Thursday, December 15, 2011

sprinkle control.

Is it hard to think clearly and focus?

Do you have little energy to enjoy life?

Do you have time to anticipate or reminisce?

Do you often feel irritable? guilty? or impatient?
Are you sick a lot?
Do you feel run down or exhausted?

Do you find you don't have time for the people in your life?

The answers to these questions could signal that you are one overloaded and overextended mama.
At the retreat in October, one of the presenters listed a loooong list of examples of things women might feel at any given time that can signal you are overwhelmed.  And almost everything on that list has or was currently on my list of thoughts on a daily or weekly basis.  The key is that they aren't all on my list at any given moment.  If they are..then maybe you need to reach out to a friend or doctor.  But if you are like any mommy these days, especially with the holiday chaos going on, you might be on a roller coaster of moments of overload. 

As I watched my children decorate cookies yesterday I watched as each cookie got a different experience...some were overloaded and some were nicely sprinkled with just the right amounts of pizazz.

I have had moments lately when I have felt so organized and in control - just the right amount of sprinkles.
Then an hour later I am in a panic and worried I am not going to get everything done - my cookie could have been dumped and there would have been enough excess sprinkles to decorate a ton more cookies. 

Balance is something that we all strive for, but in reality...balance is not about having everything just right.
Anyone who has spent time on a balance beam knows that the key to balance is to have those arms extended, wobbling just a wee bit...even tipping back and forth, slowly...with your eyes focused on one spot.

Just like on the balance beam - life balance is never about fair and equal time and attention to all parts of your life.  It is more about knowing that while you are saying yes and putting time into one place - another place is in survival mode.  So while I have been worrying about getting ready for our holiday weekend ...I forgot to go over Charley's spelling words last night.  Balance is off and I feel yucky about it.  But that's life.  Balance is about letting the scales tip back and forth with ease and knowing when to tip the scales back in the other direction.  And always keeping your eye on the most important thing - your family.

When I was teaching I noticed that if my classroom was caught up and organized then my house was a mess.  If my house was a mess then my classroom or car was a disaster.  Balance is being able to tip back right before you lose control of the thing you are letting go just a wee bit. 

 To avoid the overloaded feeling and just feel the normal sway that balance entails...I try to keep a few things in mind.

1.  Slowing down and saying yes to things that are good for our family Be deliberate in your choices that involve your family.
It is really easy these days to feel like you aren't doing enough. It is easy to feel like others are judging what you are doing. It is easy to say YES because the opportunities are wonderful. It is easy to feel like you have to do something because others are doing it, signing their kids up for it, buying it, including it in their day.

But when you say yes to something; you are saying no to something else.
Power of Mom retreat takeaway

2.  Plan when you are accessible.  In a world when you have a cell phone that allows you to email and respond to people 24/7...find time to turn it off and give yourself to your family, friends, or even your self.

3.  Avoid rushing.  Give yourself time to get out the door.  Allow for the time it takes to convince your child to put on their jacket.  Plan to be early and take a drive around the block spotting holiday decorations.  Have a pile of books in the car that you can read to your kiddos when you wait. 

4.  Focus on your lawn.  The grass is not always greener on the other side and your lawn will be full of joy if you give it the attention and love that it needs.  Avoid finding yourself caught up in being discontent.  Remember this is your season in life and your reality is such a gift.

5.  Don't get caught up in a world that is overloaded with information outlets....TV, blogs, newspapers, radio, magazines, the Internet...all places that can offer great resources for information but can also overload you with too much that isn't always correct or might give you an illusion that makes you feel like you aren't enough. 

As the height of the holiday season rolls around and sprinkles are flying...
take care of yourself.
Give yourself permission to say yes to one thing and no to something else.

 Saying no to a cookie exchange means you are saying yes to a more relaxed cookie baking experience.
Saying no to a holiday gathering because it falls during your child's nap means that you are saying yes to your child's health and your sanity.
Saying no to holiday travel or deciding on the boundaries of your travel time, means you are saying yes to more cozy time at home.
Saying no to an adult night out with friends might mean you are saying yes to saving money on a babysitter and yes to family game night.
Saying no to offering to bring a homemade item to a gathering and instead bringing your favorite bottle of wine, means you are saying yes to an hour of doing a craft with your children and arriving to the party with more energy.

Ultimately, when you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to something else.  And when you are saying yes to something, you are saying no to something else.

Take care of your family.
Take care of you.

More is not always better.
What are you doing these days to keep yourself from feeling overloaded?



Goings on at the Glenn's said...

I am saying no to hosting playgroup at my house and no to babysitting other's kids this week. I am saying yes to craft time and no to laundry, well as much as it will allow me to say no :)

Anonymous said...

Well said. I took an extra day off of work to finish all holiday preparations so I can just enjoy the season. JG (RR's friend)

April Kaiser said...

great post Sarah

Crystal said...

Great post and got me thinking. Definitely feeling overwhelmed these days (aren't I always?)

Case in point, this is my first time reading favorite blogs in about 2 weeks.

Love the "focus on your lawn" bullet point!


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