Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Overcommitted, Overbalanced :: Mom2Mom

Mom2Mom: a conversation between Moms about 
the hard points of this motherhood journey.

My full calendar wore me out last week.  Seriously.  Twice this month I've had packed weeks and twice I've ended up with migraine headaches at the end of the week.  I'm starting to think I'm a little overcommitted.

What are my overcommitted symptoms?

Tell me if any of these sound familiar:
  • I dread going to activities that I enjoyed at the beginning of the school year.
  • I throw together lessons for my weekly home school co-op class the night before.
  • I stay up until midnight every night trying to "catch-up."
  • I throw together lessons for my son's Cub Scout group hours before I lead them.
  • I use videos to keep my children entertained.
  • I'm grouchy, short-tempered, and easily frustrated.

What caused my overbalance?

I didn't become overbalanced all at once.  It happened bit by bit. 

I gradually took on responsibilities at my kid's extracurricular activities.  I decided to participate in a local home school co-op and to teach one of the classes my boys attended.  Then we signed Will up for Cub Scouts and, due to a limited supply of volunteers, I agreed to lead every 3rd meeting for his den.

I increased my blogging activities.  I set a goal for myself to blog 4-5 times a week.  I also accepted more responsibilities at Offering Hospitality as Carrie, the editor, prepares for the birth of her third child.  Then I set up a Facebook page for SMB to provide another avenue for connecting with readers.

I cut out exercising, cooking healthy meals and consistent quiet times in order to fit in everything else.  Why is it that when we start getting ourselves stretched thin we cut out the activities that we need most?!  The physical result of no exercise and too many Domino's pizzas has been an extra 5-8 pounds and one pants size.  The spiritual result is less tangible but no less felt.

How do I stop being stretched thin?

The problem is that all of my activities are good ones.  They each add to family life, teach my children something new, or provide a creative outlet for me.  So, how do I pick and choose where to spend my time?  Clearly something has to give, and soon!

Are you also overcommitted?  How do you keep life in balance?  I'd love to discuss this further in the comments!


Alissa:Adventurer said...

I think this is totally applicable to anyone's life, and I appreciate you being honest and posting it.

What a great point when you ask why do we give up whats most important when it comes down to crunch time? Oh man oh man. Something that I have had to learn in the past little while is to understand how much "internal time" I need. As an introvert (who has some extrovert tendencies) I need to have time to think and process. When I don't, I get more stressed out. I will say no to extra activities sometimes, and that is helpful. My week is already booked full by Sunday typically, and choosing what is important and priority beforehand is helpful to manage all the stuff and people and places and events.

Flamingo said...

i always throw together things but it is often because i mismanage my time...NOT because i have committed to too much! ugh.

Carrie said...

Yes, I think I fall into the mismanaged time camp myself. I used to be horrible about over committing. I mean, I still do it at times but it happens with less frequency. In part because I now know to run things past Jonathan and so far we've been pretty decent about keeping each other in line. (We both have a nasty tendency to overcommit until we're reigned in!) So he counsels me and I counsel him and for the last 2 years we've been MUCH less stressed as a result.

Still, I fall behind projects I HAVE taken on. But that's because of mismanaged time. Currently it's because I'm playing too many games on the computer and staring off into space. I'm getting kind of tired of MYSELF! So I've repurposed to do at least ONE productive thing each day around the house so that I feel more on top of things.

J.Lynne said...

I am with Flamingo and Carrie. I feel like I tend to get on a track and stick there until a job is finished (even if it isn't an important task) while letting other things fall behind. Then I need to catch up on those and the cycle continues. I find that setting a timer for myself helps me move from task to task to accomplish more, even if it's not competely done exactly the way I would like it. Sometimes good enough needs to be enough. I am also guilty of kicking things out of my life that have the most long lasting impact (reading my Bible and excercising). Why does it always take us so long to realize that that is a major part of the reason why we are grumpy and sluggish?

Amy said...

It's easy to become over-committed because there are so many opportunities! I've learned (and often have to remind myself) that saying yes to anything is also saying no to something. This helps me think about what I really want to be saying yes to and how I want to invest my time and energy in this season of life!

Also, my calendar is my friend! First the big picture of advance planning, then taking time to plan my week in detail-- (using an index card for each day--it is portable so I can keep my to do list in front of me which keeps me focused, I can see each day separately to plan so that my days aren't too full, and I'm not looking at the whole week and feeling overwhelmed, taking it one day at a time). Then each evening reviewing my plan for the next day so that I get up and know what I'm doing instead of thinking about it. For me, planning is essential!

Usually when I feel over-committed it's because I haven't made REST a priority and often when I'm tired I'm less productive--so time management becomes an issue. Lately I've been planning one night a week to go to bed early--sometimes I'm asleep by 9 pm and other times I read until fairly late. It's just planning for REST! This has helped me tremendously!

All that to say, YES I relate Stephanie!!!!! This is what I'm learning...and it's a process!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I can relate to almost everything you've said here, Stephanie. I AM overcommitted, and at times I think I'm going to have to BE COMMITTED because of it. ;-)

I don't really have anything to add to the conversation. I just wanted to say that I relate.


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