A time to have no time

In the past four weeks, I've been to five Girl Scout events, not including regular troop meetings AND leaders' meetings. When I'm not at a Girl Scout event, I'm preparing for the next one. I'm sending emails to parents, collecting money for field trips, buying craft supplies, and researching service projects.

When I'm not dealing with Girl Scouts, I'm dealing with school. I'm at PTO meetings, or organizing teacher's breakfasts, or buying canned goods for the Thanksgiving food drive. Or I'm helping with homework, or signing homework agendas or behavior charts, or sorting through the piles and piles of paper that come home every week.

When I'm not dealing with school, I'm taking the kids to the pool, or the park, or trying to arrange playdates or slumber parties. Or I'm making muffins for the week's breakfast, or cookies for the week's desserts, or endlessly washing the little plastic containers I send back and forth each day full of goldfish or pretzels for snacks.

When I want to buy a new pair of shoes, or contribute to the NPR pledge drive, or go to the eye doctor for a new pair of glasses, I remember that this month Phoebe has to have some cavities filled, and that money is due for the school fundraiser, and Mallory has outgrown her PE uniform (again).

I'm not doing any of these things because I particularly enjoy them. I'm not doing them so people will think I'm mom of the year, either, although a couple of people have said they don't know how I do what I do AND work full time too. The fact is I think I'm doing a pretty half-assed job most of the time, which just kind of adds to the stress level.

What helps me -- when I reflect that really, all I want out of life is to be left alone and allowed to sit on the couch and read, with a Diet Coke close to hand -- is to remember that this is not forever. For every thing there is a season, and this happens to be my season right now: Having young children, being involved in what matters to them, spending time (and money) on things that will, I hope, help them grow into good people. In ten or twelve years, my season will change, and my priorities can shift. I'm not sure I'll miss all this, once it's over. My hope is that I'll be able to look back without regret.

And if my kids ever tell me that I never did anything for them, well, I'll know that they're wrong.


H Noble said...

Great perspective! I try to think similarly when Eli throws all the pillows off of my bed (again) or gets Oreo crumbs in my couch or leaves his little toys all over the place. Someday I'll wish for those things and it will be too late. Thank you!

aimee said...

You are incredibly busy and an incredible mom. If you ever feel like enough is enough, just move. I know I'll get busy like I was before soon enough, but right now I'm enjoying laying low. :)

Karen said...

I can honestly say that I do not miss the "busyness" of having children - of any age - in my daily life. I think that - looiing back - I did enjoy many of the things that I did with all of you, but I totally understand about the half-assed part. Nothing was ever done quite as well or as thoroughly as it could have been. And the juggling of children and husband and work and events was somewhat stressful. However, I do not think that anyone suffered long-lasting effects from that, or if anyone did, they haven't bothered to share that with me. And I can also honestly say that the next ten years will go by quickly. You will look up one day and wonder what happened!

Anonymous said...

no wonder I'm about half goofy--I was juggled for 20 yrs.

Chris said...

You can juggle me all you want dear, as long as you don't drop me!

Anonymous said...

I am glad that I am not the only one who feels like this...and I don't even have children!