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I Feel Like an Egg
A fried one, that is. Or perhaps it's more like a little scrambled.

I'm a little tired this morning. I remember when my children were babies, and one night I left them with Keith so I could walk down to Fabricland--alone--and buy something for a new sewing pattern. I was only gone for about 45 minutes, but it was bliss. I was thinking about something for myself, and I didn't have any babies hanging off of me. It was "me" time, and though I didn't have much of it, when it did come along, it renewed me. It's funny the things we think of as treats when we have babies. Even escaping to the grocery store on our own can be a break.

Now my children are older and I don't have to worry about the diaper bag, but I still find myself feeling a little fried.

I've been writing a lot lately about time management, because it's something I've been thinking and praying about quite a bit. I'm busy, like we all are, but it seems like it's all important stuff. So where do I cut?

This fall has been really full. I've been speaking a ton on the weekends, which is great, but it does take a lot out of me. I've been good at managing my time--all the things I've written about lately really do help. But there's a point where you can't just move stuff around. You can't squeeze anything more juice out of that lemon.

Here's my problem: all during the week I'm homeschooling my kids. I honestly love that, and I do spend a lot of time with them. Their friends come over and we do stuff together. We're starting a homeschooling co-op in January, and again, I really love the other homeschooling kids in the area that are the same age as my kids. So I'm looking forward to it.

But in the middle of all the homeschooling I'm also cooking, and doing laundry, and mopping floors, and ironing, and all those things that have to get done. While they're at piano I'm running to the bank and the occasional dry cleaners. I'm taking the car in for oil changes. You get the picture.

So I spend my week trying to squeeze in all the things I need to get done. Then, at the back of my mind, I'm thinking about the speaking engagement that's coming up that weekend. And then, when the weekend hits, I hit the highway and away I go.

Often it's just for a Saturday (I've only done three complete weekends so far this year), but what that means is that I lose the day that would normally have been for me. I have no downtime.

And it's that downtime I think I need. It's not that I don't enjoy speaking--I do. But a lot of what I speak about is rather heavy. It's not all heavy. I have quite the comedy routine I do at the beginning, which is a lot of fun. And it involves a Barbie. You can see part of it here. After the laughs, however, when we get serious, I end up sharing my testimony, which includes talking about the hurts in my life, including my son dying. It's hard talking about that so often.

And when I do the big conferences, we inevitably get deeper into the subject of suffering--are you relying on your life to make you happy, or are you able to say that no matter what happens, God is enough? It's an important question, and it's one that we all need to deal with at some point. Today, though, I'm wishing that I didn't have to deal with it all the time.

Yesterday I did take a day all to myself. I sat down and I started a new knitting pattern that I really enjoy, and it's knitting up really quickly. I think I'm going to like the finished product. And I need more of that.

But what I also need is a sense from God of where my limit is. I love speaking. I want to speak. Because I homeschool, I can speak without abandoning my children, because I am home so much during the week. But I'm starting to realize that I can't just abandon me time. We need that me time.

Do you ever feel like that? If you have young children I'm sure you do. If you try to balance a job outside the home with mothering I'm sure you do, too. Sometimes it's not that we're not managing our time well; it's that we need more time for personal renewal. Susanna Wesley, the great mother of the faith from the eighteenth century (she was mother to evangelists and composers John and Charles Wesley), raised twelve children in a tiny home. Periodically she would go into her kitchen and throw her apron over her head as a symbol that she was "praying" and no one was to bother her.

I think I need to throw my apron over my head a little more often. I'm looking at my winter and spring schedule and I've decided to cut down on speaking. Several publishers are looking at one of my book proposals, and if that gets bought, I want to spend some time writing this year. I just need to be able to focus on me, just for a little while. I don't think it's selfish; I think it's realistic. Are any of you feeling the same way? Have any advice for me, or for each other? Tell me in the comments!

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At 8:51 AM , Blogger LAURA said…

I don't think I would survive without my ME time! Usually I get time to myself by going to the coffee shop, getting a drink and reading or working through my Bible study for a few hours. I do that once a week. It's necessary. I feel refreshed after some time alone.

Some people think it is selfish. I do not. Not even close. I spend 95% of my time thinking about everyone else. It's ok for me to want to get away and be "selfish" for a few hours. Anyways... if I'm drained and worn out all the time I will become useless to everyone else who relies on me.

We all need times of rest and sometimes that just means saying no to things that we think are important or we would like to do. But I have found that no one has ever truly suffered when I said no to something. :) And a lot of times when I have said no it has left an open door for someone else to step in to or allowed someone to step up in life. Had I said yes those people wouldn't have had their chance to grow.


At 8:58 AM , Anonymous Melinda said…

Yes! Yes! Yes! I can so relate! Right now I feel more like an out-of-control omelet that someone emptied the refrigerator into - way too much of everything!

I knew it was coming to a head when I burst into tears on Sunday morning trying to explain to a dear friend why I couldn't teach Sunday School next quarter.

She very lovingly told me that it may be time to "come away my beloved".

She's so right. It is time to come away and find rest for my soul. It's time to re-evaluate my schedule so I don't get left behind. I don't want to just be busy, I want to be effective.

Great post!


At 9:06 AM , Blogger Courtney Kirkland said…

I can totally and completely agree with this post. I know exactly how you feel. I have a pretty good grip on time management, but having a toddler leaves me exhausted and weary at the end of day. Most days resulting in me doing nothing for myself other than just collapsing into bed.

A trip to WalMart is like taking a vacation to the Carribean most days, and I am trying so hard to start incorporating more me time.

Hope you find your limit and a better balance to keep you from burning out. Happy Thanksgiving!


At 3:32 PM , Blogger Kelli said…

Although you feel your calling to speak and share Jesus with others, He has given you the gift of a family and I don't think there's antything wrong with cutting back on your speaking to spend time with family. When I was contimplating staying at home when my daughter had just turned a year (I taught middle school then), a wise friend told me to take action on the things I would regret later on in life. If I would regret not staying at home with my babies, then I needed to stay at home with them and quit teaching for the time being. I can always go back to teaching. If you're going to look back and regret not spending more family time with your family, then cut back on other things, like speaking. God WILL honor this. Why do you think He gave us a day of rest. He knew we would need it and after all, it is a COMMANDMENT, not a suggestion. =)

I love reading your blog and love the fact that you are so REAL and TRANSPARENT to your readers. Makes us feel human too. God bless.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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