I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s life is an organisational nightmare. I have calendars, diaries, checklist upon checklist to keep on top of my life. And that’s just me – throw into the mix CHILDREN and those lists implode!
I’m sure it wasn’t like this when I was growing up. My mum did a variety of jobs from night fill at Coles, to a teacher aid at my primary school. She regularly worked, but there always seemed to be time for other stuff too. When we were at home, I remember mum cooking or cleaning, while we played outside and kept out of her hair. Weekends were open opportunities for freedom, and every Saturday night was homemade pizza and home-brand cheezles while we all watched ‘Hey, Hey it’s Saturday’ on the loungeroom floor.
I always envisaged a similar family for myself, but I never really got there. I wonder – is that kind of life even possible these days?
Today society places a lot of pressure on parents and kids to be engaged, connected and purposeful at each minute of the day. As a parent, I feel guilt if I don’t set aside specific time for my children (one of the things on my checklists – ‘play with kids’), because if I’m not engaging with them and making their time ‘purposeful’ then they are drawn to the dreaded ‘screen’ (and that associates it’s own guilt!).
It’s not just pressure around my kids. I work from home quite a lot, so connecting with other motivated professionals is important to me. But lining up a time that suits each of my colleagues and friends seems rarer than winning the lotto! Everybody is battling their own ‘busy’.
Technology also keeps us ‘available’ 24/7. With a device in my hand constantly, I feel like I mustn’t let someone down when they ask a question or are reaching out to connect. The problem being, I usually fill every gap in my day with something for someone.
I often ponder, is this the stage of life I am in? Will this pass? Or is filling my life to within an inch of itself a conscious choice I make, to feel successful, validated and purposeful?
While I don’t have the answer, I know that only I can be in control of my life. If our core values are to be family focused, we need to assess whether our day to day ‘busy’ is following those values. We will always have the push and pull of work and home life, however we are the only ones who can put weight on either side when it is required.
So, in the absence of ‘Hey, Hey it’s Saturday’, choose a few things that you value and enjoy and write it on one of your lists. Don’t feel tempted to bump the things that fill your bucket and allow some ‘spaces’ in your life where you can do nothing at all.
Life is not the same today as in the 80s, but the relationships we have with our children are timeless. We don’t need to have a family meal at the table every night if it’s not possible, but we do need to be flexible in finding another time. Kids still need our time, and we also need a bit of time for ourselves.
(Unless we can find an extra few hours in the day? If you find them, please let me know)