I got to thinking about some of my favorite posts and I realized that I'd never posted one of my favorite essays. This was a post I wrote a couple of years ago for one of my stamping business websites. This relates to my Stampin' Up! business, but it really applies to any home business or hobby that we tend to obsess about. Thankfully, since this period in time, I have made a lot of changes and I no longer invest nearly as much time in my business as I used to, but it's still an on-going struggle.
I'm writing this at 3:42 AM, so I apologize if it seems a little "unpolished", but I've just had something the Flylady calls a "God breeze". She refers to Him as the "Midnight Editor" and He sometimes sends her little messages and topics for her essays in the middle of the night. The topic I received tonight is "Balance" - you know that thing that Shelli talks about so frequently in her little newsletter at the front of our Stampin' Success magazine.
However, a lot of us don't really practice the habit of Balance - I know I don't, which is why I'm sitting up here typing in the middle of the night. As many of you know, I recently lost my mother, which tends to make you step back and take a look at yourself and your life and right now, I don't really like what I see.
I love my stamping business, but there definitely is a dark side of it and I've run smack into it tonight. I'm an enthusiastic "all or nothing" type of person and when I throw myself into a new "something" - I tend to throw myself pretty hard and damn the consequences.
In this case the consequences translate into something I called "Neglected Kid Time" or NKT. I look back on how I spent my day today and it's nothing but NKT. Here it was a beautiful, sunny (though chilly!) Saturday and I had my husband and my two wonderful sons right here, waiting to spend some time with me after a looong week of working and yet I sacrificed pretty much the entire day to my own selfish hobby.
I had a chance to attend a quarterly downline meeting and even though it wasn't really my downline, I was invited and I decided to attend, even though I had already spent an entire evening with my my stamping friends a couple of days earlier. Tons of fun, and a nice chance to get out with some great girlfriends and make some fun projects, but again a entire evening of Neglected Kid Time as my kids sat home with my husband and probably watched TV all night.
Then I add in travel time, preparation time, time spent making samples, and waaaay to much time staring at this computer screen at waaay too many stamping websites like this one and I wonder why I have a couple of grouchy, unruly kids with their rooms a mess and their chores and homework not done - duh!
Then I look around at my house that looks like a bomb went off in every room (if Flylady saw this house right now, she'd turn tail and run right back to North Carolina!). I look at my husband who has watched so much football, I think he has green Astroturf imprinted on his eyeballs! Then I look at our two boys who practically have square eye sockets because they've watched so much TV, played so many video games, or spent so much time on their computers! (Yes - we do have HIS, HERS, and KIDS computers as well as separate TV's for each - that's a big clue right there!) And I think - boy did I screw up again!
I don't know about you, but pretty much all my adult life, I've felt like that guy you see in the circus with the spinning plates. I have all these plates going and they are labeled WORK (my "real" full-time job), KIDS, MARRIAGE, HOUSEWORK, STAMPIN' UP!, CHURCH, a whole bunch of others and even a little tiny one called ME. Then I realize that I've been spinning the ones called WORK and STAMPIN' UP! so much this whole year that all the other ones are starting to wobble badly and even start to fall.
So what do I do? I have to admit right now, I don't really know. Obviously I'm going to have to stop spinning these two plates so much and go over and give the other ones a few extra spins. But how to keep them in balance for the long term? That's really the $64,000 question, isn't it? Do I reduce the number of plates, or just figure out some great master plan for spinning them all a little more evenly? I don't know - maybe that's not a good question for 4:20 in the morning.
But I do think it's a good time for us all to ask an important question - what are your kids (if you have any) doing while you are reading this message?
Hopefully by now, mine are spending some Non-Neglected Kid Time with their one and only, ever lovin' Mom.