My to-do list hovers above me, creating some semblance of sanity out of the chaos. It literally - and figuratively - hangs over me, reminding simultaneously that I'm accomplishing tasks and that I could never run fast enough to complete it all. My list is comprised of things I want to do - blog, lead Girl Scouts, write articles, play dates; things I need to do - pay bills, set up interviews, fold laundry, do dishes; and things I hope to do - write a novel, sew a clutch, make superhero capes, create a menu plan. All the while at the top is a master to-do - love on, spend time with, and enjoy my kids and my husband.
I'm fresher in the mornings these days, my brain turning to mush in the evenings, my motivation overwhelmed by exhaustion and most likely age. Sometimes I try to wake before the kids do, but they inevitably hear me at the computer or a sixth sense tells them I'm scribbling away on the couch. Just as inspiration hits, a small person creeps down the stairs, demanding breakfast and attention.
Too many days lately, my focus feels fuzzy, my attention divided, my mind directed to too many places at once. While I'm doing one thing, I'm thinking ahead to another. When I'm woken in the middle of the night by little needs, I lay awake later, willing my busy mind to relax. I lose track of conversation threads, interrupt without meaning to, and tell people I love far too often to "hang on while I finish just one thing."
I imagine a life more seamlessly connected, where I somehow divvy my time right and the world aligns my wants, needs, and hopes. Too often I feel as though I'm misdirecting my attention no matter what I do and I'm torn. I want my children to see me pursue my interests professionally and personally. I want to help support my family financially, especially while our budget is so tight, even if my contributions are small. I want my children to know I took risks and continued enriching myself, even as I chose to remain home with them.
But I feel guilty. I see those memes telling me "They're only little for awhile" and my voice echoes back "Hang on while I finish just one thing." Sometimes I'm working on something - what's meant to be a quick online bill payment, visit to blog facebook page, or an interview for an article due soon - and a few minutes turns into 30. Kai toddles up to me, takes my hand and leads me down to the toy room. It's the ultimate reality check, reminding me of my master goal, bringing me into the moment.
I believe life is about choices, but I don't believe choosing to be a mother means I set everything else aside. My goal is not to do or to be it all, but to be a multidimensional individual, continuously learning, connecting, stretching, and changing. My goals, my to-dos, my dreams don't have to be in conflict. I'm convinced so much of it is about timing.
Goals are essential, but my focus is misdirected if I'm always eyeing the end result or thinking about the next task. Part of enjoying the journey is savoring the moments along the way. If I'm stressed, conflicted, or rushing in everything, nothing is truly satisfying. And that is certainly not what I'm seeking out of life.
So, I'm going to pare down the to-do list a bit and re-imagine its purpose. Perhaps it's my guide book. reminding me of the paths ahead, inviting me to find joy in the different tasks on the path to my goals. Perhaps its my sanity checker, pushing me to enter the evening with more resolve and purpose, creating drafts for that novel, switching on the sewing machine, and writing blog reviews.
Whatever I do, I never want to be so busy, I don't have the time to grasp my little one's hand to run off to play blocks, or pull out the markers to create a story with my daughter, or line up cars with my son; never too occupied to get lost in the moment, nothing pressing on that time together, competing for my attention, weighing down the thrill of now.
How do you find balance in your life?
41 minutes ago