I am so not looking forward to this week. I have so much to do and I don't know when I'm going to do it. Tomorrow the first thing that I need to do is to get together my fair entry form for the county fair and fill it out and drop off my payment at the fair office. Then I need to get a prescription refill and both kids need haircuts. I also still have tomatoes to can and blueberries to wash and
freeze and before I can do any of that I have to clean the kitchen and I do mean clean the kitchen. Getting these things done alone would not be easy but would be doable... but getting these things done while watching a three -year-old and a two year old and preparing their meals changing their diapers and keeping them from killing each other that's just, well that's nearly impossible.
Add to that the list of things that other people want me to do and I just don't know where to even begin. I am thinking that this week is going to be nice outside which also makes it difficult because I don't want to spend time in the house... I'd rather be outside with the kids enjoying the weather. And even if I didn't want to be outside it's not fair for me to keep the kids inside when it's so nice out because without me they can't be outside.
I also have my dad's birthday this week and a class reunion banquet planning meeting and also our trip to the zoo.
I have a lot of things that I want to do for other people or for other organizations but it becomes difficult when I find myself putting myself and my own family on the back burner constantly. That's not my goal and that doesn't make me feel like a good person or good wife or a good mother.
It's hard for me to say no to things that other people ask me to do... partially because I really honestly truly do want to help everyone that I possibly can... And partially because I found that if I say no the first time I end up saying yes later and having to fix whatever wasn't done right the first time. I've also found that people often say "if you don't have time to help me. Could you at least show me how to do it?" and I'm the kind of person that really would like someone else to know how to do it but the time that it takes to teach them is like three times longer than what it would take me to just do it myself... so in the end I end up just doing it and never saying no. This is not the answer either but I really haven't figured out yet what the answer is.
Recently I've been trying to come up with a different way to manage my time. Not just my time at home but my time spent doing things for other people because that's really important me. I want to find a way to make it work but I realize that I'm often taking on more than anyone else has ever been expected to do.
I spend a really heavy portion of my "me" time working on things for other people and for the most part this gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I've helped someone but at the same time it becomes really difficult to have any downtime.
This weekend I got so frustrated with myself and so upset that I wasn't able to better manage my time that I decided to just go AWOL for a while... just not answer my phone. not answer every text that I received. not answer every e-mail. not be that person on demand that has the answers that other people are looking for and not being the person that is giving up my me time to spend fixing another person's issues.
Most of the time I don't ask for, require, or even desire any form of payment for things that I do for other people. I see it as volunteering and I see it as knowing that I'm doing a good thing and then sometime down the line when I need someone to be there for me, they will be.
I think another thing that I'm getting better at is asking someone when their deadline is. Sometimes just stopping someone in their tracks and asking them to evaluate when they actually need something done by has helped me to figure out how much of an emergency It really is. I also have to realize that sometimes someone else's emergency is not my emergency. This seems to be the most difficult for me because I really want to react to someone else's need- but I realize I'm putting aside the needs of myself and my own family in an attempt to satisfy everyone else's desires.
Another thing that really frustrates me is the way that our society and our child rearing has changed. Among mothers my age what I often hear is that grandparents are absent or frequently too busy to spend time with their grandkids. In economic times like these grandparents are still working... many of them full time... and they often spend their free time doing other things and enjoying hobbies. Most parents my age talk about being children spending the entire days or entire weekends or sometimes even entire weeks with their grandparents when they were growing up. I don't think that most of us expect grandparents (our parents) to take our kids for an entire week, but when It can be so difficult to get something done or even to go on a date sometimes you make yourself wonder... what's wrong with my kids that my parents don't want to spend any time with them?
There's a greeting card out there now that makes light of Hillary Clinton's book "it takes a village"- I sent it to a mom friend of mine once... I believe the front says something about if it takes a village to raise a child and then you open the card and it says something about which way to the damn village?
Would you believe that my husband and I are not alone in the fact that we have actual arguments over the fact that our parents don't take the kids unless we asked them to... And even then sometimes it's hard to find anyone who wants to take the kids even for a few hours. It's especially hard for our kids because they don't have any cousins and their aunts and uncles are still busy... single or newly married people... that don't really want to spend their time hanging out with kids. Poor Ardyn is always asking when she's going to get to spend the night at her uncle's house or when if ever she's going to have cousins of her own to play with.
Some moms in our area have really talked about making something happen with the popsicle sticks. If you've never heard of that it's sort of a swap of babysitters so to speak. Each mom in the group starts out with a specific number of popsicle sticks. Each stick is good for a set amount of time babysitting for example maybe a stick is good for two hours. If everyone starts out with three sticks in their possession that gives each person up to six hours of free babysitting. When you need a babysitter you redeem your sticks to another friend who's also a stick holder and then you have to give up your stick to that person to pay for your childcare. The idea is that when you provide a babysitting service you earn more sticks and then you can turn around and redeem with someone else. Ideally you have at least three or four or five people in this stick game which allows you to call on more than the same person every time you need a babysitter. This also helps to ensure that there will be someone available and then no one takes advantage of the system by getting their children away more often than taking care of someone else's.
Most moms that have more than one child will tell you that having two children of your own is not any different than adding in two children of someone else's- because new friends and new faces means more playing between the children and usually less fighting. Always so excited to have a friend over and often times I'm not doing anything that prevents me from having a couple extra around. Especially if it's only for a few hours.
It's very easy to deal with four or five children in the house when you realize that at any given moment you might need to redeem a stick for a doctor appointment for yourself or something simple like massage or something more time Consuming, like changing clothes out for the seasons in your kids closets.
Can you believe that babysitters are like $5 an hour nowadays? It's insanity! I babysat broods for half that and I ran the vacuum and washed
Dishes and prepared meals and took them to swim lessons and folded laundry and gave baths. It's insane! I love my babysitter but I can't afford to pay one most of the time!
What I probably need is a Mother's Helper. Someone who can entertain my kids nearby for around $2 an hour while I accomplish tasks. *sigh*
Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)