Friday, January 7, 2011

And the Word Is . . .

Nights got worse before they got better. I was up till 1 am working on my class. I went to bed, thinking I would get five hours of sleep before the morning chaos began.
I was wrong.
At 4 am, these two little boys decided to get the flu. Alternating complaints between them, I spent much of the next two hours in the bathroom, finding bowls and creating makeshift beds.
I still had to be out the door by 8:30 to teach at 9, so it was an exhausting day. Blessedly, one of my friends brought over dinner, so I at least got a short nap. And I was in bed at 9. So today's got to be a little better, right?

Amidst all this confusion and sickness, I've still been pondering my word and my goal for 2011.  Today's January seventh, and I feel like I've almost missed the resolution bus this year.  I guess this week's level of insanity should have helped me see where I should be headed and what I should amend--so crazy, buried under a holiday avalanche, always too much to do and not enough time in a day and a night to accomplish it all.

Brad suggested to me that I keep a time journal for a week, to see where I'm actually spending my time.  I faithfully logged every activity, down to time in the shower, for 40 hours.  At 40 hours, I somehow lost the notebook.  That is not like me at all.  Luckily, forty hours was enough to give me a dose of reality--I demand too much of myself.  That's very difficult for me to admit.  Very.  I've always thought I could do it all--at least everything I deemed important.  But I'm realizing that I can't.  I can't squeeze 20 hours' worth of work into 16 hours every day.  It just can't happen.  So what am I supposed to do?

A few of the words I've batted around this week are these--build, enjoy, simplify. 

I really liked build.  It satisfied the overachiever in me--make something better, improve.  I could focus on building better relationships with others, building my family's self-esteem, building my strength, etc.  I thought this one was it for an entire day.  Then I started swimming in my already-brimming life and realized that this one wasn't it, as much as I wanted it to be.

I then progressed to enjoy.  And why I thought this, I don't know.  Although I do feel stressed about my class and all the time it takes, I love teaching.  As many hours a day as it takes to mother my large family, I rarely begrudge those hours folding and cleaning and helping and dressing and changing.  I enjoy my job as mom.  This one wasn't quite right, either.

What about simplify, then?  What can I cut out of my life and not miss?  Or at least not miss for the time being?  I tried cutting out exercise for the last two weeks, cutting out park day, cutting out cooking decent meals.  And those holes were filled with other things, leaving me void of some of the good things in my life.  Either I was simplifying wrong, or this one wasn't right either.

I've finally returned to the word that I thought all along.  I didn't want to use this one, thinking it was too simple and not challenging enough to focus an entire year around.  It was easy.  Most people do this all the time, don't they?  Here's my word for 2011:
Simple enough, right?

It sounds so easy.  But I know this is going to be a challenge for me.  It will necessitate careful time management and evaluation.  I will need to be honest with myself about how much time tasks actually take, and not try squeezing in "just one more thing."  And to start with a clean slate, I must admit that I will be cutting down my time in the blogosphere. 

The best thing about balance is that I don't have to eliminate anything.  I just have to find the right weight distribution to include all the good things in my life.  Will that take effort?  Yes.  Self-discipline?  Yes.

I'm up for the challenge.  Hopefully I'll have a plan of attack together for Monday.  One thing I will say, I don't back down from a challenge. 
Bring it on.


  1. Balance is Great!
    We had FHE on Monday and talked about what we want to focus on in 2011, we decided it would be JOY...creating it by the daily choices we make.
    I think it's important and helpful to start the New Year with a specific purpose leading the way.
    Balance is always needed!

  2. that was my word last year! still trying to achieve it over here. xoxo

  3. oh, yes. I like balance. And I like reading your journey getting to it.

  4. I think I finally have found some balance in my old age. (It gets a bit easier once the kids leave home!)

    I've chosen a word today, too. It's more philosophical, because waxing philosophical is something I have time to do now that I am all alone in my nest.


    PS. Good luck finding the balance. It's a great goal, and I agree that you are up to the challenge!

  5. As long as you aren't trying to balance on a tightrope. I hope everyone quits hurling soon.

  6. Everything is blown out of perspective when you have sick kiddos and you are running low on the one thing that will see you through. Well okay two things, a little faith and a lot of sleep. I can't and DON'T function at all when I'm tired and run down.
    The great thing about being low and at the end of your rope is exactly like you said it, "it can only get better." Just breathe.
    Hugs to ya.

  7. I think that is a great word for you and it really contains all the things you were looking for. Ours is similar- focus. To focus on who and what matters and forget all the things that don't is the goal. Good luck to you! Love your new pictures!

    P.S. Wish I was closer- I would bring you my homemade soup I keep in the freezer for sick days...

  8. This is a perfect word. Well done with the illustrations, too. This is something I could definitely work on, too.

    Did I tell you I love the new header. Your family is beautiful. You have the family I've always wanted and always wanted to be a part of growing up. Lucky girl. :)

  9. Balance. That just brings it all home, doesn't it? If you have balance then everything else falls into place. Good word. Worthy of you.

  10. Balance is wonderful because it provides some needed ZEN in your hectic life! Hope the kids are feeling better!!

  11. Love it! The ever elusive balance, hope you figure it out. I think that's a great mindset to start the new year. Give yourself a break until everyone stops throwing up, nothing makes sense when you only get a tiny bit of sleep and you're cleaning up ick everywhere. Hope it doesn't take down the whole family this weekend.

  12. Balance is a GREAT goal. I would like more balance and peace in my life.

  13. Funny how you have so many kids and I only have one, and yet I'm still trying to work on this.

  14. gotta tell ya, i LOVE this word. still grappling it in my life as well. we'll see if balancing doesn't come into part of my word for me as well this year (mine's 'perseverance'). :D

    by the time that i made it to your teeter-totter photos at the bottom, i was CONVINCED your word this year was going to be 'play!' i like that word too. :) i would've been UBER jealous if that was this year's word. mine sounds like so much work, and play sounds like so much more fun, lol. so you can understand where i was starting to envy those pictures. :)

    but balance is a phenomenal word. be sure to keep notes on just how you're achieving this, that way the rest of us will know the secret as well. ;) all teasing aside, really a great word.

    watch out 2011, cause we're all coming at ya in a fierce way!

    p.s. if there's less of you in the blogosphere, know that we'll miss you. but we totally got yer back, chica.

  15. Believe me, my dear, you'd be number one...but he was cute. And he smelled like cookies. :)

    You're a close second. Because you're cute and I bet you also smell like cookies. :D

  16. I bet that last comment will really confuse anyone who comments after me. Tee hee hee. :)


  17. Balance....what a great word you chose for 2011. It's going to be interesting seeing how your year is going to pan out as you try to achieve balance in your life. Good luck to you and I hope both your boys are on their way to recovery from the flu!

  18. This is a perfect word Jen and it's one I hold dear in my heart!! I love how you wrote, balance means not having to eliminate anything...just making them all fit and work in your life. SO true!
    Don't feel behind the "resolution 8-ball"...I'm still looking for a word too!:)
    Enjoy your balance filled weekend!

  19. Well if it's any comfort to you, you're ahead of ME on the whole resolution / goal thing!! And I love that you chose balance, it's something I truly struggle with - I'll be observing closely ;-)

    Hope you get some well deserved REST this weekend, Jen!!

  20. I guess that's something to work on through all stages in life. Hopefully I figure it out sometime soon.
    And to answer your question, yes, I'm fine. Thanks for checking. It was a rough day. Found out I'm still not accepted in the music program, so I was having one of those "I'm feeling stuck and have no clue what to do with my life" days. But it's a lot better now. Tucker made me make a whole chart of different plans and stuff to make me see straight, and it helped a lot. :)

  21. You found the word you need - balance.
    I always ask new applicants at work what it is they do to provide balance in their life. It's a good question for all of us.
    Of course, when you're a mum with young children, balance takes on a whole other meaning, is full of challenge and very, very necessary! Good Luck!

  22. A friend of mine showed me your blog today of a post from last January in sacrament. What you wrote brought me great peace. Thank you. Balance is one of the things that I work on all the time being RS president and a full-time teacher and mother to two teens, and husband that sometimes feels like a teen. Heavenly Father shows me often how to balance my life. I know he will show you too!