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Simplify November 30, 2010

Posted by Judy in Musings.

Every married couple has their one or two things about which they argue, and DH and I are no exception.  So last night, mid argument, DH said some things that made me go, “Hmmm . . . . . I REALLY need to get my life together.”  It was kind of a wake up call for me.  For the past few months, I’d been feeling like I was on this speeding and out of control train, with no way to get off.  At first I attributed it to the final months of pregnancy, in their hot and swollen glory.  Then “being in a newborn haze” got the blame.  Now that DS2 is 4 months old, I can’t really say that I’m in a “newborn haze”, and I’m clearly not still pregnant with him. =)  Yet, I’m still on that speeding and out of control train.

I’ve come to realize that I’ve gotten back to the point where I am so crazy busy that I have no time to even think or breathe, hence, the speeding train.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been here . . . . about 8 or 10 years ago I found myself totally swamped working 2 or 3 jobs, going to grad school and trying to hold down a social life.  I remember reading this book called “Take Time for Your Life” which was pivotal in helping me simplify my life.  I frankly don’t remember what it was that I did, but I DO remember being much less busy and finding myself being much happier.

Fast forward to now . . . . with 3 children aged 3 and under, there is no way I’m going to find time to read that book again.  But I’m older and wiser now, or so I’d like to think, and I have some ideas of my own on how to simplify my life.  I started by thinking back to 2.5 years ago, when we first moved.  DS1 was still taking two naps a day, and I had 3 hours or so to do whatever I wanted.  That was when I started this blog, really got into sewing, and just still managed to have time to relax.  I’m certain that the reason this ISN’T the case now has less to do with having 3 children than with having too many irons in the fire, too much on my plate, too many plates in the air.  Sooo, task number one, identify all of the plates and decide which ones were expendible.

As I thought about what gobbled up my time, I came up with this list:

  • constantly checking email
  • trolling Craigslist
  • shooting the breeze on the forums of Thebabywearer (TBW)
  • reading blogs and finding great tutorials
  • sewing projects
  • Facebook
  • managing a household

Five of the seven things involved using the computer . . . . . I spend all together TOO. MUCH. TIME. in front of the computer, and I can’t say that it’s a good thing.  So the first thing to go was Facebook.  I was kinda torn on this one, because I really have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends from high school and college as well as former students.  It’s also been a useful place to get advice on a myriad of things.  But in the end, when I really thought about it,  being on FB didn’t actually improve the quality of my life.  If I had all the time in the world, sure, I’d keep doing the FB thing.  But I don’t, and I had to trim the fat, so to speak.  I guess I feel about FB the same way that I feel about watching TV.  It’s a fun activity while I’m engaged in it, but after it’s over, 90% of the time I don’t think about it at all.  I’m rambling, so I’ll move on.

I’m still on the fence as to what, if anything, should go next.  I will be spending less  time on TBW   . . . .  I’m not totally abandoning this forum because it’s the one place where I can get advice from and give advice to mamas with similar parenting philosophies.  Outside of TBW mamas, I pretty much have one friend who is a babywearer, and only sort of, at that.  So I’ll continue to post there, and to go to babywearing meetings, because BW’ing and attachment parenting are a huge part of who I’ve become.  But yes, I’ll be cutting back on the time I spend there.

Craigslist has this weird effect on me . . . when I’m looking for something, whether it be a dresser or a sewing machine or a toy, I get obsessed with checking it like 500 times a day to try to find said thing.  Although I’ve found some really great things there, I’m kinda thinking I should take a break from that as well.  Besides, part of the simplification process involves organizing and simplifying the “stuff” in the house, as well.

Email is here to stay.  The real problem with email is that I’m addicted to free.  I. LOVE. FREECYCLE.  So I find myself checking my email countless times a day to see if anything interesting has come up.  Not that I actually NEED anymore clothing or toys for the kids, or anything else, for that matter.  But, like I said, I’m addicted to free.  I think my solution is going to be to limit my computer time to an hour a day.  So that means that all emailing, TBW’ing and blog reading has to fit into that time.  We’ll see how that works, but it’s a good starting point.

Sewing projects . . . . this one is HUGE!  I’m just now getting to the point where I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel.  For a while, there, I had so many projects to do that I was immobilized and just didn’t even know where to start.  I’m currently working on a HUGE organizational project with the kiddies.  Once that is done, I have one more big thing to do, and then a bunch of little things.  I’d REALLY like to get back to the place where I can say “Hmm . . . DS1 needs a pair of pants” and then I can go do it, that day, rather than having to put it at the bottom of a very long list.  My goal is to get to this lovely place by the end of this year.

So then what will I do with my time once I’ve simplified. . . .  that’s easy

  1. spend more time with God, or better said, spend ANY time at all with Him.  At this point, it just isn’t happening, which is definitely contributing to the “speeding train” issue.
  2. spend more time interacting with the kiddies.  I’m blessed to have two little ones who can play for hours on their own.  But, I’ve noticed that their behavior has gotten quite crazy as of late, and I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m just not spending enough time with them.
  3. spend more time with my spouse.  I don’t mean watching TV together, or sitting in the same room and being on the computer, cuz in my book, that doesn’t count as together time.  I’m thinking actually spending  time talking or playing games or studying the Bible together . . . .things that will actually improve our lives.

Phew . . . this has turned into a loooong post!  Mostly this post was for me, to help me get my thoughts organized, you just got to sit in on my cogitations, lucky you, right? =)

I suppose some of you might be wondering where blogging is going to fit into all of this . . . . well, now that my time isn’t going to be filled with coming up with clever little FB status updates, I’ll have more time to actually sit down and blog all of the things that were getting crowded out by FB.  I’m hoping to blog at least once a week, and then once my life has reached the simplified state, several times a week, maybe even daily, well see how that goes.



1. Claudine - November 30, 2010

Simplification is a very good reminder to me. Thank you for your post. I have taylored my computer time down somewhat by just not checking fb and email as much during the day, but it is a problem. When I go into computer drone mode, Z1 and Z2 lose out.

May you find the right balance for you and your little family. Can’t wait until we can get out two famiilies together some day! If you ever bring them near us LET ME KNOW!

Judy - December 1, 2010

Well put, Claudine. I especially like your choice of words “computer drone mode” . . . that’s absolutely how I was finding myself, and my kiddies suffer. And you know, there are very few things that are more important then spending tiem with your kids. And yes, getting our families together would be great fun!

2. Lara - December 4, 2010

What a great post. I, too, am at a point in life where I need to simplify and organize and get back to basics. Thanks for giving me some thoughts to think on. 🙂

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