Balancing Acts

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Beginning in March, my life will be a stay-at-home mom by day, student by night, and employee by/on(?) weekends.  I just got hired at a food co-op, an industry I actually care about (natural and organic foods).  I’m one of those people who always has about seven different projects going on at once, just as my mind is like having seven tabs on the computer open at the same time.  I won’t have as much time for writing as I do now; l miss that extra time already.  Perhaps that’s why I’ve been burning the two a.m. oil every night this week, trying to make up for time I haven’t spent yet.

I have a novel (“The Rise and Fall of Alfred Bomber”) that, after eleven years in the can, I’m going to finish editing and submit to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest; the book is about a Mormon missionary who returns to his hometown of Sidney, Montana (where I was a live-in nanny for nine months about a decade ago) to find that his brother has come out of the closet.  There is also the subplot of the mysterious and elusive “Summertime Rapist” who haunts the tween girls of the town, as he only attacks after the final thaw.

Then there are the three novelettes (see the Sarah Lea Sales page) I am editing for submission to Amazon for digital publication, as there isn’t much of a market for novelettes.

I am also querying and entering as many contests as I can.  My goal, once I start this full-plated schedule, it to submit at least one piece a week, while producing at least one piece or chapter of a longer work in that same time frame.

Since becoming a wife and mother, no longer living solely for myself, I’ve learned to manage my time better.  I think that [time management] is the key to prosperity (see Dave Ramsey’s list, “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day”).  I simply don’t have the time to accomplish all I want to if I spend too much of it watching TV.  I’ve since learned to be choosier with what programs I spend time watching.

I discussed the list with my parents, who interpreted it in an entirely different way than I did.  They saw the list as effects breeds the cause, whereas I saw it as the opposite.  The reason the poor watch so much reality TV, they said, is because that’s all they can afford to do.  They can’t afford to go to plays and to the opera and such.

I saw it as if you don’t spend too much time watching reality TV, but doing (not watching) something more productive, you’re more likely to be successful.  I’m not saying everyone who watches reality TV is a cretin (Megyn Kelly watches “The Bachelor”), but I know television watching has taken the place of book reading for many as the preferred form of entertainment.  When one watches a television program, they don’t have to use their imaginations, but when one reads a book, their imaginations have to fill in the blanks.  One of the preschool teachers at my and my husband’s church said that it wasn’t unheard of for one of her students to inform her that there weren’t any books in their house.  Some didn’t even know how to use a crayon!

What many people don’t understand is that kids don’t have to be entertained all the time.  They may whine at first about wanting to watch TV, and parents let them because it assuages their guilt (that’s my armchair diagnosis), but they’ll get over it and find something else to do.  I think all kids have imaginations–they just need to be given the opportunity to use them.  Maybe kids just don’t have enough work to do anymore to keep them busy.  I told my husband if Hannah ever says she’s bored, she’ll be given something to do that won’t be fun.  That is one sentence I am not going to put up with hearing in my house.

It seemed to bother one of my friends quite a bit when her young daughter said their house was boring.  A few of us told her to give the girl some chores.  What kids need to realize is that life isn’t going to be exciting all the time.  Sometimes it’s routine and mundane, and that’s okay.  There is a time for everything.

I’m no fan of Dr. Phil, but I did agree with him when he said bored people were boring.  I have to say, though I find some things boring, I, myself, am never bored.  I’m not a workaholic (I’m a big believer in having a work-life balance), but I do believe staying busy keeps us happy, as long as we make time for our family and friends.

If we have too much on our plate, we put too much stress on our body, but if we have too little, it leaves us feeling unsatisfied.  As long as we’re always working to achieve that balance, we can live full, happy lives.

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