Saturday, February 20, 2016
No Brag, Just Fact
This is in no way a brag, but more of an encouragement. It wasn't easy for me to go back to school while raising a family, but I did. The first year I was still working at the school, but this year we returned to home schooling. One might assume that gives me more time to work on my school work, but it doesn't. It is said that when you really want to do something, you make the time to do it. Perhaps, but even in great desire to get more writing done, more editing finished, more devotionals written, I have found that "life" can get in the way. There are meals to make, laundry to wash, kids get sick, students need help with their school work, corrections need to be done, ministry tasks need to be tended to... the list goes on and on.
How do I "get it all done"? Here are some tips that have helped me over the past couple of years:
1. Realize that you will in no way "get it all done"! That is an unrealistic assumption.
2. Prioritize. What REALLY has to get done? That huge stinky pile of laundry may not be able to wait, but maybe cleaning the fridge can. Yes, it would be wonderful to spend all day curled up reading that book, but you have to spend some time working on a Sunday School lesson instead. And while you are prioritizing, realize that what is high priority one day may not be the next. The priority list could very well change daily!
3."Plan the work and work the plan." My dad used to say this to me. This is a great strategy for when you feel unmotivated. Having a plan helps you to know what the next thing is you have to do.
4.Don't overplan! I think we all desire to do more than what we are able, or have time to do. So many wonderful ideas and good intentions but limits of time and resources to accomplish them. Let me be clear: Put the cape, high-heeled boots and leotard away. No one can do it all, and do it all well. My husband uses this analogy: Jelly spread too thin looses its flavor.
5.Delegate. Don't be ashamed to slough off some of your tasks on your spouse or kids. They want to help, but may not know how. My husband is wonderful at filling in for me when I'm not available. He can cook, take care of children, help with schoolwork, clean, whatever needs doing. The kids each get assigned chores whether I'm home or not.
6. Create a basic schedule to work with. This goes along with number 3, I realize, but it is a strategy in its own right. I told my children that I am all theirs pretty much until supper time. However, any outstanding assignments, corrections, testing after that has to wait for MY convenience after that time frame. After supper is when I write and do my school work. That is a very simplistic view of the schedule, but it works. Of course there is flexibility in that as well. Days we have a field trip, Co-Op, art lessons, volleyball, dentist or eye appointments, for example, the schedule becomes more flexible.
7. Give yourself some grace! Are you pregnant? Just had a baby? Is the family getting over the flu? Are you getting over a surgery? Are you packing to move? Did you just move? There are many unpredictable circumstances that arise in real life. Give yourself some grace if you have to go into "survival mode" for a while. It happens, and guess what? It's okay!
It is good to raise a family. It is good to have dreams and goals. It is also good to keep it sane. Make sure when you say "yes" to something you aren't adding the straw that will break the camel's back. If you aren't consistently getting enough rest, eating properly, find yourself (or your family) short-tempered and irritable, then it is time to take a step back and look at your plan again. Cut something out. Lower your expectations (does the house really need to be "company ready" every day?). Readjust your goals and priorities (Okay, the kids do need to eat, but they may not need to run out to every available activity they are invited to!). Once you achieve a balance, you'll know it. Make a mental note of how the balanced days play out for future reference.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you!