Life, Parenting

Time + Control

Ahhh, it’s another snow day today!! No school two Thursdays in a row. (It seemed like the forecast was kind of wishy-washy/ unclear as to exactly how much our specific location is going to get, so I wasn’t sure what would happen with school. Seems like the bulk of it is coming later in the afternoon, so apparently the concern is end of day travel, I think.)

It’s pretty perfect timing, actually, because the boys already have a (planned) no school day tomorrow. So, they’re getting an unexpected 4 day weekend! Yay for them. 😉

TIME + CONTROL

Switching gears, I want to talk a second about time and control.

The other day NGS left a comment on my blog that said: “ I think you need to sometimes give yourself some grace because you’re not 100% in control of your own time right now.

(This was in reference to my post lamenting how I had to miss my workout several days in a row just basically due to overstuffed days with no real wiggle room.)

When I read her comment, I literally heard bells in my head going DING DING DING!!!

YES. She hit the nail perfectly on the head.

One of the most frustrating things for me is when I experience a great lack of control over my time. And, as a parent + full time employee…well, this naturally happens a lot.

It’s nothing out of the ordinary or anything, but it just comes with the territory:

  • meetings that start at a certain time
  • tasks that HAVE to be completed and turned in
  • a kid who needs to be picked up at precisely 4:30 p.m. from a certain location, no exceptions
  • school events that you have to be at on a specific day or time, like it or not
  • people that “need you” to do something, when you might not actually feel like it
  • volunteer duties that are time sensitive, requiring diligent attention/ emails to be sent before a certain date
  • food that must be prepared at such a time that other family members will be home to eat it
  • phone calls or texts that “have to” be answered so as to not disappoint the person on the other end who also needs something.

Etcetera.

Okay, to be clear, this is all totally part of “normal life”! Nothing too crazy on the list above. Unless you live completely alone in a cave and have zero outside responsibilities, I think it’s inevitable that we all have to answer to others or schedules or to do lists in some capacity.

But it’s still true that it can become very draining, too. And I think this is magnified when you’re a parent, of course, because other people “need you” at a highly disproportionate rate. (Or, a nurse. I’ve never felt so, um, LOVED and needed as when I would work three 12 hour shifts in a row, with a pager in my pocket that went off literally every.five.minutes as my patients or others would call for me, over and over and over again. It never stopped. Omg I feel traumatized just thinking back on how stressful that was.).

With parenting, it’s probably worst when you have little kids! And I don’t have those anymore. But, maybe it’s a horse a piece- I mean, little kids don’t need you to be on time for carpool pick up, or for you to make SURE you have them to their basketball warmups by 1:30 on the dot. So maybe we are just trading someone needing help on the potty for someone saying, “Mom, come ON, we’re going to be late for my game!!”

Either way, you’re kind of chained to someone else’s schedule and/or needs.

This has been extra on my mind this week because I’ve been training a new employee at work, which has made my workdays much less flexible than usual. (Because I’ve been on video calls ALL day straight, with much less freedom to just take a random break, etc.) On top of that, the big Regionals swim meet we’re hosting is this weekend, so I’ve had a lot on my plate there, plus Ivan was gone (which was fine- but left me to handle all the driving and home responsibilities on my own). Really nothing has been overly difficult- but I guess I feel a bit constrained, if that makes sense. Like my time just isn’t my own. (Which, like I said, is perfectly normal in this stage of my life. But I’m still human, and I can still notice it and feel its squeeze on me.)

My intent isn’t to complain about my life here or anything- I actually don’t dislike any of the things I “have to” do. I LIKE taking my kids to their games, and being there for them, and I LIKE that they call me to stop whatever I’m doing to tuck them into bed at night, etc.

That being said, I would also greatly enjoy having just maybe one week where I didn’t have to do ANYTHING at all besides whatever I really felt like doing in the moment. 🙂

Ah, maybe in retirement?? Or maybe I’ll book myself a solo week at the beach somewhere, just me. 😉 And I’ll leave my email and phone at home, too. 😉 Hahaha. Mmm, now doesn’t that sound nice?

Somewhere like this. Except wait- maybe take that second chair away. Whoever sits next to me might need something. 🤣🤣

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful that I have people who need me!! This means I have a family. And yes, the time constraints can be frustrating and feel like a lot of pressure sometimes, but overall, it really is a good thing. 🙂 (Writing this as a reminder to myself… 🙂 )

4 thoughts on “Time + Control”

  1. I feel this way, too! So much of my day is not in my control. Little kids take so much of your time and attention. And like you said, I want to be there for them! But it’s hard to not be in control of your time, like when your day will start which is the case for me. And then add in training an employee at work (which I feel like you JUST did!!) or in my case, work travel or a ton of client meetings, and it can feel hard to wedge things you’d like to do into your day. I think like NGS said, you have to cut yourself some slack and give yourself a pass. You have a lot on your plate at home, work and your volunteer gig! When you are challenged on multiple fronts, something has to give! It is hard to give yourself grace, but so very important!

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  2. This: “Except wait- maybe take that second chair away. Whoever sits next to me might need something.” Hilarious, but also SO true.

    I remember when the kids were little I would physically feel so “touched” out. I’m an introvert and I had never, ever felt so much sensory overwhelm and it translated into the fact that I need physical space and literal aloneness. Like my skin felt like it was crawling from constantly juggling a toddler on my hip!

    Also, you manage A LOT. Many women are not nearly as involved with their kids’ extracurriculars or home management (they outsource childcare and cleaning and food prep), AND you volunteer AND you are so physically active AND you love to travel and do really fun things. You remind me a lot of one of my sisters. She has four kids, a big career, her husband travels a lot – just thinking about her days exhausts me. I can’t even imagine what her life will look like when her kids are all gone (and her youngest is now 12, so the time will come fast)! She has been on full-speed ahead for 20+ years and I’m very excited for her to slow down that pace just a bit…!

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  3. ha! love this. This is why I am obsessed with early mornings – less likely that anyone can mess with them (though you had some early starts w/ kid events!). ALSO even those don’t always work. i was supposed to run this AM but josh went in to do an emergency case at 2 am and didn’t come home until 9am!!!

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  4. I definitely feel you on this (and I don’t even have kids!). It’s true – it can feel like a big squeeze when you’re not controlling your own time and are constantly trying to fit everybody else’s needs around your own. I do hope that things ease up a bit for you and you find a good balance.

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