Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting Through Grunt Work

I've been avoiding my blog recently because of my "must catch up"syndrome. I want to finish some posts about our Alaska trip and some of our summer fun before it is part of the way-too-distant past. But that will have to wait....

I really enjoy when my kids get out of school for the summer. I love the freedom of the schedule, the extra time together, being able to sleep in a little, going for fun outings, etc. But I think it really is about time for school to start again. We've done a lot this summer, but as the summer (and my pregnancy) progresses, my energy is waning. The kids are playing more Wii, we are eating more junk food, whining is getting louder, bedtimes are getting later and healthy home-cooked meals are getting rarer. The thought of having more structure to our schedule is actually beginning to sound like a pleasant change.

It doesn't help that the past few weeks I have been working on several projects for the choir that I assistant-direct. I (and the other behind-the scenes-people) have busy been preparing for auditions, scheduling a venue for our concert, ordering music and getting ready for our fall season to start. The unfortunate lot fell to me to make rehearsal CDs- mainly because I was the only person who had the equipment and know-how to do it (the person who used to make them left the group). So I have been spending hour upon hour painstakingly recording each part of each song, re-recording to fix mistakes, re-arranging the volume (so the part is louder than the accompaniment), exporting the files as mp3s, making a playlist to burn, burning the CDs one by one etc., etc., etc. (In fact, I am writing this post to pass time as I burn CDs.) In short, I have spent the last two weeks of my summer wasting weeks of sunshine on hours of nasty grunt work while my kids' brains are shriveling from too much TV. (To be fair, part of this has to do with exhaustion from pregnancy as well as the typical build up of household stuff on top of the choir tasks.)

Last night we finally had the auditions. It was very encouraging after weeks and weeks of work for what was beginning to feel like a "hypothetical" choir. We had a good turnout and some really great singers to choose from. It was great to see the returning singers at callbacks and enjoy the feeling of being amongst old friends -- some of them I haven't seen since our concert in May. But most of all, once we started singing and this actually became a "real" (vs. hypothetical, "being planned") choir, I remembered why I bother to do all this grunt work up front. There is something magical that happens when you get a group of good singers together and create music. There is such a rush of excitement and energy that comes from being with other people and working together to create something beautiful. Even though I'd had a busy, exhausting day, I felt a renewed burst of energy and enthusiasm for life.

It's always been a struggle as a mom to find the balance of caring for my children -and their practically insatiable demands of time and energy- with taking care of my own needs. Too often it seems that by the time I'm done taking care of only some of my "have-to-do's", my energy is sapped and doing anything interesting, fun or stimulating for me seems like way too much effort than it is worth. My own needs sometimes get pushed so far to the back burner that it's hard to even remember or think of what they might be.

I haven't found any magical answer. Finding balance is just plain difficult and I expect that it always will be... at least for the near future. But when I do get an opportunity to do something that helps me remember or resurrect the non-mommy side of myself, it makes the other responsibilities I have seem like less of a burden and more just like one of many facets of my life.


Emily Laing said...

I am trying to have "my needs" and no one is supportive...but I think I will go crazy if I don't find something that is just me...any suggestions? I'm not musical...

K kid said...

Like I said, I haven't found any magical answer and I still struggle with this (and feeling guilty when I DO take time for myself). But I would look for something that makes you happy or interested and excited.

It doesn't have to be a hobby or a project (although that can be a good place to start), it can just be getting a babysitter and going out to shop for a little while. Taking a break to read... Taking a class... Or going out for a girls night out to get dinner or dessert is always something I enjoy. But I have found that I have to be careful doing something that requires too much "support" from kids or husband. Then I get frustrated and upset when it doesn't pan out like it should (and it almost never does-- if Dave is required to watch the kids he WILL be late).

If you can find/afford a regular babysitter that is a huge help, but it's always hard for me to justify spending the $$. But men are that they might have joy, right? (And women too...) Not just that they might scrape through and go nuts in the process. =] And if you feel like you really have a need for something, don't just ignore that.

Sorry I'm not much help, but if you ever want to get out of the house and just hang out, give me a call. =]