husband wondering if I left the relationship. I feel torn. I know my children need me and want time with me that is not school time and when I am not sitting in front of the computer or in the garden. I know the home would function better if I could learn to say no to a few outside activities. I know I could do a better job at everything if I would drop almost half of what I do. So what stops me?

I don't know! Every morning I get up and start tossing. Nothing seems scheduled, though there is a semblance of a plan. I grab and toss anything that comes toward me. Chickens are hungry so I open the gate and clean the water. Horse follows me because he wants his treat so I give him oats. Twenty people e-mail for tiller information or broken links so I answer the e-mail and repair my oversights. Children wake up hungry so I feed them. Children need to learn so I introduce material. Phone rings and a POS network is down at my family's store so I get the children in the car, drive to the store and repair the problem. Daughter has added rehearsals for show so we drop everything and drive hour and a half for a rehearsal. Weeds have grown in the garden so I pull them. My husband needs his accounting done and expects me to do it and I do it. Everything done is reactionary. And, I can react with the best of juggling clowns.

The problem is that I see how fruitless this juggling act is. I know how sad, but funny, I look trying to keep everything going. I don't want my children to learn to be like this. I want to stop. Yet, I never do. I gave notice to one of my least rewarding (financially and creatively) jobs a few months ago. They haven't found a replacement or to my knowledge haven't even looked and I continue to do the work. I have read at least 50 organization, home management books and know about all these wonderful plans, but in order to implement any of these plans you must stop juggling, let the pins drop, and do some self analyzation. Maybe this is the problem.

I just can't bear to let anything drop.


RedMolly said...

Wonderful post--and I hear you loud and clear. (And I don't even have the "living on a farm" excuse for how little in control of my time I am!)

Do you ever wish you could just take a week off to regain control?

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