Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Balancing energy for shift work at the shrunken crossroads

I am frequently reminded (inside my own brain) that Julie Beck said several times in women's meetings that a person can work one or one and a half shifts, but not two.  Maybe I just remember this because I like to assuage my guilt that I don't have a two-shift body.  But I think I remember it because of what it means in my life right now.


Many years ago then-church president Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk encouraging mothers to be at the "crossroads" for their children.  He suggested that it was important to be available to talk with their children before and after school, before and after dates, etc.  When he gave this talk I wasn't yet a mother, and when I thought about it in later years I figured it didn't really apply to me because our home was all crossroads, all the time.  It was ok for me to be a mom who checked out after dinner, because I'd already spent the whole day with all of my kids.  It was ok for me to take a nap in the afternoon because I was spending all day with my kids.  It was ok for me to go to Utah for a week because normally I was spending all day every day with my kids.  Etc.


Now I find myself in the moment that is the junction of these two ideas.  The one, that no person can work two shifts.  The other, the importance of being at the crossroads, maybe even with cookies.  And all of a sudden our crossroads have gone from all day, every day to before school, after school, and some days not until 9pm after school.  I suddenly feel an imperative to really BE THERE!  But the THERE involves the beginning of the first shift and then the second shift, or maybe the beginning of the first shift, a few minutes at the beginning of the second shift and then the end of the second shift.

It's tempting now that I have days to myself do just DO WHAT I WANT.  What I have wished I could be doing for all of these years.  (Though let's be real, sadly I don't have the energy to do half of what I wanted to do all of these years.)  Instead I find myself trying to figure out the pacing puzzle every day.  Today the kids will be home then, and then, and then.  How will I order my day to have energy at the right moments???

Some days I succeed.  Success ALWAYS includes a nap.  I was a napper before, but in this "now I have to be on in the evenings" lifestyle naps are crucial.  When I don't get them I don't succeed.  When I don't get them I notice something, usually be 7 or 7:30, and that is that my face stops being able to smile.  Seriously.  Sometimes my failure has good reasons.  Sometimes it's because I've helped someone out or spent time with another person instead of getting the nap I need.  But the fact remains that I have to pace myself; allocate energy precisely if I'm going to hit the important marks.

All of this is just a reminder to myself to keep trying, to keep working on it.  Yesterday wasn't too great.  Today wasn't either.  If I keep trying, hopefully I'll get better at the balance of it all.  Crossing my fingers... nonsense title that actually does make sense ever, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment