I Will Never Pass This Way Again by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
One of the tasks in the course Awakening Joy (www.awakeningjoy.info) is dancing. To that end, my dance tape desires have met the iTunes store. Wow, I love that I can buy single hit songs that make me want to dance around the room…I am listening to my new Happy Dancing playlist now. I once had a cassette tape I made with my favorite tunes, I wore it out. I would usually play it before going out, especially if I was tired or not that into my preplanned outing. Listening to upbeat music is always a mood lifter for me, so at midnight as I write my blog for this week—a bit early, because I have been invited by my husband to rendezvous with my daughter at his hunting camp…it seems that hunting alone is not that fun—I am feeling happy despite the late hour as I listen to music I haven’t heard in quite a long while.
Knowing that I needed to write my blog tonight, all day I was considering this exact moment in my life while my daughter is in kindergarten. This semester I have taught three courses at the community college, done some lecturing for the public library about memoir writing, advised two grad students for a low-residency masters program and worked on my film; oh yeah, I was also a wife and a mommy. Dang that is a lot and I clearly seem to be in keeping with the plight of moms today: I am overwhelmed, harried and tired. As my husband likes to say, I am trying to pack 10 pounds of fun into a 5 pound day. I am also worried that I am missing the boat on this moment with my daughter. I will never pass this way again. It won’t be too long till my daughter needs me less and less. The decision before me is to cut out the aftercare she goes to three days a week after her half-day kindergarten. My girl is tired too and I want her to have me everyday after school like I had my mom’s time when I was in kindergarten.
As I pondered what adjustments to my schedule I would need to make, I realized that the money I put to her child care I could spend on an assistant to do a lot of the paperwork that bogs me down in my filmmaking work. I mostly keep up with my teaching work, partly because I have done it for so long that I have systems that work for me. Also the content of my teaching is fairly predictable since I teach the same courses over and over. It’s never exactly the same, though I do know where I am headed and the methods I will use to get there. But, with my filmmaking there is a lot of paperwork to be done for the producing component of my projects. All that paper is taking over my desk, which makes it hard to work and think, which means I work much less efficiently than I would like.
Restructuring work and rethinking H.’s schedule are all a part of my personal quest to have balance between my work and my personal life. Since I work for myself and mostly control my own schedule, I am really trying to make reasonable deadlines for myself. I am the boss so why beat myself up with expectations that are unrealistic and incredibly stressful and draining. Partly, I still live in my old world where I was a single power-babe who could leap intense deadlines in a single bound. Now there is a tripling factor to most every deadline I set and try to meet.
Finally, with my filmmaking I just decided to relax and take my time and stop worrying that opportunity was passing me by as I doddled along. I am doing okay, but I want to give more time to this exact moment with my daughter. At this point there is only one more semester of half-day kindergarten and then her schedule will match mine more closely or vice a versa. What’s a few months of scaling back compared to missing out on the love fest I am having with my daughter? I guess I’ll see how I feel when summer gets here.