Where the Time Goes

This photo of my younger seems like it was taken yesterday. Where does time go?

For the past four months, I’ve been wondering where the time goes.   Over the summer, I attended a yoga class, blogged somewhat regularly, wrote some other not-ready-for-publication stuff, and occasionally took care of the garden and yard.  I was certain that, once back in the homeschooling routine that I’d find time to continue yoga on my own, meditate daily, read the New York Times each morning, catch up on the thousands of pages of books stacked around the house, write daily and complete some pieces for publication), catch up on my continuing medical education, knit socks for the family, and cure the common cold.  While the last item may have been a stretch, in those delusional moments of August, I felt sure I’d accomplish all that.  Oh, yeah.  And I’d homeschool my kids, re-learning trigonometry and teaching chemistry (last formallyy visited 20 years ago) to my older and his friend.

Now, had I hired a housekeeper, handyperson, personal chef, and errand-runner and given up sleep, I might have had a chance.  Or not.  Hey, I’m an at-home mom who only works outside the home a few mornings a month.  I have kids of Useful Ages, at least in theory.  I should be able to fit all this stuff in or at least find more time to floss.

I know I’m not alone out there.  Homeschooling mom friends, I’m always relieved to see that your home looks as live-in as mine.  I’ve never needed nor desired perfection in housecleaning, but homeschooling drove that relaxed-house-look, well, home in a whole new way.  We’re here.  All the time.  Except when we’re running out the door to Somewhere Else.  Then we drop everything where we are and go.  Thus the very lived-in looking home.  Not dangerous but comfortable.

I keep looking for the rhythm to our lives to beat strongly enough for me to clap along.  For part of a day, we’ll have some flow, but just when I’m coasting down the lazy river with a child and his Lord of The Rings literary study, wham!  Rapids and rocks and even occasional waterfalls break our tenuous rhythm.  And it doesn’t take much.  A phone call, a panic over a math problem that doesn’t come out right the first time, or even a trip to the basement by mom to move the laundry.  It takes very little to upset our beat.  Restoring it takes something akin to cardioversion by electric shock.

Enter winter break. For 17 days, we’ve been on break. Aside from reminding both children to practice piano (okay, not for the days surrounding Christmas) and prompting my older son to finish some loose ends due next week, we’ve been off the homeschooling treadmill. Not that it’s all been sunshine and lollipops or even productivity for mom. The week before the holiday was filled with, well, getting ready for the holiday. The days after were all about doing nothing. The good kind of doing nothing, filled with relative contentment and no thoughts of the next day until it appeared. Ah.

But sure as a late December thaw is followed by January’s customary frigidity, winter break exits and Ordinary Time returns. Back to assignments, deadlines, children to coax, lessons to plan, and all that makes up daily life. Hopefully, back to a rhythm, one more stable than before the cacophony right before Christmas and more ambitious than the week after (but, oh, I loved that week). Back to searching for time to write, to knit, to read, to play, to just be. Back to the more scheduled life that soothes my younger. Back to the expectations that vex my older.

My hope is to return to all that with a bit of the peace I found the week after Christmas and a pinch more prioritizing than the preceding fall held. I hope to find more time to do what I love without living in squalor, without cereal and toast for meals. After all, it’s the new year, a time of hope and plans. While I remain resolutely opposed to resolutions, I’m optimistically open to opportunities this time of year presents. So where will the time go this year? I’ll let you know.

How do you find time to do what is close to your heart without neglecting the very real world around you? What do you let go to make the most of the time you have?  Perhaps most importantly, how do you accept the limits of time and enjoy what comes?

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4 thoughts on “Where the Time Goes

  1. Hi, I hate to even say this, but enjoying life / my children is definitely made easier with a good income. That being said, I still drive an 02 olds, don’t spend much on my clothes/ shoes, never get my hair cut or nails done – never. And I moved into a cheaper neighborhood and a smaller house so I have more spending money.

    So with the money I do have I spend it on a family membership to our local rec center and pay for my daughter to have two classes per week – like swim and gymnastics. While she is at class at the rec center I swim or work out on the weights, so I get me time. Then we go a 3ed time together!

    I’m also lucky right now, my older son takes my 6 year old daughter to school so I can start work at 7 AM and be home picking up my daughter by 4:45 so that we have an actual evening before we have to go to bed and do it all again.

    For me I totally let the kitchen go and have very simple meals and cleaning in general is quite lax (except the bathroom, which I do all I can to keep clean!! LOL ).

    I’m pretty happy with my balance right now. : )

    Happy New Year, Vicki

    • Vicki, you’re so right about adequate income helping out. For all our challenges around here, we’re not struggling that way. Clothes, shoes, fancy trips (okay, any trips other than visiting my out-of-town folks), and new trappings for the house aren’t big starters. Piano lessons and karate (we all participate) are bigger financial priorities for us now. I’m glad your finding balance right now. Overall, I’m happy with life, but sometimes I focus on what I’m NOT accomplishing and forget to remember the good stuff going on.
      Sarah

  2. Sarah,
    I think we are both reflecting on similar themes this New Year! I have found that my newfound sense of authority has given me strength to do the things that are important to me. For example, I had the children unload the dishwasher and wash the dirty dishes while I did a half hour of yoga. I refuse to listen to the whining when I ask my kids to go to bed a half hour earlier than usual (which is quite late to begin with). This gives me more time to write or plan or organize in the evening. I have the luxury of making my husband a list. Just having him do a load of laundry a day for me is a huge time relief. I think part of homeschooling is showing our children, by example, what a healthy, happy, balanced adult looks like. That adult doesn’t sacrifice EVERYTHING to the point of exhaustion. The give what they can while also persuing their own happiness, their own path to peace. Thanks for sharing your journey with the rest of us, Sarah.

    • Carving out that time for self is important, even if it’s brief. I’ve often joked that an advantage to divorce is two evenings a week in my home. While the 24/7 nature of homeschooling solo is quite an endurance feat, the breaks make it doable. Congrats on being able to block the whining. I have trouble turning that channel off in my mind but am working at it. Thanks for your input, Melinda!

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