Tag Archives: time

Ballad of a Working Mama

I’m tired. Drained. It’s all I can do to push my fingers forward on my topic of choice and churn out enough words to constitute a blog entry. I’m not even convinced I should be doing it right now. It’s 7:43 in the evening and kiddo won’t be in bed until 8:00…I’m still on my mama clock. But here I am, listening to him put on a production of toys from his bathtub stage…as I write.

I’ve felt since I became a mother like I’m managing split personalities. Daughter, woman, friend, worker, wife, mother. I wake up around 5:00am and have some “me” time for my first half hour or so. Ah, “me” time…tidy the kitchen, feed the dogs, make some coffee, start the dryer…what the hell? Since when is this “me” time? At least I have my shower. Time to scald myself with luxury, bathe in the silence. Mama? You in the shower? I wanna take a shower, too! Damn. So much for that plan. But I’m on the mama clock now, and at least I’ll have the smiles that come from listening to his exaggerated ahhh, that’s nice!

{It’s now 8:32. I bathed and dressed Kiddo, read every other page of the Jungle Book, put him to bed and hung a load of work clothes before they wrinkled. I guess I’m back to “me” time now.}

I’m in the car by quarter past 6:00am, on my way to work. I listen to NPR or an audio book on my 40 minute drive. Happy commute, as commutes go.

I get to work and am now on that clock. I make decisions, measure my words, and am as productive as possible. I enjoy my work and I’m good at it. I learn there.

At 4:10 my hubby starts calling to tell me it’s time for me to leave. I just need to wrap up one last thing and then I’ll shut down my computer…

I spend my commute listening to music or making phone calls. I know, I know – but it’s my best chance!

I pick up Kiddo and head home to get supper ready, get some laundry done, clean the house. Sometimes kiddo and I play, sometimes not. I try to give him full attention but there are just so many things to do…

Sometimes I leave my laptop in my work bag but more often it finds its way out. I promised a customer a presentation. I need to prepare for a meeting in the morning. I wonder how many people visited my blogs today? Did I send Lisa the dates for our SA visit?

Bite, bath, book, bed. Lekker slaapies, kiddo…I love you.

Hello Sonskyn, I’ve missed you. Yes, I know I fell asleep but I don’t want to go to bed yet. I just want to cuddle with you a little longer; won’t you please just wake me when you go to bed?

The good news is I’m a morning person. That means when Kiddo wakes me up at 5:30 on Saturday morning we have hours together alone. And, when he wakes me up at 6:30 on Sunday morning, I’m lucky enough to have gotten an hour and a half more sleep than usual…unless, of course, I stayed up and played late on Saturday night:)

Does anyone else feel drained? When did we start pushing ourselves so hard? Have we always?

I know, I know…this post is more scattered than they usually are. But then, I’m more scattered than I usually am. Goodnight mush, goodnight moon, goodnight friends in the virtual lagoon.

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What are you doing for others?

Community service was a part of my upbringing. I remember working at the shelter with my family as a child, so happy to operate the rockin’ commercial dishwasher they had in the kitchen. The high school I graduated from regards community service as a cornerstone in education (30% of last year’s high school students have participated in mission trips). In college, my sophomore year housing was contingent upon a service project. Still, my service record has had its ebb and flow – at one stage of my life it becomes consistent and then at another it’s limited to the opportunities that throw themselves my way. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose experience has been such – ’tis life.

A belief that I didn’t have time for community service between my career, my housekeeping and my family fueled just such an ebb cycle a couple of years ago.  I don’t want to be away from home any more than I am now, I thought. I’ll plug in to my community when we find a church. In the end, my opportunity to get back into a flow of service came from unanticipated circumstances: an interface with a breathalyzer got my lazy bum going, lickety-split. You don’t know how much time you actually have until a situation forces you to start organizing and using it.

I volunteered with several organizations over the next six months. I worked at a Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store, I participated in a work day for a transitional housing community, I stocked the pantry and thrift store at our local co-op and I began lending my marketing and event planning skills to I Am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L., a mentoring program I am honored to be a part of to this day. Sometimes the work was fun, sometimes it was not. Sometimes it fit seamlessly into my schedule, sometimes not. But, when it was all said and done,

  1. I was out of excuses for not serving…and didn’t want to make them anymore, anyway.
  2. I was a more informed member of my community – able to direct those in need to sources for support and potential volunteers to vehicles of service.
  3. I had a better understanding of what kind of and how much service I could fit into my schedule.
  4. I was doing good work.
  5. I wanted to make service compulsory in my child’s upbringing.

January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A Civil Rights leader who encouraged community service as a means of raising one another up rather than tearing one another down, the holiday honoring him is now widely accepted as a day during which people commit acts of service. With the holiday just under a week away, I am reminded of my not so distant service surge and the lessons I carry from it. It is my hope that in sharing my own story of service, I might inspire someone else to start or fuel their own service flow. Consider dedicating some of your time on the 18th – to serve, investigate vehicles of service or even just to spend a few moments reflecting on how you have served others or they have served you. Let this exercise lead you where it may.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Furlough

Of the things I value, I value my time most. Time is how I learn, grow and develop relationships. So, when my company informed us that we would be required to take furlough days for the next few months, I saw value in their decision. Not only does a furlough mean that we are spared the sadness of losing more good employees and that those of us left (and we are slim these days, believe you me) are spared the added responsibilities of a laid off co-worker, but I can also reclaim some time for myself. Yes, I am still plugged in to my day job, but I have also identified some things I want to do with this reclaimed time…write a blog, for example:)

I’m learning some things from this time. Last week I took my son to a puppet show at the library. While there, I got a phone call from a customer. As I whispered sweet workings into my phone, my son took off across the stage. ..causing  me to curtail my conversation with my customer and chase after him with no shortage of embarrassment. I was frazzled and grumpy until I  looked at my son – who’s gaze was (now) fixed on the puppet show that was, in fact, for him in the first place. Lesson #1: Your time is better spent when it is undivided. Turn off the phone. The world will not come toppling down in an hour and if it does then you probably couldn’t have done much to stop it in the first place. Continue reading