The heat finally hit us (and some thoughts on being productive)

I had been secretly gloating thankful that we did not seem to be getting hit with the heat wave that has been hitting everyone else across the country. The past couple of weeks have been very pleasant…in the 80s during the day, even in the 70s in the evening. I actually had to make sure to bring a t-shirt to the beach because it was chilly towards the end of the day into the evening. With the off-shore breeze, the temps are usually at least 10 degrees cooler then inland. It has been really nice.

Then came this week! Yikes! Hot in the 90s but the humidity is the killer. We did not even go down to the beach today, but instead had Jack over to play. I had thought that we would go down later in the afternoon when it cooled down, but it stayed incredibly hazy, hot and humid even in the late afternoon. The boys were having so much fun playing some kind of game they made up that consisted of building lego spaceships and telling an ongoing story that incorporates parts of Final Fantasy and Pikmin (from their video games). I only caught pieces of it, but it is extremely complex, with different parts and each kid contributing pieces of the storyline. Walking seems to play a big piece in this game…they walk around and around while they are weaving the story…around the coffee table, around the dock outside and around the beach when they play down there. They are so eager to play and they can only play with each other. Really fun to eavesdrops on.

Since Jack was over, I actually had most of the day to get things done around the house. I am starting to wonder if that is a good thing! I did get some things accomplished, but I also spent way too much time surfing around and reading different blogs. It was interesting reading up on some of the things that went on at the blogher conference…seems that the mommy wars are going on everywhere. I also found some really neat digital camera blogs and have been immersing myself in trying to learn more about composition and taking better pictures. I did get some Conference related things done which is good (still have plenty more to do though!). And I took care of some little things that needed to be done (like ordering my hammock chair! My Dad gave me a hammock chair stand that he did not want any more and I had been meaning to order one all summer!). But it still feels like I could have gotten more done.

I have been trying to figure out why I always feel like I do not have time to do all the things that I want to do. Yet when I actually get some "free" time, I feel like I fritter it away and am never happy with what I have accomplished. I find it hard to focus on what to actually get done, when I have so much that needs to be done. The whole, not sure where to start thing. But then I also think that I am too hard on myself. Why do I need to always be "productive" to feel good about myself? Why do I feel guilty if I am not? I love the idea of being present in the moment…to enjoy what is. But I also find that very hard to do.

I think part of it stems from my own perfectionism. I am so worried about not getting something done, about dropping the ball, about letting folks find out that I really don't know what the heck I am doing. So I am always thinking about what needs to be done next and worrying about it. Because if I am worrying about it, then I am doing something about it, right? I can't be faulted for messing up, because I tried…look at all the worrying I did after all.

Ok, so that probably is not really the healthiest way of getting things done! And I usually only get like this when I have a bit too much on my plate. Which is the way things have been most of this summer. It is all a matter of taking things in little steps and prioritizing what needs to be done. Which is why I sometimes think that I work better under pressure! Not as much time to think and easier to see what fire needs to be put out next. But also a very exhausting way to live one's life.

I think that is one reason that I enjoy having kids. While on the one hand, they add a heck of a lot more "things you have to do" to your life, they also help you slow down and live in the moment. They give you an excuse to spend the afternoon playing a game or reading a good book. The shameful part is that we need an excuse.

Where did this "gotta be productive" message that is ingrained in so many of us come from? I am actively working on countering it with varying degrees of success. I find it strange that I am have workaholic tendencies even though I don't technically "work" (yeah, yeah I know, work for money yadda, yadda, yadda). I have made conscious steps to getting off the mainstream treadmill…I chose to be home with my kids. I chose to homeschool which simplifies our lives considerably. Yet there is still this underlying feeling that I have that says I can't truly relax.

I guess that being aware of it is the first step. Consciously slowing down even when the world is saying, gotta go faster. Breathing. And putting the focus back on my kids. Because they know how to live in the moment. Maybe that is the lesson that I need to learn from them.

Well, this turned into a very stream of consciousness type post. Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope that I did not loose to many of you along the way!