Caught Off Balance

Last weekend I went through this moment where I ALMOST wanted to quit my blog all together. Just one of those times where you think, is this really worth my time?
It's funny, because my blog is all about finding balance, but in fact blogging, has put me completely OFF balance. All my thoughts were centered around my blog, and all these idea's I wanted to share, and then of course there are the many other things I want to do like read other blogs, read books, watch the shows I like, study up on my German, learn to play the piano, spend time with my kids, work out, keep my house clean and organized, make healthy dinners, run all my errands, have family night, study the scriptures, develop a new talent, teach my children good values, get my visiting teaching done each month, keep up on all the dishes and laundry, take pictures and video tape special moments in my kids lives, find time for service, and of course finding time to SLEEP. If I didn't need to "sleep" I could probably fit all these things in, but um, I don't think that would go over well if I cut sleep off my list of things to do :)
I guess it's possible to be TOO ambitious.

So, I've just decided to cut back a bit, perhaps only 2 posts a week will be better for my own sanity. There's just sooo many things I want to do in life, and being a mom doesn't allow you to follow all those ambitions right away. I need to switch my focus and be happy and content with the success of motherhood. I need to stop adding to my list of things I WANT to do, because it only makes my mind go crazy trying to figure out how on earth I'm going to fit it all into one day or week. I mean seriously, these are all important things to me, but I feel like I need to cut some things out.  Should it be my blog?
I was questioning it over the weekend and thought that maybe it was sucking too much of my time.
So I decided to figure out what I can ACTUALLY do, and not expect too much of myself. We "cannot run faster than we have strength". It will all come in time, and I can't DO IT ALL. Patience is not one of my strengths. When I want something, I want it NOW!
We are all on our own paths and searching for answers as to what we are supposed to be doing in order to fulfill our plan. How can we be sure that we're DOING the things God would have us do?
I guess it's all a matter of trial and error. Being open to letting the spirit guide us in the right direction and recognizing those unsettling feelings that are telling us when we are falling off track.
My friend Crystal (yes, we have the same name), and I were talking the other day and she was telling me about the Duggar Family's book called 20 and Counting. I'm sure you're all familiar with them, one of the biggest families ever! So, anyway, I was instantly curious to read this book, went straight home and ordered it on Amazon. I always wondered HOW this mom did it. How can she be pregnant all the time, take care of that many children, homeschooling them all, AND write a book about it??????
So when the book finally arrived I skimmed through and found the chapter I was most
interested in. The one that talks about their daily schedule and organizing tips. Since then have read a lot of the book, and found myself all motivated to be like her. I was like, yah, I'm going to have LOTS of kids, homeschool them all, and have 3 hour scripture study with the family each day. Oh, yes, I was motivated and ready to take on motherhood...............................

Well, that idea lasted about an hour.

Actually my husband helped me see things a little more clearly. We were on our date night and I was talking about the book and how I wanted to be like Michelle Duggar.
He said, "um, I don't want to be rude, but....... you could never be like that".
MEAN, huh!
He's like, this women doesn't get her hair done, she doesn't have a gym membership, she doesn't do girl's night outs, and um, yeah, the list went on and on. I was like, okay, okay, I GET IT! I'm just not capable of that, well, maybe capable, but just not willing :)
So, I've taken some ideas from the book and have formulated my own schedule in hopes to help me manage my time a little better. I've already picked someone for this weeks FAB Friday, and she will also be sharing a little about this topic.

My New Schedule
I found this cute idea from Heather's blog. I have my schedule written down on my notebook, which I have with me at ALL times, can't live without it. And of course the schedule usually changes each day and I'm seriously not THAT obsessed with sticking to it exact :) Anyway, then I have Lily's schedule which she has really enjoyed. This helps her know what our plans our for the day, and our schedules coincide.

Lily's schedule
  • Getting up
  • Eating Breakfast, Vitamins
  • Getting Dressed
  • Break time/Mommy cleans house
  • Play with mommy (choose activity)
  • Lunch time
  • Play date, gym, school, or run errands
  • Snack time
  • Quiet time/Olly's nap
  • Do school work with Lily, and let her help make dinner
  • Eat dinner
  • Family time
  • Bath time, brush teeth
  • Bedtime stories, practice some German words with Lily
  • Movie
  • Bedtime
I have extra cards in the bottom right so that we can swap them out on school days. Then I have a stack of cards with different activities on them. She can pick one each week, and that will be our special activity for the week. This week is swimming, and I usually like to invite a couple friends to go with me, that way it's more enjoyable for us all. Lily has some friends to play with, and I get some adult interaction :)

My Schedule
9:00 Breakfast, vitamins, get dressed, brush teeth
10:00 Clean house, catch up on Laundry, dishes, make beds, and pick up a little.
11:00 Play with kids, or do a little craft or activity with Lily.
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Play date/ run errands/ or Go to the gym (I bring my lap top to the gym and spend a little time catching up on emails , and blog reading while the kids or in the kids center before I go work out).
4:00 Lily has quiet time and Olly naps while I work on my list of things I need to do, things around the house, responding to emails, or blog.
5:00 Start dinner and do some school workbooks with Lily
6:00 Dinner and clean up
7:00 Family time
8:00 Baths, Books, German (I'm trying to make use of the language I learned on my mission. By practicing a little with Lily, it also helps me freshen up on it)
9:00 This is my time to work on my blog, read other blogs, and reply to emails, while Lily watches a movie
10:00 Get Kids in Bed, and read my book or watch some of my favorite shows with my hubby.
11:00 Lights out

I've been experimenting with this over the past week, and it seems to be working out much better for me. I've never been a big fan of sticking to a TIME schedule, I usually just make a list, and go from there. I've found that I become obsessed with FINISHING something so I can check it off my list, sometimes ONE thing on my list can take half the day. I've been spending WAY to much time online, finishing a blog post, reading emails, responding, and also reading other blogs and leaving comments.
So, now I have time limits.

I'm reading this new book called Magnificent Mind At Any Age. I am seriously LOVING it! I'm learning so much about the brain and how amazing it really is. I plan to share lots more on this book because I have SO many thoughts I'd like to add.
As I was reading last night, this paragraph really stood out to me, and it TOTALLY applies.

"Drowsiness, tiredness, and an increasing inability to focus reached startling levels in the trials of eleven hundred people, who also demonstrated that e-mail in particular have an addictive, drug like quality.
The most damage (to IQ) is done, according to the survey, by almost complete lack of discipline in handling e-mails. Dr. Wilson and his colleagues found a compulsion to reply to each new message, leading to constant changes of direction, which inevitably tired and slowed down the brain.
Constantly checking e-mails, IMs, voice mails, and the Internet is stressful, but it is also addictive as one is always waiting for the next good e-mail, IM, or voice message to hit, like waiting for the next blackjack in the card game 21. The anticipation of something good keeps us checking something routinely. It also distracts us from staying focused on the person or task at hand. Checking these messaging systems is an important way to communicate, but it is better to set aside specific times each day to work on them and leave them alone the rest of the time."

This book was SO written just for me, haha. Lily is always saying, mom, stop playing on your phone, and grabs it out of my hands. That's some good feedback right there. My goal is to stick to time limits, and to stop constantly checking my email throughout the day.

I ran into an old friend the other day, and we got to talking. I was wondering why she wasn't on facebook, twitter, blogger, ect. She was like, I don't even have Internet at my house.
WHAT?????? That's absurd!!!!!! Who doesn't have internet in their home!!!!

Later I was thinking about this, and was almost a little jealous... I said ALMOST.
I was like, WOW, think of all the extra time I would have if I wasn't spending so much of it online.

Well, I'm not sure that canceling my internet service is the answer for me.
I think this plan will offer the best of both worlds. I still get that fix of connecting with all my online friends, while still enjoying normal REAL life experiences.


Erin said...

I recently read the Duggar's book, too! Their life is totally amazing to me. I find that if I keep the TV off, I am better at engaging with my children, as opposed to letting them vegetate all morning while I feed my Internet addiction! I just might have to write down a daily schedule. That sounds like it works well with your daughter. Cheers!

Muckala Family said...

Wow! All I can say is Wow over and over again like Wow Wow Wubzy! haha.
No really, I was thinking about this earlier! The problem is that I'm a spontaneous person so lists are hard for me but I refuse to give up! I will get the book and read as well. Very interesting. I'm even thinking of canceling our FIOS....oh, my husband would kill me. Maybe I just need to not turn the TV on. Thanks for sharing Crystal. It really hit home.


Daisygirl said...

I know there are lots of Michelle Duggar haters out there...but I love her! Now I know I could never do anything that she does...but she is still inspiring! She does also have lots of help...lots and lots of help! I have no help and 3 kids 5 and under!!!!

I am a scheduler and that is the only thing that gets me through. I have white boards in 2 rooms, I have calendars in a couple places and my book. I find after time you just adjust to the schedule and you don't have to write things down as much anymore.

I have my school which I try to do something little on what ever my assignments are everyday, plus everything else. When my 5 year old gets home from school its pretty much pure chaos around my home but thats ok.
Like you I thought about quitting blogging...actually I did quit for a couple months and I seriously went through withdraws! Blogging was my way of connecting with other people. During the weekday I don't get out much other than running errands. I have mommy time 2 times during the afternoon. My boys will watch a disney movie or play in the backyard while I blog or chat with a mom's need time and my kids now know when I say its quiet play time that I need 30 minutes!!!

ps. I don't know how people live without the internet. I pay bills, shop, send pictures, blog....seriously I don't think I could do it. ~Jen

jenn said...

your blog is so cute!!

i'll be following it :o)

Aaron [air] said...

Im happy to hear that you are finding a balance. Its essential to a balanced life and home. We have quite the routine at our house too. I loved your cards, we have something similar in our daughters room to make them more accountable and ready for the days activities as well. Its really worth it!

I dont think there is anything wrong with calling it quits on somethings and slowing down on some either. I spent thurs, fri & sat off the computer and up in SLC, etc and you would not believe how many people emailed or texted asking where I was. It was almost kind of annoying. Like I have no control over how I spend my own time? hmm. Not for me. And canceling the internet does sound quite tempting too! Anyway I am glad you will still be posting somewhat. I love your positive attitude and outlook on life! Its contagious and motivating!

Mammatalk said...

I am a schedule Queen. It works for me.

mormonhermitmom said...

I'm amazed at how much some people can get done. Some days I amaze myself but I don't usually have the energy to be "Supermom".
So much to do, so little time. We could all probably cut back here and there.

Annie Hawkins said...

I think that it is just like in exercise; it doesn't matter how many push-ups you do or how havy your weight are, it matters the intensity. I watched the Dugger's on TV and they are amazing, but they even said it that they would not be able to afford everything if it would not be for the TV show. They don't even watch TV which I think it is funny but good at the same time. I also liked John and Kate plus 8; too bad their relationship fell appart.

~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ said...

OK WOW, I can relate to you on so many levels!

I just plain suck when it comes to keeping to a timeline. I feel smothered when I have to stick to a schedule. Sound weird? I'm weird like that.

Recently, I've given myself permission to only blog 2-3 times a week. I need to put my family first and I've got a lot on my plate, so blogging has to take a back seat sometimes. And you know what..I think it's easier for readers to stay in touch when you only blog a few times a week. Most of my readers have a lot of things to do that are more important than reading my blog (I know, crazy, huh?) so I think less blogging is actually better in some ways.

Awesome post! :)


Confessions From A Working Mom said...

First, I need to know how on earth you email while at the gym-- even with a laptop-- how do you do it? Could you please add a diagram next time?

I reached this point with my own blog a few months ago; honestly, my saving grace is work! I think as you can tell from my email to you over the weekend, I have too much free time at work, and blogging occupies it!

Confessions From A Working Mom

Lia said...

I am glad i am not the only one that feels this way sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

Hope you have a chance to come say hi.

Cheers, Lia

Daisygirl said...

ps. I forgot about something. Sometimes when I do have more free time I do more than 1 blog post and just schedule it for a different day (on the post options on the post page you can have it publish on a later date) ~Jen~

Andrea said...

I like your schedule. I seriously need to do the same thing. My house is needing a good cleaning! I have also been thinking I need to back off on the computer as well.

I wish I could be all sweet and softspoken like Michelle Duggar. It seems like she never gets upset! But really, she's got her older kids trained, ready and willing to help out. I came from a family of 10 and I spent LOTS of time with my older siblings. My mom never worked out either. ha!

CynthiaK said...

Wow, that is quite a post! And quite a list of things to combat the craziness! I read the post and felt like I was saying "me too!"

I have been been crazy enough to start a second blog this week. Why? Because I don't have enough to do already with three kids, a dog, a cat, a freelance writing business, volunteer commitments, etc., etc., etc....

I'd better start reading that book so I can get a grip on reality. :)

BTW, love the schedules.

Darcie said...

How funny that I should come over here and read this post today. So in line with my thoughts and feeling as of lately. I am seriously just going to go with slowing WAY down on blogging and see how I feel in doing that. If I am happier and more care free because of that...I will have my answer. If I miss my blog then maybe it really will be something that is a thing that I want in my spare time. Time will tell.

A Lil Story said...

Thank you so much for your comment =) I totally have been feeling the same way about blogging and the internet in general, that was one reason for the break... not enough time for everything I want to do... and I really want to focus on things that are significant...

buuuuut a lot of family love reading my blog and hearing about the boys so I would hate to give it up... and I realized it is nice to have a diary of sorts to look back on and remember certain feelings and experiences. It is a great "scrapbook"

I am also putting myself on a schedule, so I won't let it consume me too much!! So glad to meet you in blogging land =) Looking forward to reading more!


Angie Muresan said...

Oh you inspire me alright! I love making lists. The thing is that after I've made them I completely lose interest and move on to something else. Good luck, girl!

Gabrielle @ i.craft said...

Really good... when you start blogging it really takes over and if you want to have a life, go for you that you are seeking a better approach.:)

Kristin said...

I feel your pain lady! I had to set myself up on a blogging schedule. Family comes first!

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

I am visiting from sits and i have to tell you how much i love this post. I am constanly trying to make better use of my time. I have lists, schedules and try to keep everything in my phone so it is always at hand.

~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~ said...

I thought of you today as I blogged about how I only blog 2-3 times a week. It felt good to set the expectation. Whew.



Holly said...

Blogging cam take over. I used to post every day...but no anymore. I have to cut back..I actually had a life. Love peeking at your schedules and how your organize your day.

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

Good for you, Crystal! Setting boundaries and saying no are so important and once you reach that point, you know you are now a "big girl." HA! It's true though...Enjoy your new schedule!

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said...

That is intense. I agree, you have to learn a schedule, which is hard! I can't imaging fitting it all in with kids too!

The Drama Mama said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Crystal!! I Think it's great that you are finding your balance. Good luck! I really hope you don't stop blogging though. I love your writing style!

Cranky Mommy said...

I really struggle with getting a schedule in place. I don't thrive on one personally but as a mother, I'm beginning to see it is essential.

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Oh man I've had those times it takes up so much and posting and reviewing sometimes makes me go I need a break. I've started with some of my recipes to have them scheduled and everyonce in a while I'll let them go gives me a break :)

LOVING the board, I so need one for Cole!

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I'm a huge list maker. The best thing about them is crossing something off-it gives me a little sense of accomplishment!

scrapwordsmom said...

Crystal this post was excellent! I talked about this very thing in our Relief Society's monthly activity. I put so much pressure on myself to blog. And while I LOVE it...I love writing and connecting with others it stresses me out sometimes to the point I'm hard to live with. So silly-huh?

I am working on having that balance I crave. One day at a time and with God's help I can do it and so can you:)

I am so happy I found your blog and look forward to reading more of your life, your passions and how you are doing with balance.

Have a happy non stressful day!!:)

Deborah Ann said...

Whoa, no wonder you don't have enough hours in the are crazy busy!

I'm going to cut down to posting 2 times/week too. Especially since lately I'm running out of things to say...

Hey, my skin looks amazing now that I've been taking zinc. Thanks for the tip!

Jo said...

Hi, there. I'm Jo and I found you through 'Confessions Of A working Mom'; I've been highlighting 'MS Awareness Week' on my blog these past few days and she suggested I stop by to see you. :)

I think she said it was you who will donate twenty five cents for every visit. Not sure if it's a specific post I need to visit to do this so I'm off to do some poking around on your blog :)

Firstly, thank you for making the MS cause a priority -- I'm not sure what your connection is to MS (again, I need to poke around some more) but whatever your reasons, I thank you so much for finding it worthy. What a generous thing to do!

Secondly, I'm a Mom of two grown kids and blogging wasn't around when I was raising them but I am so appreciating the way you're getting pro-active on managing your time and theirs -- I think it admirable that you're prioritizing and organizing your life and I wish for you all the success in the world on feeling better about how your days are spent.

Your need for this is more than reasonable (blogging two posts a week is perfect for a busy Mom) and, again, I wish you well.

Glad to have stopped by today -- may you inspire others to not only get organized in home and life (which will clear ones mind and soul for bigger and better things) but to also get involved with the MS cause.

Peace and serenity,
'The End Of The Rainbow: life After Bankruptcy'

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I kind of have a schedule that I follow too (although it's not written down). I find having a schedule really does help to make the best use of my day...but even then I feel like I'm running out of time. I think time will just get better naturally as the kids get older...after all I will not be having 20 kids like the Duggars!

Elaine said...

I think scheduling, organizing and prioritizing is a great way to keep everything in balance!


carma said...

I think if you quit the blog entirely you will miss it - I tried this a few weeks back :D I think your idea of posting less is a good one - that way you are still involved but it won't get overwhelming. I loved the last paragraph about your friend who doesn't have internet; I have a friend who has internet but as far as I can tell is not blogging, on twitter, facebook, etc. and she always seems so happy and content. It make it so much easier to focus without all the distractions. I seriously could live like that - but I'm afraid I'm too far gone....Maybe one day I'll get back to that. It would sure free up the clutter in my mind!

Good luck with your new plan - hope it works well :-)

Salt said...

I think you can definitely have the best of all worlds! I've run into some similar issues with my blog becoming a little too all consuming. I got a nice break when we were away for the wedding, but now I'm thinking I should take these breaks more often and focus on more important real life things.

BTW: LOVE Michelle Duggar. I was just watching the show last night and she seems like the kindest and most giving person. It's never a life I could have for myself, but I have much respect for them!

Tonya said...

Hang in there you have a great blog and I am glad you came across mine so I could connect with you. I do agree we need to find balance and not forget those things that matter the most, like the lord our family and friends. You have some great ideas.

Heather said...

I totally understand the cutting back on the blog thing! I need to do it more, and if I didn't blog then I am not sure I would have a scrapbook of our lives that I so desperately want to keep a record of. I love the new schedule that you have set up! It sounds a lot like mine!

MsBabyPlan said...

I really need to make a schedule to fit my life, blogging and studies. I don't post everyday because I believe that sometimes we need to give ourselves the time to breath. Blogging is fun but as Holly pointed out it can take over.

I like your schedule and I hope life is more enjoyable. Thanks for sharing this issue.

Addison AND Crews Mama said...

Crystal- I am the same way! I get so into checking my emails throughout the day or coupon sites, etc.. I am literally on the computer in just little tidbits throught out the day- it's so hard to find the time and I feel guilty not being with my kids. I so need to make myself a schedule! I so wish there was more time in the day!

Angie said...

Wow - I am totally jealous of your organizational skills! We have no routine at our house - maybe I should really come up with something!

The problem... I am not disciplined enough to actually stick to it... and I know it.

Candace @ Candace Creations said...

This was such a great post to read! I can totally relate! You know when we get overwhelmed with all the things we wish we could do and accomplish...we have to remember to focus and that there is a season for everything. I never paint or play piano anymore and it makes me dissapointed in myself because they are things I was so passionate about...making a schedule might help make time for that again...and also learning to just let go of some things for now and enjoying the season I'm in and the things I Do have the time, concentration and energy for right now. I LOVE those schedule cards you have for your daughter! Where did you get those!??!

I can't wait to see how your puzzle turned out!

Holly said...

Hey Lady! I am right behind ya at Happy Saturday! Is today your b'day? Well, Happy Birthday!!!

Unknown Mami said...

I think it's wonderful that you recognize that you are spreading yourself thin and are doing something about it.

I found myself getting very stressed out about keeping up my blog and I have to remind myself that I do it for fun, it's not a job and it is not at the top of my list of priorities even thought it feels that way. I am really going to make an effort to blog "lite". I love what I get from it and I don't want to give that up, but it can be ridiculously time consuming.

Kekibird said...

Wow, it does sound like we are on a similar path (and that we have similar personalities). Cutting back on certain sites online and only visiting them during the work day has helped me. Something about signing out and not going back to a few places have been so worth it.

Good luck on your schedule! And thanks for stopping by!

cheri said...

oh my, i have a similar schedule and it's challenging just sticking to it.

Rene W. said...

I love those cards - how fun to get the little ones organized :) You know what they say - If you want something done, ask a busy person... I think it's fascinating how moms (especially moms of SO many kids) can get it all done, and efficiently too! I think it's admirable to recognize when you're spreading yourself thin & making adjustments along the way.

Mayra,mommy to Pooh Bear said...

I know exactly how you feel. It sometimes gets to the point where I myself start wondering if I should just quit the blog.
But when it comes down to it, this is part of my ME time. It's what I love to do and with a notebook organizer I help keep everything in place.

Don't leave!! Just organzie time better!! I haven't left comments often but I get your posts by it!! I can relate to you in so much~

Kristin @ Ellie-Town said...

I like your idea of a schedule. Some days I look at the clock and it's almost lunch time and we're all still in our pj's!

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

Michelle said...

I tried a schedule like that once too...I had cards that allocated the amount of time I would spend on specific work areas (I work from home) to ensure I got accomplished what I needed to. Well...that lasted 2 days! I went back to my to do list. Still not perfect. I have another book for you. I am a huge fan of Markus Buckingham...he has written several books that I of his latest "Find your Strongest Life (what the happiest and most successful women do differently)" was very insightful. Specifically you should strive for IMBALANCE...spending your time and energy on the things that give you strength...brilliant!

Michelle said...

Oops...this SITS thing is new to me...Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! And I still don't know if I commented on the right's a regular confused Saturday in my world. Actually...I am stalling starting P90x...I finished ChaLEAN extreme 2 weeks ago...took a break...and to try something new!!!Wish me luck...and again...Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

classycareergirl said...

Love this post! It really inspires me to set a schedule with my blogging too. Lately, it feels like it has definitely been impacting my sleep!:) Thanks for the advice and for stopping by my blog! Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

{The Classy Woman} said...

Great post Crystal! While I don't have an iPhone and I removed myself from Facebook (temporarily until my book is finished), I can say that I've started to become a bit addicted to e-mail and social media-blog reading, blog writing, web surfing in general.

I have times where I think back to months that have gone by and realize that I could have accomplished so much more if I had been more disciplined. This looks like a wonderful book on the brain.

So funny, in so many ways we are so similar. I moved to Florida 3.5 years ago and while I have friends here, it would be great to meet more people that are not only on the same wavelength in life, but who are committed to personal growth, and overall bettering themselves.

Love your blog and how you speak so honestly from the heart-you are such an inspiration!


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