In my previous post, Juggling: Part 1, I made a visual representation of the many tasks, demands, and responsibilities I am juggling. This little exercise helped me realize that, yes, I am legitimately busy and it is no wonder I feel overwhelmed. The many balls I juggle stresses me out and I feel I am constantly one step away from dropping them all. I very, very seldom take any balls out of rotation, yet I seem to easily add more. Seeing my chaos diagrammed out will hopefully help me prioritize and possibly eliminate some of these balls and make my juggling job as a wife and mom more manageable.
As I take a deeper look at my lists, I realize that not all of these balls in the air are exclusively mine. Laundry, cleaning, cooking…I can get some help with this stuff! Enter child labor! I already have a new laundry system in mind and we have made small steps toward implementing it. Cleaning…obviously there are many ways to break this down. That is a whole different set of juggling balls that I don’t need to juggle alone. Once I sit down and break it down, I can then assign different balls to the kids. Won’t they be excited?
Multi-tasking is another way I can manage my life easier. I already multi-task to a certain degree, but I think I need to plan it a bit better. For example, when I go to visit my parents, I like to make some freezer meals for them to make their lives easier. Why do I wait until I go to do that cooking? Although I sometimes freeze food for them when I am cooking for us at home, it is usually when I find that I have made extra. Seldom do I actually plan to make enough to take to my parents. If I include them when I do shopping and cooking for my own family, it will make my visits with them less hectic and more enjoyable.
I also really need to push myself to finish tasks. I do have attention issues to a certain degree, but I can’t use that as an excuse. What does Yoda say? “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” I tend to get to easily distracted by the other balls I have up in the air which draws my attention away from the tasks at hand. For example, as I was typing this I needed to stop and get something for my sick child. Then, she wanted lunch. I ended up making her lunch, then lunch for the other kids, then for myself. While I was in the kitchen I unloaded the dishwasher then loaded it and ran it again. In the meantime, a disagreement was starting between the kids. In order to stave it off, I took time to go and fix the TV that wasn’t working properly. By that time, I needed a little break. Again, the sick child needed my help, so my break was over. While I was in the kitchen getting medicine, I realized the dishwasher had finished. I turned my attention to unloading it once again Oops…forgot to take the medicine to the child in need. I sat down to finish my break (playing just one more one more level of my video game). After getting up to let the dog out, I returned to the kitchen to find the dishwasher open and partially unloaded. Oh, yeah…forgot about that. I finished unloading then filled it up again. Noticing that my sink was gross, I started to clean the sink, only to get side-tracked by a few storage containers that didn’t make it into the dishwasher and needed to be washed by hand. After that was done, I remembered I was in the middle of writing a blog and headed back to the privacy of my bedroom….followed by the Princess. After drawing some pictures together, I am finally back at the computer to finish the task I started five hours ago. Waiting for me in the kitchen is the partially clean sink and counter, which I didn’t have any intention of working on yet. But my attention darted from here to there, not letting me finish what I had started. Even though I did accomplish some stuff, I left other stuff undone. Will I ever get back to the kitchen sink? That wasn’t even on my to-do list for today. None of this was!
I always knew I was busy, but it is therapeutic to see what I am busy doing. Writing down my tasks, obligations, and duties was very helpful. Now that I can see on paper (most of) what I have been juggling, I can take steps to smooth things out. No, some of these balls will never disappear, nor do I want them to. But hopefully, identifying the balls in the air can help me manage the juggling and ask for help when and where I need it.