Friday, January 30, 2015

Doing less to do more.

The only job I ever really wanted to do in this life is the one I'm doing now - full time Mom-ing. That's not to say that anyone that isn't a stay at home Mom stops being one while they're at work, just that when it comes to who is manning (or, womaning, if you will) the kids at all times - I want it to be me. Always and forever, and school is seriously cramping my style (they're mine, darn it!).

Despite the kids taking up the majority of my daily focus, I've held onto various positions and projects through the years. I have lots of reasons for doing so - to hang onto bits of myself, to keep my mind active, to collect items to put on my resume the day I decide to return to work. Though I think the biggest reason is that I'm wired with a creative mind, and to do nothing but change diapers and wash dishes would send me into a wild form of insanity.

I have an insatiable need to explore and create in my environment.

That doesn't mean that I'm a traveler or feel pangs of wanderlust. Quite the opposite is true. I'm a hermitty, introverted homebody. But within my surroundings, there's a lot to discover and touch and build and color and sort.

Because of that, I slowly collected obligations without letting go of anything that came before it. Each project I took on was for a reason - it was filling a creative, emotional, or financial void when I said yes to it. I was just getting really terrible at recognizing when I'd outgrown it, and even worse at allowing myself to say goodbye to it.

When I sat down to sketch out my goals for 2015, I pretty much bounced in my seat as I struggled to sift through each area of my life and set aspirations for each thing. I realized that there were too many things I was aiming to do all at once, and some of those things I'd lost passion for over the last twelve months or more, while I was gaining appreciation for other interests and not able to find room for them in my life.

So the first thing I did was shed and reduce some of my obligations.

* I put my shop on a very extended hiatus. It's closed until at least August, and when I sit down to review how I feel about it, there's a chance I'll leave it closed. Knowing that the bridge isn't burnt, but that I have such an extended release from the chores involved with maintaining a handmade shop is a breath of fresh air.

* My very flexible, incredibly fabulous boss and I had a chat about how to achieve my goals, and we came up with a really wonderful working schedule that benefits us both and takes my constant need to check in and puts it into specific moments of consultant-type office work. It's wonderful, and perfect, and I have so many 5 and 8 week breaks worked into my work year that it's invigorating when I sit down to do my work for her. I love my job, and I'm so very thankful for my understanding boss lady!

* I cut back on my involvement with Jamberry. When I decided to be a consultant, I did so knowing I didn't have tons of time to dedicate to it and I warned my sponsor of that, too. But then I got sucked into the hype and rewards of starting off strong, and tried (but repeatedly failed) to reach my sales goals. I finally realized that I was sick of being overly-selly, and the people who really liked Jamberry would continue to buy it from me without me being in their faces. And in the mean time, I would just shop for wraps with my discount and host the occasional FB party for anyone that wants one. I think after the new catalog hype dies down, I may transition to being a hobbyist (which is what they call casual consultants that just stick around for the discount). That's all I really need at this point.

* I created some relaxed and reasonable blogging goals. I have a problem with doing more than I planned, because I get inspired and motivated and need to get it all out - but I'm working on it.

* And finally, I'm decluttering and streamlining my house to make my every-day tasks much simpler. Which is a very long, tedious process considering the time I have to dedicate to this is rare and fleeting! But every step I take makes it all a little bit easier.

I still have lots on my plate. I have lofty reading goals, I'm trying my butt off to catch up on my scrapbooking, I really want to rock this blog, I'm always dabbling in PTA events and volunteer opportunities (and even tossing around the idea of joining the executive committee next year), and I just started a really exciting project with my BFF. That doesn't touch the laundry list of hobbies I have in my arsenal and their related projects I have plotted.

But by reducing everything I mentioned above, I'm able to be more present with my family, and be more intentional and focused on my endeavors. How can I be wonderful at the things that really matter if I have too many less-important things to tend to?

What could be more important than soaking up moments like this one?

This will always be a work in progress for me. My personality just naturally collects things to do and see, and I know that I will automatically attempt to fill in these empty spaces with other things. I'm working so hard to  not do that - to instead expand on what's already here, and I'm discovering that the process is exhausting, sometimes painful, and goes totally against my natural wiring. Yet, I'm happier for doing it this way, and I feel a strong pull towards its necessity.

Before I go be intentional with the rest of my day, I want to share with you an excerpt from a book that I'm slowly getting through. It really spoke to me the other day, and I'm going to print it out and hang it where I can see it every day and be reminded of the importance of slowing down.
"Meet every moment with gentleness, with a quiet certitude, with vulnerability. [...] What would happen if you were to move through your day as if you've already lived it? If you've already lived it, then you can glide gently through each hour as it unfolds. Everything has already happened. You don't have to press. You don't have to fight. You don't have to assert yourself or your will. 
You don't have to control anything. 
All you need is to be present. 
I'm asking you - just for today - to surrender. Instead of rushing willy-nilly through the hours, move softly. Instead of clenching, flow gracefully. Make a conscious effort to slow down. To breathe. Each part of you is going to want to race off, like a greyhound at the track. But what I want you to do is stop. Understand that racing and rushing wastes energy. Picture yourself as a dancer. Fluid, graceful, elegant, precise. [...] 
Your mind is accustomed to operating at warp speed. The very world we all live in is designed for that warp speed and rewards it. But it takes a tremendous toll. By speeding through life, asserting your will, you are violating your own connection and harmony."  
Panache Desai, Discovering Your Soul Signature 

What a great reminder, right?

Do you struggle with this too, Mamas? How do you make yourself say no, even when you really want to say yes?


  1. WISDOM: How can I be wonderful at the things that really matter if I have too many less-important things to tend to?

    Yes yes yes. Even as a college student this so rings true. I sat down, like you did, at the beginning of this year and really thought about what I was doing with my life. It led to cutting out and cutting back, and I am so thankful that I did that. I feel much more focused on the things I AM devoting my time to.


    1. That's fabulous! :) This is still very much a work in progress for me - I keep finding myself snapping back into old habits, but I am thinking and talking about the act of eliminating obligations, and I feel like that is a step in the right direction!