Monday, March 30, 2009

The Berenstain Bears

My kids usually watch a cartoon at bedtime, and The Berenstain Bears is sometime the cartoon of choice. The kids enjoy The Berenstain Bears, we have dozens of their books. I like them because they always have a subtle life lesson that they share.

Tonight the kids watched an episode while I rushed around putting away some laundry and organizing some things for tomorrow morning. As I was passing through the room I heard Mama Bear despairing about being so busy all of the time. She caught my ear and I decided to take a few minutes and sit down with the kids to watch the rest of the show.

The Bears seemed to be living our life. Mama Bear and Papa Bear were busy with work, PTA meetings, volunteer work and housekeeping. Brother Bear and Sister Bear were involved in karate, dance, swimming, soccer, baseball and other activites beyond school. (side note: apparently the Berenstain's weren't very creative with names).

As usual the Bears concluded the show by realizing how they were headed down the wrong path. As they became confused about where they were going next, and ultimately missed some activities because they were so busy they forgot to get their car repaired, the family finally decided they were doing too much. Grandma Bear, who was frustrated that she couldn't get on their calendar for dinner, pointed out to them that there is a difference between 'doing and over-doing.'

The family then sat down and decided what they really wanted to keep doing, and what activities they could live without. As I sat watching the show, I felt like I was being given a 'sign' or a reminder that I need to slow down. I say it all the time, 'we should try to be less busy.' But, then I go on and sign the kids up for the next activity, and I commit to the next committee myself. Maybe I should be listening to more to Grandma Bear.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seasons of Your Life

Today I received a note from letting me know that my blog received a rating of 6.2 (out of a possible 10) in their recent review of my blog. At first I was dissapointed, but then I read their criteria which included frequency of updates. As its been more than 2 weeks since my last post, I guess am not surprised at the rating. When I started this blog, I committed to posting two times a week and I did so for nearly two years. But, last fall when I took on a full-time teaching position, I decided to let go a little and just post when I had time. Lately, I just haven't had time.

I probably could find time. I pick my kids up from school each day at 3pm. But, because their school is also a day care center, I could pick them up later. In fact, I could pick them up at 6pm each day and have a lot more time to post in my blog and get ahead on some projects. However, right now the kids aren't involved in a lot of activities and so I can enjoy just hanging out with them. We don't have much more time like this, and since I do have the flexibility in my work to allow me to pick them up early now, I will continue to let some things slide.

I was involved in a program last week with our local YWCA which provided women leaders support in finding work/life balance. As part of the program, I facilitated a panel discussion with some successful female leaders who shared their experiences. One of the executives on the panel mentioned how her work and life balance strategies changed as she moved through the seasons of her life. The point of 'seasons of your life' came up several times in our discussion. The idea is that at different times in your life, you have different needs and opportunities for work/life balance. This executive, for example, currently has children in high school and her career is at a steady point. So she is now pursuing more personal interests. She discussed earlier seasons when she was more focused on her kids, or more focused on her career.

And so while I continue to work to promote more family friendly work opportunities, during this season of my life, I may not spend as much time as I did in the past (or will in the future) on some activities such as this blog. But seasons change, and my interests and free time will as well.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rainy day

I love Sundays around my house. I enjoy getting up and not having to be anywhere. It doesn't happen every week, but more often than not, Sunday is a free day for us. My kids call them 'stay home days.' Today was a rainy day, which I actually enjoy even more. There is something about being snug in your home with your family while it rains (or snows) outside, and knowing that you don't need to go anywhere.

Today was very productive, although that is not a requirement for a free day. Sometimes an unproductive day is even more fun. Just playing games, reading, or catching some TV is a good way to enjoy a day. But I have a busy week ahead of me and getting some things done around the house today will make the week go a little easier.

We probably should make an effort to plan more free days. Sometimes I regret the fact that we even need to plan to get a free day. Our lives are generally over scheduled, over planned. But unlike many families I know, at least we do get our free days in.