Finding the Time: When It Is Time to Set Priorities
This past month I did something most of us do sooner or later, I made the choice to eliminate an activity. It was hard at first to even consider the option as it was a group I had assembled together and unofficially, I was the “leader.” I worried about turning to these people and saying “I can’t do this any more, I’m sorry.”
But I knew quickly it was the right thing to do. On these nights I would go to leave the house and my daughter would turn with wet eyes and say “please don’t go, I want you here with me;” it was absolutely heart wrenching. Quickly it became evident that I was losing much more than my patience from being overextended; I was losing precious moments with my daughter.
So the day came when I told the group, “I just can’t do this anymore, I am sorry.” At first I thought perhaps my decision was a tad rash; what if I found more time and my concerns were mostly internal, or would they be angry and stop speaking with me? My fears were put to ease when they approached me and said “I had no idea you had so much going on! WOW.” Or “Could you tell me more about that project?” PHEW!
So now instead of rushing off these nights for another meeting (on top of other regular meeting I have the same night), I am able to schedule in a special family date night. It works out perfectly, as making dinner on these nights is near impossible and we have the chance to work on restaurant etiquette with my daughter. She gets so excited and talks about the fancy restaurant nights (trust me our venue of choice is far from fancy, but it makes it feel special to her.)
That part was easy, but I am starting to realize perhaps I need to schedule some real solid time home, in the house, doing nothing more than being a family. And as great as it is having family date night, sometimes I just want to stay in and snuggle up to watch a movie after my daughter has gone to bed. I’d even settle for a movie of my husband’s choosing.
I hear friends tell me “Oh don’t be so hard on yourself, you are teaching her to take time for herself.” But it hit me this month; perhaps I am doing too much for myself outside of the home. I have come to realize, taking time to be a family is just as important, if not more so, as finding time for myself. Why am I scheduling my home life around my professional life? Additionally, why can’t choosing a night in be something I am doing for myself? It doesn’t seem fair that family life is now considered something you do out of obligation, not for the sheer enjoyment. When did this shift happen and when did I start to buy into it?
The time to shift my priorities has come, I must find a true balance which allows ample time to nurture and develop the family I have. It’s time to take back what is mine and begin to enjoy not only the special moments of being a family, but the subtler moments that can surprisingly take your breath away. Like apple picking and just sitting down in the orchard to tell a story or have a snack; or hearing my daughter play the keyboard while singing her favorite song of the week.
It isn’t clear how I will make this all work, as I am not ready to give up all I do, because I feel a lot of it is so incredibly important to the future of my community and it does teach my daughter an important lesson about giving of yourself. Not to mention how much I feel inspired to be a better person with most of what I do. However I am starting to realize that perhaps I am missing another important lesson which needs to be taught in the home: the value of being a family together and fostering the relationships within the family; because community has to begin at home to make real lasting change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A Berkshire transplant, Alisa is a: tattooed mom of an almost 2yr old girl; a photographer; singer (with her local chapter of Sweet Adelines International); writer; trained Doula (labor and postpartum support); and all around life enthusiast. She supports her family with her “day job” as a bookkeeper and fills her need for artistic expression in many diverse ways. When she is not making a mess with paints and her daughter; playing pranks on her husband; gardening; or hiking with the dogs; Alisa can be found working on her passionate dream of becoming a full-time photographer (Common Moments) and doula. firstname.lastname@example.org