Though I don't have organizational skills that would wow anyone, I'm a planner. A goal-setter. And someone who doesn't often budge on those goals. When I say I'll have a book to the 75% mark by August 14, for instance, I do whatever it takes to hit that point in the manuscript. (I've only got 4K more to write by Sunday to be there, which is totally doable, LOL.) When I say I'll be somewhere at a certain time, I refuse to be late. When I say I'll help someone with something, that then goes ahead of my other tasks on the to-do list.
In general, I think this is a fine character trait. ;-) But this week I've also been very aware of its drawbacks. See, sometimes I'm so set on meeting my goals and getting to that oh-so-important future point that I forget to enjoy where I am.
With only a few days left until I leave for the OCW Conference in Oregon, for which I'll be gone through Thursdsay, I'm keenly aware of how long I'll be away from my kids and hubby. And I'm already geared up to miss them. So I've been gathering extra hugs and kisses, extra cuddles and quality time.
It's been a balancing act, even more than usual. Usually I have my set work times, and I expect my kids to respect them. They don't, LOL, but I let myself insist on that half hour in the morning and those two hours during naptime. Other times of day I certainly try to squeeze in five minutes at my computer here and there, but it's totally common for a kiddo (or two) to be on my lap or asking for help, or requesting I come outside "because you gotta SEE this!" But this week, much as I want (okay, I think it actually classifies as a "need" for my personality type) to get to that 75% mark in my manuscript, I really want (and definitely need) to stock up on the kiddo-time.
It's made me think a lot about how I approach each moment. Yes, I want to walk for exercise. But you know, it's so fun to stop every three feet to jump rope with my daughter. Yes, I wanted to answer that email. But there's nothing quite like cuddling my son for those first 20 minutes after he gets up from his nap, when all he wants to do is sit on my lap and suck his thumb.
Sometimes I'm so focused on what must be done next (bath time, book time, bed time) that I forget to fully enjoy what is. Sometimes I'm so distracted by what I didn't get finished that I can be grumpy during my family time. But this week, I've been very aware of how much fun my kids are, and how much I'll miss their silliness next week. This week, I've been working hard during work time and savoring each moment of play.
I'm going to do my best to extend that aspect of this week into the future.
Today I have my mother-in-law taking the kids to the park for a few hours so I can pack some solid work into the morning. Part of me feels guilty about losing those couple hours with them--but then, I think it's better to send them out to have fun than to have to plop them in front of the TV while I prepare my suitcase. And as always, it's part of the balancing game. I know well that I'll savor the other moments more once I've gotten some of my other looming tasks out of the way.
There are never any easy answers for balancing a home-based career with your kids (or ANY career with your kids). But I'm trying to be aware, not just of the amount of time I'm with them, but with the quality of the time. And I'm laughing a lot, smiling a lot, and cuddling a lot.
Goals are great. Keeping them is important. But sometimes you've just gotta live in the moment.