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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Me Time" made me stressed out

We hear constant feedback as mothers about we should be sure to schedule "me time."  We're bombarded with how important it is to take time to do what we enjoy.  I feel for this idea, hook, line and sinker.  Settled into a new home and new community, with both kids in school full time, I thought I should have plenty of time each day to get my work done, keep the house running, do some small projects, exercise, and have time to read or just zone out each day.

Each day I would wake up, make the kids breakfast, put together their lunches, and get them out to the bus.  Then I sat down to my quiet time with God.  I have a few different journals to pray for my immediate family, a book I'm reading about praying more effectively, and I read a chapter from the Bible each day.  After about 45 minutes I'm ready to tackle the rest of the day.  I would check in on work email, delete personal emails (you know, the 9000 advertisements we get every day lest we actually need the discount once or twice a year), check our bank statement, then choose a job to work on.  This is where I started to fall into the mental block.  I only "need" to work about 3 hours each day to meet my self-imposed earnings for the month.  But with 2 jobs, I have been working closer to 5-6 hours each day.  I was losing all the time I thought I was entitled to.

And that's just the thing, what time am I entitled to?  Where did this notion come from?  We have amazing technology to help make so much of what we do more efficient.  But what are we doing with that extra time?  I have an addictive personality and I know it.  I have often tried to disguise this as putting my everything into anything I try.  And that is quite often the case.  But if I happen to open a computer game, this can be the end of the day for me.  Yet I can't quite bring myself to delete the games.

So this week I am trying a new mindset.  I am limiting my time on facebook, keeping the games closed, and making productive choices with my time.  Monday I went grocery shopping and didn't get all of my work done before the kids came home.  I was able to finish up before 8pm though so had an hour in the evening for myself.  I chose to talk some with Jon and read a book.  Much better than zoning out to a computer game.  Tuesday I switched the order of my jobs, completing the tasks that require the most focus first.  This proved to work well and although I didn't finish working until 30 minutes after the kids came home, they didn't even seem to notice.  They have become pretty self-sufficient with getting themselves a snack and unpacking their backpacks.  I chose to go for a 2 mile walk in between jobs since I can really only do this while the kids are at school.  I still had some work to do last night, but was done before the USWNT game was over.  This included a 45 minute conversation with my sister in the afternoon.

Speaking of that conversation, she convinced me to start writing again.  I have an alternate blog I am starting to put together where I'm going to write about all the tough moments I have been through since graduating from high school.  My hope is that some of the writing will help others facing seemingly insurmountable situations see how things will be okay in the end.  While the kids were at floor hockey I did some writing on my laptop.  I did some more writing before bed last night.

Today I did some writing while waiting for pages to load.  This probably made my work take longer, but I was having trouble making my brain stop.  I still managed to finish all my required work by noon and started in on the application process for my Utah and Alabama teaching certificates.  How is it that after over an hour I feel like I accomplished next to nothing?  Hopefully I will have more time in the next week to get everything sorted out before the fingerprint cards arrive.  I am hoping to have this all in the mail by spring break so I don't have to worry about it anymore.  The kids had an early release today, so I didn't end up with any extra time.  After they arrived home I spent some time cleaning in their toy room.  I put enough things away that they were able to finish before dinner.  I plan to really finish on Friday if I have some extra time.  But really, I only spent 15-20 minutes in there.  I sometimes need to just get over the mental block of tasks that seem so daunting.  If I just take the 15 minutes I have and use them productively, I can complete the seemingly endless list.  And reality is, you probably can to.  So what if the toy room didn't get finished today?  It is better than it was and I can continue in the right direction the next time I have a chance.

So for me, I am skipping the idea of "me time" because it just wrecks my day.  Instead, I'm focusing on productive time.  I will get my work done, enjoying the extra money to pay off our car super fast to open up our budget for fun vacations, upgrades to our home, and donations.  I'm going to enjoy my time I am so lucky to have with my family instead of stressing about how I don't have as much time as I would like.  We've set things up so our kids can have a relaxed childhood.  They get to come home every day and just play (after their 5-10 minute chores), and that's why I work from home.  We have been so amazingly blessed by God.  It's time to focus on the positive and how much we do have instead of how I wish things were.  I'm ready for the next adventure that God has for our family, as I'm sure it's a great one.

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