I can’t seem to keep some of the details of life in line. We have a crazy busy life with tons of arrangements and things to remember every day. With four kids and two busy adults, it’s a complicated dance. Then, this past year, we SLOWED way down. Except we didn’t.
Now, there isn’t any routine. Every week feels like something has changed. School is in-person two days or three days or four days with different kids at different schools. Some need to remember their Chromebook every day and some don’t. Some can bring a snack and some can’t. Some have to quarantine for 14 days if we go away for the weekend and some don’t. A runny nose can completely derail all the plans. Meets afterschool, virtual parent meetings, and school-wide events add to the schedule.
I have forgotten to get my kids from school twice in the past month. Once I remembered before they made it back into the office to call home (of course it was the coldest day of the year) and once a friend that lives near the school texted to tell me my kids were sitting on the sidewalk and did I need her to drop them at home? The #momguilt was terrible.
What is going on?
Our life doesn’t feel manageable. And, frankly, I’m not managing it well. It’s like my brain is an earlier version of my smart phone. You know, when the storage was full and you couldn’t take any more pictures so it just didn’t save the new photo?
That’s me right now. I’m just not saving the information.
All the effort I have to give is taken up trying to make decisions about safety and whether or not we are making the right choices. It’s also spent trying to pay attention to how my kids are doing because I don’t want to miss if this situation is really messing with them. But really, how can it not be?? How can I create the space I need to listen to what they are not saying?
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a colleague. He’s a sales guy and he checks in every month or so with little tidbits of info and to connect. He told me his wife works at a bank and they had a training recently.
They told the managers at the financial institution they needed to reframe the way they were managing. They said instead of employees and supervisors managing time, they needed to manage energy.
Manage energy? So, instead of thinking about what fits in the schedule each day and what will get done, people need to manage what can be accomplished given the available energy.
What a concept. What if I thought about my life as managing energy? If I have X amount of energy in a single day I need to prioritize my efforts on the most important things such as picking my kids up from school, making food, and reading with my kids.
Some days I have more energy than others so I can attend to the things that aren’t getting done as regularly. I can also pay close attention to when my energy is getting low and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Then, I need to focus on recharging.
Right now, I am more overwhelmed while accomplishing less.
That is very frustrating and uncomfortable for me. Perhaps by organizing my life focused on energy instead of tasks, I can see a way to open up more space for remembering the important things. It would be like a smartphone that prioritizes saving the most valuable photos instead of the most recent.
Are there other ways you’re finding to manage this crazy time?
Am I the only one overwhelmed? Are you, too, struggling to balance all the things when it seems like there are fewer things? Please, tell us what’s working for you.