Monday, March 4, 2013


Proof that I chose the perfect title for this post is the fact that what you'll read here today took me more than two months to write. I wrote, I deleted. I established a tone, I changed it completely. I walked away, I came back. As each writing session came to an end I scrapped everything I'd done up to that point and seriously considered just posting pictures of Robert Pattinson.  I may do that anyway.

For as long as I can remember, my life has centered around a relatively small number of personal relationships, professional commitments, and opportunities for growth. My family and friends always made the list, but beyond these important people, there were usually only three or so additional "pulls" on my time and energy. Throughout my teenage years, school, soccer, and music topped the list. In my early-to-mid twenties, I focused on professional development and adjusting to married life. In my late twenties, my world revolved around having and raising babies and maintaining my professional connection to the American Red Cross. Life wasn't necessarily easy, but it also wasn't complicated.

Now in my thirties, that simpler, more-focused life layout has been replaced by a more complicated lifestyle.  I've taken on too much, but not in the way you might think.  I'm not stressed out (except when there are lizards in my house).  I'm not overwhelmed (except when Hallie's pitching a fit in the toy aisle at Target).  But I have too many irons in the fire.  I'm doing a whole heck of a lot and as a result I'm not doing any of it very well.  I allowed myself to be swept up into a whirlwind in which quantity trumps quality and that's not OK with me.

This problem seems easy enough to solve, right?  Just erase a few commitments off the list so that I'll have more time to spend on what remains.  Trouble is, I REALLY enjoy and want to continue with each and every thing on my list, which in the name of oversharing (which for me could be a commitment in and of itself), is below.

First there are the school commitments:
  • Member of the Rock Prairie Elementary School (RP) PTO.
  • Room mom for Will's kindergarten class.
  • Episodic volunteer for RP fundraisers and in Will's classroom.
  • Substitute teacher at School for Little People.
  • Room mom for Hallie's preschool class.
  • Episodic volunteer for SFLP fundraisers and in Hallie's classroom.
Then there are the sports commitments:
  • Team Ferris shuttle driver for karate, gymnastics, soccer, and baseball.
  • "Team Administrator" (I just gave myself that title) for baseball (Tom is coaching, and part of the deal was that he'd handle the hands-on baseball and I'd handle all of the behind-the-scenes business).
Next up, the writing commitments:
  • Midwestern Girl (which I post to five times each week)
  • Wiggles (our family blog, which I post to twice a week)
  • National American Red Cross blog
And then, the "other" commitments:
  • Volunteering for the local American Red Cross.
  • My overall physical and mental health (going to the gym, occasional date and girls nights, reading, singing, cooking and baking).
Please don't mistake my sharing this list as "bragging" about how busy I am.  I know I'm not that busy compared to many of you.  I know that I'm incredibly lucky to not have to work a 9-5 office job to support my family.  I know that I'm incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in my children's classrooms and at their schools.  I wrote this list because writing helps me process, and I shared this list because sharing holds me accountable and keeps me honest.

So what to cut?  Not the school activities - the administration and teachers need my help, my kids deserve my presence in their classrooms, and I really enjoy the opportunity to be involved in my kids' education.  Not the sports activities - my kids love these classes/teams, both are learning so much about teamwork and sportsmanship and commitment, and I absolutely love being a sports parent.  Not my writing commitments - writing is my passion, and now my job, so I couldn't possibly let it go. And last but not least, my "other" commitments - I could probably say farewell to volunteering for the local Red Cross (though not without jeopardizing one of my writing connections) but maintaining my mental and physical health is the one thing that keeps me sane through all the rest of it.

Now add into the mix that I want to do more...
  • I'm desperate to devote more time to my writing - and the technology and photography associated with it - in order to take this relatively new career of mine to the next level.
  • I would love to further develop my relationship with the local American Red Cross, specifically by connecting and eventually working more extensively with the American Red Cross Club at TAMU.
  • I hope this will be the year I take my physical fitness a step further and train to become a Group Fitness Instructor, and while I'm at it, I'd also like to train for a short running race with Will and for a sprint triathlon with Tom.
  • And lastly, I really want to start a book club.

I wish I could share with you how I plan to solve this problem.  I wish I KNEW how to solve this problem.  I wish I knew how to slow the whirlwind just long enough to sort through it all.  But I can't, and I don't, and I don't.  The best I can do today is to keep on keepin' on, promise myself that I will finish this year in a less frustrated and confused place than I started it, and to post pictures of Robert Pattinson.
Not bad for a discombobulated Monday, right?

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