Torn

Yep.  It’s been almost a month to the day that I was last here.  Whoa, right?  And so as I begin, I feel like I should warn you now–this might turn into a real-life post, not one of those typical “here’s-what-we-did-and-here’s-why” kind of thing that you usually see around here.  I think I’m about to get real honest.  But don’t worry.  I’ll keep it clean.  There are kids around here, after all (well, and I guess if you really know me, I’d keep it clean anyway. 🙂 )!

So here’s the thing…right now I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions.  All of them good directions, mind you, but different nonetheless.  And me being me, I want to do my absolute best at all of them.  And so…I’m torn.  What’s the most important thing?  How do I manage my time and resources to have time for that thing?  And then  how do I decide what that thing is?  Priorities are hard for me.  To me, they’re all important things.

In this season of life, I find myself being a wife, mother, teacher, grad student, blogger, ball juggler, plate-in-the-air-keeper, friend, daughter, and probably lots of other things I can’t even think of (because that list is already so long)!  And like I said, it is in my genes to want to do the best possible job I can in all of those things.  But that’s so hard!  Case in point: this blog.  Poor neglected blog.  Blog that I love. But because I’ve been working like crazy to do a great job at the other things on the list, the “blogger” part of me has been moved down the list of importance.  Also insert the fact that there is often just enough time to actually do the things I want to write about, and then no time to do the writing about those things!  I have at least 10 blog posts waiting to be written, pictures to accompany them, and loads of fabulous stories of the amazing things happening in my classroom right now, but again–where do I find time to tell you about them?  Probably the hardest part of this scenario is that besides writing for you, I write for myself–it’s like therapy, you know?–and so that part is missing for me right now, too.  But…I’m torn.  What has to give for that time to be made?  I can’t choose not to be a mom.  I can’t choose not to finish the homework for my school law class on time.  I can’t not get the plans ready for tomorrow at school.

I know what you’re thinking: stop whining.  Figure out how to make it all work in the time that you have.  Take some things off your plate.  Heck, you might even tell me to sleep less so I have more hours in my day (although, I hope that’s not your answer, because I’m really tired right now!).

But really–how do you make it all work?  How do you find time to do all the things you need (and want) to do without really just feeling like you’re doing  a crummy job at them all (and I’m really asking here, so hopefully you’re compiling the answer you’re going to leave me in the comments in a second when you’re done reading this)?  I want to work less, but when there’s a meeting before school, at plan and after school more days than not in a week, I have to bring my work home in order for it to get done.  But once I get home, I obviously want (and need) to be a wife and mom–dinner has to be made (as well as lunches for the next day), dishes and laundry have to be done, and if I’m lucky I will find time to snuggle with my favorite 2YO before she scoots off to bed at 7 and read with my favorite 1st grader before he’s asleep at 7:30.

Alright….I have lots of other things tumbling around in my brain right now, but every time I start to write them they seem like I’m just complaining–which is really the last thing I want to do.  Because really I don’t find any of this troubling in itself; many of the things on my list of “busyness” are things I do by choice.  I just want to find a way to do them all well, so that I don’t look back in the years to come and regret anything.  I don’t want to miss anything along the way or let anyone down….and so, I’m torn.  Is it possible to have it all?

I’m going to ask again, just so we’re clear that I want some feedback here (does it help if I say “please?”): How do you find the time to fit all the things you want and need to do into the time you have?  What structures do you have in place to help you be efficient with your time? How do you decide what’s important?  (And no, I can’t just quit my job and run away to Disney World.  But don’t think I haven’t considered that!)  What advice do you have for me as I sift through my long list of have-tos to find balance?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.  🙂  And yes, someday soon I hope to be able to come back and actually tell you about all those fabulous classroom-happenings.  But you know, by then the list will probably have doubled!

 

11 thoughts on “Torn

  1. Mrs. Bearden,
    I can’t tell you what I do because I honestly don’t know. But your are SUPER smart and creative I’m sure you will figure something out! 😃😃
    Sophia

  2. Well here are some ides to help tackle dinner–do you have a slow cooker? It’s like having a little chef working on your dinner at home while you’re working. You make need a digital one that can switch over to warming mode after the cook cycle so things don’t get overdone if you’re not home in time. Second choice — freezer cooking. My favorite site for recipes is 30 Day Gourmet. You can make meals up in advance and as long as you remember to pop them in the fridge to thaw in the morning, you won’t have any prep work when you get home. Third choice — ask for an electric pressure cooker for Christmas. Have you seen those demonstrations where they throw dry pasta, frozen meat, a jar of sauce and some water in and dinner is done in 15 minutes? It really works.

    • Beth,

      Just like I said to my friend Tom, SO SORRY the response to your comment has taken so long! I appreciate your suggestions for dinner. It’s funny–that’s actually one of the things that takes the least amount of time for some reason. Maybe it’s because my more-than-amazing husband is so often in charge of that and does a much better job than me with it anyway! I have tried crockpot meals over the years and somehow I feel like the prep for them takes longer than “regular” ones do. I know that the time of that prep is at a different time of day–not dinner time–and so should be better, but somehow it doesn’t seem any better. What am I doing wrong?? I have never tried freezer meals or pressure cookers, but will definitely keep these ideas for the future. Thanks for reading (and for commenting) and I will definitely know where to come when I am ready to tackle this dinner problem once and for all! Merry Christmas, by the way, and Happy New Year! Hope your holidays were great. 🙂

      Jen

  3. Mrs. Bearden,
    I have certain structures at allow me to do both the things I want to do, and still have time for important things. Basically, I do my have-tos for awhile, and then transition over to things I like to do, and then transition back. I’ve found this strategy really efficient, and I think you should try it!

    Tom

    • Tom,

      I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this reply of yours! I remember thinking how smart these suggestions were when I first read them, but obviously never got around to telling you that. Kind of funny considering the topic of this post, huh? I am glad to hear that you’ve gotten this homework thing under control and I love that your ideas can now help me. Your plan is kind of what I did that week before my big paper was due. I was also working on Allie’s curtains, as well as school work, and so I broke my evening up into little chunks. I’d do each of the things I needed or wanted to do for an hour or so each and then fill in the other time with other things like dishes, making lunches, putting kiddos to bed, or whatever else was around to do. I remember feeling like I was able to fit a whole lot into a little bit of time. Maybe I even worked out that schedule because of this suggestion from you that I subconsciously remembered. What do you think? 🙂

      Mrs. Bearden

  4. You are obviously an amazing person who has inspired many people. You need to do the right thing for you! Be kind to yourself. That beautiful 2 year old and 7 year old aren’t going to be that age forever. That age is so magical. Immerse yourself in those ages. Before you know it, they’ll be teenagers who don’t really want a lot to do with you (especially if they are boys – totally not cool to hang out with Mum (or Mom on your side of the world). Firstly be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing everything that is humanly possible. Sometimes you might have to accept that you can only do certain things to 80% and that’s ok. (This one I struggled with too – but I prioritised – where I could 80% was better than nothing). Have a to do list and cross things off. Prioritise the kids and hubby, the study and then school. Hope this helps.

    Belinda
    starbel@internode.on.net

    • Belinda,

      Wow–thanks for reading, and thanks for your comment and kind words! I really appreciate your thoughts and totally agree with you on your points. I can hardly believe that my little ones are as big as they are already, and yes, I often think what it will be like when it’s not cool to hang out with me or wear clothes that I make for them or let me kiss them in public (and man, now I’m sad all of a sudden!). I know I should treasure every moment I have with them now. And I also know that while I owe it to my school kiddos to do my best, it should never be at the sake of my own family. I know that, but it’s easy to forget when I get in the middle of a big project, or when grades are due or when the pressure is on at school in some other way. I love your idea of priorities, as well as your suggestion of a list. I have always been someone who writes things down (duh, I guess the blog is kind of obvious then, huh?), and lists are good for me. The new year is always a great time to do that anyway. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions–because who keeps those?–but I am all for making plans for how to do things differently!

      And by the way, how did you find my blog? I take it from some of the words you used that you are a friend from far away (Australia maybe?) and I’m curious. My school kiddos would love to hear of another connection I’ve made in some far away place in the world! Thanks again!

      Jen

  5. Hi Jen,
    Yes I’m from Sydney, Australia. I’ve been looking at different blogs today, because I will be teaching a Year 4 class next year. Our school year goes from late January to mid December. I really liked your blog and thought that it was amazing. Your post touched a nerve with me. I have a blended family of 4 teenage boys and my amazing husband. I too have been working really hard and have had to accept that I can’t do everything to 100%. It has been really hard to do and my heart goes out to you. You also need to make sure that you take care of you too. That should be your first priority.

    To be honest, I don’t really remember how I stumbled onto your blog. Maybe through the edublog’s nominations or from the Upper Plenty PS or The Junction PS blogs. I can’t really tell you – sorry about that – but I love your title 🙂

    You are of course right. Sometimes school does have to be a priority, like when those big things are due – but not always. My kids know to stay away from me while I’m writing reports and checking reports, but they also know I will emerge from the study when they are complete and go back to being mum again.

    Another option, is to let the kids (at school) be more responsible. Are there some jobs that are a chore for you to do that they could possibly do? Even typing out some things and you edit? See if you can make some small changes that would free you up (remind me of this in July – when I’m halfway through the year and tearing my hair out) 🙂

    Tell your school kiddos I said ‘G’day’ and I look forward to following your journey

    Bel 🙂

  6. Belinda,

    How many weeks are you in school? Your school year seems so much longer than mine! We go from mid-August to the end of May, and have about 36 weeks (176 days, I think). Of course, the timing of those days is probably what makes it seem so different, but still–what’s the comparison?

    Your suggestion about having my school kiddos be more responsible is great. I completely agree that kids (especially big kids like the 5th graders I teach) should be in charge of much of what they do. I’m afraid that the things that were frustrating me when I wrote this post where not things that they could actually do, though. It’s all stuff that I have to be responsible for in some way or another, or things that I bring on myself. I’m unfortunately a pretty bad perfectionist (as well as a master procrastinator–not a good combination sometimes!!). Seems like it’s up to me to figure it out. 🙂

    Welcome to our blog, by the way! I have many new “friends” in Australia–mostly because of connections I’ve made through blogs and Twitter. There are definitely many AMAZING things happening on that side of the world and I’m so glad I can be a part of it! I know I’ll learn a ton from you, now, too! Can I find you on Twitter? I’d love to connect that way, too, if you wanted. 🙂

    My friends will be excited to “meet” you. We’re big fans of Australia. 🙂
    Jen

  7. Pingback: 40 Book Challenge Revisited | 20somethingkidsand1kookyteacher

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