Am I Doing Enough?

[Down to the wire again! Ack! In my defense, we don’t have a PC in our apartment (and I am NOT typing on a tablet), so in order to blog, I have to run next door to my in laws’ apartment, which is not that easy while I’m juggling two toddlers who need to be periodically fed, changed, and entertained!]

I came upon this realization one night before going to sleep. (It wasn’t last night, since last night, I had an excruciating headache. Normally, I welcome any good ideas and I want my creative juices to flow, but last night, I just wanted them to STOP. And then maybe my head could stop throbbing and I could get some decent sleep) I often have small inspirations for writing just as I put my head down on the pillow at night (newbie blogger/writer tip: Keep a notepad or your phone by your bed!) So, here goes that one idea I had.

A big characteristic of mine is self reflection. I am constantly thinking about who I am and looking at what I have or haven’t accomplished. A question nearly always on my mind is: Am I doing enough? It’s like an itch that never goes away. This tendency became twofold once I entered Parenthood. Between the diapers that need to be changed, the dinners that need to be cooked, and the floors that need to be swept, mopped, and then swept again, I am constantly in a state of What should I be doing?. I find myself wondering if what I’m doing is the “right” thing to do at the moment I’m doing it, or if there is something more important I should be doing instead. I wonder if somehow, somewhere, someway (I didn’t think that was a word, but I am not getting a red squiggly line, so I’m going to leave it), my time would be better spent.

I would assume there are others out there like me, whether they’re parents or not. (Does this perhaps fit into one of those Personality Types? I’ve never much looked into those.)

In order to give myself some sense of accomplishing something and doing something valuable with my time (my life), I make little goals (when I do make goals, which is usually at the beginning of the year at a church event or at the suggestion/inspiration of friends).

I learned something very valuable about goal making when I worked at New York Life. Only make goals that include specific actions that YOU are 100% in control of. I think we’ve all heard that it’s more effective to make specific, measurable, achievable goals (e.g. Work out every weekday at 6 pm at the gym across the street from work) instead of broad, ambiguous goals (e.g. Get in shape this year). But what I want to add to that, if you haven’t heard it already, is that your goals should be things that are completely in your hands. A goal such as “Have a good relationship with my husband” is not only too vague, but is also something that is only 50% in your control. The other 50% is in your husband’s control. Similarly, a goal like “Get my husband to stop smoking” wouldn’t make any sense because he has to be the one to make the decision to stop buying the cigarettes and putting them to his mouth (unless you’re prepared to follow him around every day and swat them all away). An effective alternative to “Have a good relationship with my husband” would be “Make dinner for my husband every day” or “Take 5 minutes every day to ask how my husband is feeling, how his day is going, and if there’s anything I can do to help him”. These are specific, action oriented, goals which you can certainly measure at the end of the day. Did you, or didn’t you?

Ideally, creating goals we ourselves are in control of relieves us of the stress of racking our brains and kicking ourselves wondering why ANOTHER PERSON (or force of nature) is not doing what we want them to do.

This year, at the nudging of a certain Facebook group I’m a part of, I’ve made four New Year’s Resolutions. You may laugh when you hear them because they are amusingly simple, but in my current state of being (i.e. Momhood), I honestly don’t see myself getting anywhere at all unless I cut things down to tiny, baby, bite sized pieces. So, here goes:

Resolution #1: Follow 20 minute Youtube Post Partum (hey, it’s only been 15 months!) Yoga video every Tuesday while 1 year old is napping

Resolution #2: Enforce meal time prayers with kiddos

Resolution #3: Enforce daily morning service with kiddos (pray and read 5 minutes of Bible stories)

Resolution #4: Continue blog posts through the rest of the year – once a week either Thursday or Friday.

And there you have it! Super simple. Super achievable. I’m feeling pretty good so far 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Am I Doing Enough?

  1. This is wonderful, Diane. For some reason, in my 56 years, I’ve never heard (or thought about) setting goals that are 100 % up to me. In my teaching and home life, I often feel inadequate, even though sometimes I feel like I’m killing myself trying to get things done. I cry over children who aren’t doing well in school and feel like I should do something more, but I can’t control their background, their parent’s view of school, or how often they miss school (instruction). My personal goal is that they feel safe, loved, and that they leave with more knowledge than they entered the classroom. I’m sure that I don’t succeed with every student, but I try. The father of one of my dearest friends (her parents have been surrogate parents to me here in Banner Elk) had a saying that I have been telling myself lately when feeling especially frustrated about work. “When all you can do, is all you can do, then all you can do is enough.”
    I love you, Diane. I think you’re amazing!

    Like

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