No one has been sick. I haven’t been on a vacation. There’s no crazy, gut-wrenching, emotional upheaval that turns me to a zombie. There has been no life-altering change that sucks all my energy. Actually I don’t have much of an excuse to why I haven’t carved out time to write.
You see, I’ve been parenting. Well, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I have. Monday my best friend came to visit for one day, and of course, I would rearrange the heavens to spend more time with her. But the other days, I was sucked into my job as a parent.
It started because I realized that the boys were playing video games for too many hours. Sure Tornado E and Tornado S had to get workbooks done, and I dragged them to my parents’ house to go swimming as soon as Tornado A woke up. But that was two to three hours of staying inside away from the heat, choosing video games over movies, crafts, and science experiments. Then when the ex came over it was another hour or more of more video game time. Then last week I added it up. Oh, crap.
So Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday I came down hard on the video games. Tornado E had to read after lunch for 30 minutes. Out loud. The boys had to pick up the family room and their bedroom. We played games and colored. I whittled the time down to an hour. Then the hour would fly by as I did some chore or another.
Wednesday. Well, that was just a small piece of hell. Because we had to run errands and they doddled through the morning routine, the workbooks had to be done after lunch. While Tornado S only gave me a small taste of rebellion. Tornado E put his foot down, refusing to solve another problem on his paper. Tornado S finished his workbook and handwriting. He cleaned up his half of the bedroom. He picked up the toys I asked him. Tornado E stared at me, yelled at me, taunted Tornado S, tried to run away. I was in a better state of calm during this rebellion because I had things I could do like edit a short story or read interesting articles one of my friends kept posting on Facebook. Tornado E slammed into the line and broke it with a temper tantrum, which included throwing a pencil and saying F-it. So I made him pick up the pencil, marched him up stairs, went old school with (organic) soap, and deposited him in his bedroom saying, “If you want to throw a temper tantrum like a toddler, fine, do it here. And you’re going to stay in here for a 15 minute rest because you’re acting like you need a nap.” Then I looked at a bored, quiet, minding Tornado S and gave him permission to play video games. Tornado E chose his next rebellions poorly as he tried to escape his “nap” at the 14th minute where I would place him back into the room and start the timer all over again. That lasted an hour.
Before I knew it, Tornado A was awake and we were off to swimming.
But what of the nights? The nights I’m catching up on cleaning and battling sleep rebellions? Those nights? I haven’t even spent a crazy amount of time on the phone before doing chores. Though lately I feel a little bit of rebellion stirring myself as I wonder what the point is to load and unload a dishwasher every day and sweep and mop every day.
So I do what needs to be done. And I look at my lists of want-to-dos. Writing a blog post. Reading other blogs, which has gotten so out of hand that I haven’t read most of my favorite readers and feel like a bad friend for missing everything. Responding to Facebook messages; I have four waiting for an answer, but I always check Facebook on my phone where it’s a bitch to send a long message. Adding songs to the iPods. Sending out stickers to some friends. Buying a birthday gift for a good friend. Thank you notes for both Tornado A (birthday in April) and Tornado S (birthday in May). Emailing. Organizing play dates and movie gatherings and girl nights out. Oh and during all this beating myself up over not hitting this list, my worry-list just keeps getting longer.
It’s about finding balance. A balance between what-needs-to-be-done and what-you-want-to-do. A balance of work and play. It’s about forgiving yourself for being human with limitations. Knowing not everything will get done. That some sacrifices have to be made. It’s about trying to turn that worrying energy into something more productive.
I finally got around to making a vision board the other week. I began to notice that I was still in survivor mode, living week to week, planning only as far ahead as I absolutely needed to. But that’s not my natural state. I needed to get back to planning, to focusing on a goal, to train my eye beyond the craziness of my life at this moment in time. So I made a vision board with the question of what I want in five years. The first thing I wanted was a balance in my life, between work and home, family and friends, fun and responsibility.
So now I just have to work on that.