Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time Management

I went to a symposium this weekend – completely for personal enrichment! I had decided to stay at a hotel one block from the one where the symposium was being held, for a variety of reasons. I had checked the distance and even seen the street on Google Earth, so I was confident that I was still close enough. I did have a car, but figured I could easily walk the distance; after all, I'm the mom who lets my kids walk. I should be setting the example.

I discovered the first morning that one block still wasn't close enough. I left my hotel room 5 minutes before the first session of the day and was almost race-walking the one city block. The same phenomenon occurred several more times where I was on such a tight schedule trying to fit everything in that I wasn't leaving time for a normally paced walk from one hotel to the other. I tried to figure out why.

I don't like wasted time. As much as I long for the days of being able to sit around all day reading or watching TV, I don't do it anymore. It doesn't feel productive. I don't think it's that I don't know how to relax, I can certainly sit down with friends and forget the time or enjoying researching, discussions, or shopping online. It's the "in-between" that I compress. I hate standing or sitting with nothing to do. I try to always carry a book or my iPod, or a magazine to give me something to do when I'm waiting. Walking with a destination in mind (as opposed to "going on a walk" just for fun or exercise) always stresses me about the time involved.

Why am I that way? I chose to be a stay-at-home parent partly because I thought it would free me from a hectic and harried lifestyle. Mostly it has. Much of the time I feel as though I have enough time to take care of both the urgent and the important responsibilities I have. Yet, I still feel as though I can afford no wasted time.

I'm going to ponder how I can change my thinking this way. If you have a thought or suggestion, feel free to share.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Horseback Riding

Today I had my first horseback riding lesson. I have ridden horses a handful of times before – and fallen off about 50 percent of the time – but have never really had lessons. I am into my forties and the last time I was on a horse was close to twenty years ago. So, why did I have a horseback riding lesson today? The short answer is that my children have been taking lessons for a few months now, only because of the heat their lessons in the summer were at 7:00 am. School started last week, making early morning lessons impossible (school starts at 7:45 am), and it's still much too hot here for afternoon lessons. So, I'm taking their slot for a few weeks until the weather cools.

The real question, though, is WHY am I taking their slot? Hmmm. This one requires a longer answer. First, I am taking lessons because I want to – which is really reason enough. Every time I got on a horse, I wished I knew more about what to do. The other part of the answer is that I'm taking lessons because my children are. Since all three of my children have been taking lessons, I wanted to know how to ride with them. It would be fun to go riding together as a family sometimes.

I try to get involved in the activities that my children enjoy. Not in a "parent who just wants to be your friend" kind of way, but just to be able to talk to them about their activities and sometimes participate with them. I have learned now to play Pokemon, video games, and soccer. I have learned all about guinea pigs and hamsters. And, I even watch the Disney Channel occasionally. I have found that when I know something about what my children enjoy, they talk to me more. Keeping those lines of communication open is very important to me, even more so the older my children get. I'm always worrying about "those teen years". I hope I survive them!

Hopefully, horseback riding lessons will help.