Thursday, April 14, 2011

Streamlining

As my work hours are picking up, and as our extra-curricular activities are increasing their demand on our time, I realized this week that I really need to find a way to streamline (versus the way that I usually just wish to streamline because I like the way it sounds). Streamline homeschooling, streamline housekeeping, streamline cooking.... you get the idea. My best friend, upon hearing the news of my ever-increasing schedule, immediately mentioned that I would need to drop things from my schedule. She is, of course, correct (naturally, as she is my best friend and therefore brilliant). I, too, recognized this with a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach because deciding what to get off the schedule is difficult. If it were MY schedule, it would be very easy. My personal schedule is not actually all that busy. There's work, which isn't going anywhere. I have few friends and I see my friends socially very, very infrequently. I already dropped out of my small circle at Fellowship (hard decision, but the timing was not working for me). I have monthly book club, but that's hardly going to be dropped as it's one of the few things I look forward to - no kids and it's not about homeschooling! Can I get an "Amen!"  Okay, so what else is on my schedule? Well, I do workout almost every day - and that is not something that is negotiable.

So why am I so busy?

The four small people that co-reside in my home - they are my schedule. Aside from homeschooling (which takes up a good amount of time, but definitely not ALL my time) these people have interests and places they like to be. And I like for them to be there - I just wish someone else could take them there! Our swim schedule, for example: 4 kids + 3 different levels = insane practice times. I already put off having my 9-year-old advanced in swim for almost the entire year so that she could stay at the same time as the younger two. And I refuse to take my oldest to as many practices as she "should" do because I can't fit them in and still feel like a living person. I don't know how to cut down on swim except by cutting it out. These same people also require food at regular intervals (about 6 times a day), which I must prepare. And they create messes and dirty laundry and general untidiness that needs attention. They are also loquacious language experts that can distract a bee from honey with their various speeches and monologues, generally increasing the amount of time it takes to get anything done. You get the idea.

It's okay. I know that I will ponder this issue (preferably on a long run) and come up with some possible solutions. I wish I could "require" my husband to be more available for helping with various activities - both kids' activities and stuff around the house (like cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.) - but the reality is that his job has LONG hours and he cannot simply leave whenever I would like him to. He wishes he could - he would rather be home. But as we need his income (which far, far exceeds my own) and rely on it so that I can spend the majority of my time with our four small people it's not realistic right now.  I don't mean to criticize him - to his credit, he did step up helping out with swim team drop-off/pick-up even when things are crazy at the office and he does help out around the house in a big way. And he always shows up for the kids' events (something my father never did). But there is a limit to the magic he can perform with his schedule. 

I'm actually excited - I find that I come up with the best ideas when I'm under pressure and actually get more done. Maybe this means I'll finally find time to make curtains for my living room! Okay, maybe not - that would be opposed to my new mantra - Streamline, streamline, streamline....

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