You know that feeling you get sometimes when you wake up in the morning and you're like "Yeah! I can do it all, let's go!". It's a good feeling, it is. I like that feeling. But lately, I have been noticing that feeling needs to be paired with another one, which is wondering if it "all" is worth my time, or worth what I am giving up in order to do it.
I feel like as moms these days, we are told that we can have whatever we want. A career, a family, a relationship, and we should be able to make all of these things happen successfully all at once. I am sure there are some of you out there that feel they can do this, but I'm not one of them, when I start adding things on to my list, I get to a tipping point, and something has to give.
It's usually hanging out with friends. That's the first to go, unfortunately. Then probably working out, then it becomes a dicey dance between family/school/kid stuff and working. Which is more important, what do I NEED to do versus what can "wait"?
The thing is, it can't wait. All of those stories that will tell you to ignore the people who say it goes by too fast as a parent? Don't ignore them. Because it's true. When my oldest asked me to be the class mom for the first time he was in kindergarten. And I said I couldn't do it. I was pregnant with Jack, I had a couple different jobs going (this one included) and I was overwhelmed. Fast forward to this year, and he's going into FOURTH GRADE. He is growing up right before my eyes. He does his hair in the morning. He is picky about his clothes. He is almost a tweenager (okay he already acts like one technically). But yesterday he was in kindergarten.
Should I feel bad about saying no? Absolutely not. We all have things we can do and things we can't and I am beyond grateful for the community of parents and moms I live in that are willing to volunteer their time usually not just for the benefit of their own child, but for a bunch of children. Will it be a travesty if I never become his class parent before he leaves grade school? No. But to be honest with you, it was something I always pictured doing as a parent, and it was something that was important to me. It wasn't something I thought would fall off my list of priorities, until it did. And trust me, I get it that work needs to get done in order to make the family world go 'round. Being able to work from home while my kids are little is such a blessing, one that I know not everyone has.
So, I have scaled back. After three years of covering the "social scene" for the local newspaper, I have decided to call it quits. I love the fundraising community here in Saratoga and am always blown away by the support everyone gives, especially our generous local businesses, but this mom needs a break to stay home and have movie nights with her kids and husband. I have lacrosse games to attend and ballet rehearsals to cart little ballerinas to, and I want to be the one doing the carting and the cheering on from the sidelines, because it's all going by me too fast. Last year was a rocky year for all of us, and I came out of it with a crystal clear understanding of what time should be spent on and what time shouldn't be spent on. Because the trouble is, we think we have time (a quote I thought was Buddha but turns out isn't Buddha but is still pretty great nonetheless).
I guess what I am saying is don't try to have it all, because it's impossible, and that's a good thing, because it makes you figure out that what is important is not having it all, but knowing what you don't want to live without. I can't live without having dinner at the table together and giving my chubby baby a bath at night, tucking my four kids in bed and reading 1-2-3 Peas fifteen times. I don't want to live without Bravo nights at my mom's house with a glass of sauv blanc and hanging out with good friends who make you laugh and support each other. I may even try to work out again, who knows (but I'm not running any marathons, I will leave that to this lady).
We each have our own non-negotiables in life, and they are all valid, and whether your non-negotiable is work or play or exercise or family time, whatever it is, work toward making that a priority, and the unimportant things will fall by the wayside, where they belong. Leave them there for another time when things shift, and different times open up. When the kids are older, when they are in school, things change and develop, but what is important will come to the surface if you let it.
It sort of feels like I've jumped off a crazy train and it seems weird to stop running all of a sudden and like I am forgetting to do something, but it also feels really amazing and liberating. I am lucky enough to have this website which allows me to explore all things family related, and doesn't take away from family time but actually helps me do even more things as a family. And while I will still show my unending support for the fundraisers and great things happening in our community here on Mamatoga, I will be doing it while snuggled up on the couch watching Finding Nemo with my kids and eating popcorn, because they are only little once. The only parties I plan on attending in the near future are birthday parties for my three year old with homemade cake and slumber parties for my second grader, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. Now if any of you need me I'll be over here on the floor building a choo choo track...xoxo