Every night, right around 8:30, my kids tucked in their beds (at least until one of them is thirsty, has to use the bathroom, lost cow-cow or bun-bun, or needs to tell me something they saw on a YouTube video 3 weeks ago), my kitchen as cleaned as it’s going to get, I sit down. I can hear the soft (well, I kinda wish it were softer) hum of the dishwasher and I unpack my school bag and take a quick look.
I ask myself the question, “Is there anything in here that I HAVE to have done before school starts tomorrow?” And if the answer is no, it all goes right back in my bag. We teachers like to joke that we’re taking papers along to “get some air.” We’re sorry if you want them done sooner, but it’s just not possible. Well, no. It’s possible, just not likely.
So then comes the next question. “If you have approximately 60 minutes before you get so tired that you fall asleep wherever you are, what do you want to do the MOST?”
I want to read! No, I should write a blog post. Actually, I still haven’t caught up on This is Us and soon I’ll be so far behind they won’t be on Hulu anymore. I have been meaning (like, for around a month) to write AnnMarie a card since she gave me that cute stuff at the beginning of the school year (oops, make that 2 months) and I should email my mom to see if she’s all set to help out this week.
Ugh, this week. Daycare is closed for the week, husband is working out of town until Saturday, and I have parent/teacher conferences.
Really, I should go to sleep early, because Halloween today made me so exhausted and the students are likely going to be overtired and extra silly tomorrow.
Well, my friends, this could go on forever. And it does. And I hate to admit this, but 75% of the time I end up spending those precious 60 minutes scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and playing this dumb word game where I usually end up cheating because I can’t solve the 6-letter answers.
Before I know it, it’s “bedtime” and I sort of hate myself because at one point I was wondering if I could pull off reading and watching TV at the same time and still comprehend a little of both, and instead I read a bunch of worthless articles and took a quiz for the 90th time about which Harry Potter character I am.
I heard a phrase on the radio the other day, and it was aimed at people who are busy. “Stop the glorification of busy!” the host exclaimed. “Only do the things that make you the most happy!”
I haven’t been able to get this off my mind. I think that where I get stuck is that I don’t prioritize efficiently most of the time. I need to not only prioritize, I need to viciously prioritize. I need to take a look at what matters the most to me, and do it, and just CUT out all the rest. Be done with it.
Lately it’s occurred to me how much I do because I think I should do it, or that it’s just what we are “supposed” to do. I feel so much pressure to put my kids in classes, just at the YMCA or whatever, but honestly … honestly it’s money we don’t really have and we end up missing a lot of them because of our busy schedules and after full days at work and school and with early bedtimes, I think they stress my kids out. Really, we are so much happier when we don’t.
I feel so much pressure about a LOT of stuff. And I’m positive that social media adds to that. My friends in real life are like, dude, in the past few years you trained for and ran/walked a half marathon, you WROTE A BOOK, what are you complaining about?
But it seems like I’m not on enough committees at school, or someone else is doing something more creative, or I’m not pulling my weight in other places. I should be shopping for better clothes, or learning to cook healthier food, or doing some cool DIY project like taking an old ugly dresser and using magic to turn it a different color.
And so I’ve decided it’s time to viciously prioritize for my family.
I won’t let outside pressure determine what is good for us! I want to be UNbusy. I want to stay on school committees that I feel are worth my time, and get off ones that don’t. I want to read my favorite authors, and color, and put together puzzles with my kids. And if that means saying no to things my friends ask me to do, I hope they understand. And if it means I get looked over at work, that’s ok, too.
I’m going to learn to be ok with someone saying, “Oh, you must have too much time on your hands,” when I’m exacted about accomplishing something they don’t seem worthy of time. And I’m going to learn to feel confident in the fact that I’m making the best decisions I can with what I know right now, and that it’s ok to love things that other people don’t love.
It’s time for some self-care, yo. You’ve got this!