Tell me that I’m not the only person who sets out to simplify her life and somehow ends up with a proverbial overflowing plate. Yesterday I opened an email asking me to provide a few sentences describing the creative writing/public speaking class that I will be teaching this coming school year in our homeschool co-op. She needs the blurb within the next day or so. Gulp. I asked to teach this class; actually I asked to teach the creative writing part and be released from teaching P.E. to 1st and 2nd graders. You see, I was a high school English teacher in my pre-children years. I enjoyed teaching writing and literary analysis to students who had already mastered phonics and potty-training. In the throes of teaching phonics and toileting skills to my own children, however, I put my academic credentials on hold and started teaching classes that required great physical energy but little mental preparation. Three years later, I am ready to use my brain again.
Of course the request came as I was figuring out how I will feed my family, supervise all 3 girls, and work both halves of tonight’s swim meet without my other half. I also had just finished a conversation with my college roommate that involves coordinating the schedules of 5 adults and 15 children. (Translation: Other college roommate had a baby in January, and the rest of us are suffering guilt that we may not see this new baby before he sprouts teeth and vocabulary words.) I threw out that I am working the registration table for our church’s VBS in August, two children will be attending different camps, and I’m supposed to taking a coaching clinic at some point. I totally forgot to add that we’ll be starting our school year at some point in the month, too! Hmmm. I think the one thing I didn’t mention is probably the most important thing.
It’s the coaching clinic that’s tugging at my gut. Years ago when I had all sorts of free time, I had signed up to get my D-level soccer coaching license. In retrospect, it was ridiculously stupid of my single, childless self to blow off that clinic because of a scheduling problem. Now I have 4 other schedules to juggle just to get my E-level license, which is actually a step down from a D. Sigh. I just wanted to coach S’s soccer team.
Why is life so complicated? That’s a rhetorical question. I know why. It’s because I make it complicated with too many good things. During the school year, we purposely limit the girls activities to Awana, art/music lessons, and one sport at a time. We want to make sure that they have “down” time and learn how to entertain themselves; in other words, we believe it’s okay that they are occasionally bored rather than over-scheduled. The problem is that I sign up to help during their activities. I’m the substitute Awana helper since I’m there anyway. I’m S’s soccer coach because I get to pick the days and location of practice. We belong to a parent-run homeschool co-op so I’m required to teach or assist a class once a week. We chose the co-op because the state of Maryland requires that I teach a laundry list of extracurricular subjects every. year. to. every. child.
So where and when do I let go? The story of Mary and Martha has been nagging me lately. When is it my turn to sit? I suspect that this coming school year will be full of learning opportunities, and I hope that I’ll have answers to my questions without having to learn things the hard way.