Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Do You Know When Too Much Is Too Much?

If you're reading this blog, chances are you may not be completely sane. C'mon, tell the truth. On more than one occasion your friends have told you you're insane for whatever it is you happen to be doing (swimming, biking, and running more than you work, eat, or sleep for instance). And chances are you leap at the opportunity to push yourself beyond your known boundaries. So the question is, when is it too much? And if you're the classic type-A overachieving nutter, how do you know when it's too much?

I've been asking myself this question all week. Lately it just feels like I've added one too many things to my stack, and like an overwhelmed juggler I can't keep everything in the air. So last night I told my kickboxing class I am regrettably going to not be teaching anymore right now. Yep, my career as a kickboxing instructor is over (temporarily at least). I think the canary in the coal mine was when I was teaching last week and I got a call from my daughter. Her Nutcracker dress rehearsal was over, and somehow she had missed getting a ride with the person she was supposed to go with. She was at the Performing Arts Center and they were closing it down for the night. Here I am in the middle of a class, hearing her little voice on the other end of the line. It's usually poor form when you're the teacher to walk out in the middle of class, no? So I felt stuck. Luckily her instructors were still there and she hung out with them until I could get over there, but the situation was far less than ideal, and I had to juggle it with music blaring and people kicking bags in the background.

Meanwhile, three nights a week, my teenage son is either hanging out at the dojo or is home alone. If you know teenagers, you know the absolute worst thing is to leave them alone to get into trouble. Especially at night. Luckily, he's not the trouble type (at least not yet), but it's getting to the point where I don't think that's a good idea any more.

So I looked at the disappointed faces of people in my class, including one gal who just started getting into it and is really having amazing leaps of fitness and I felt SO bad. SO SO BAD. But. But but but but but. At some point, enough is enough and I have to put my family first. Ugh. I'm still coaching swimming, training for my karate black belt, coaching a high school robotics team, homeschooling the kids, writing a screenplay with my son, trying to keep up this blog, and training for some trail runs. It's enough.

How do you know when it's all too much? How do you deal with feeling like you're failing someone by quitting? How do you say No when you want to say Yes to everything and everyone?


Primal Fed said...

Family comes first.

You never really know what the future holds. I'm sure you'll be able to get back into teaching someday -- maybe it won't be until after the kids are grown? That's not such a bad thing. Spending time with your kids while you still have them at home is never a bad thing. Everyone can understand that.

Crafty Jogger said...

When I'm spread too thin, even my fun activities don't feel fun anymore. If I'm really overwhelmed, I take a notecard and write down my life priorities in order and hang it on my bedroom door. This helps me figure out what activities I should focus on.

PS: You mentioned you coach robotics. Is it FIRST? b/c I love FIRST Robotics =)

tinaparker87 said...

I haven't hit that point yet. I'm still saying yes. PTA Preisdent, P.E.O. Sisterhood, Secretary of Bowling League, Trianing and every chance I get Mentor Team In Training. The other team with Thomas's bowling league and our off road race team. I do have one child verses two, and a handsome who most of the time is super supportive. however, he would have me put him first over training. Thanks for writing a bout a decision that may come sometime soon for me.

Robin said...

That's a good point Fred. Family does come first and that's always been a priority for us. It feels right to re-focus on that.

I love the notecard idea too. I'm a visual person and that seems like a good way to focus on what is important.

yes, it's FIRST robotics. We've done FLL for the last few years (both the kids, with me coaching). This is our first year in FTC since my son is high school aged now. It's definitely a big jump in time and commitment and intensity!

juliejulie said...

I know it's too much when I sit and stare into space for a while and then suddenly realize it's been 20 minutes. If I were meditating, that'd probably be okay, but I'm not. So I guess I should? Also, when I don't feel like I have the energy to go out and see friends, I know it's time to start saying now. Which reminds me, Robin are we still on for coffee?


Robin said...

Yes, definitely on for coffee! I FB'd you. :-)

Crafty Jogger said...

That's awesome that you're involved! So many teams struggle to find a coach/adult who is willing to make the kind of dedication FIRST requires. I'm so impressed to see you're involved!

My parents never took an interest in FIRST when I was in high school, but now they see that my experience in FIRST really shaped who I am. Six years later, I'm in med school... hoping to be a surgeon... repairing the ultimate biological machine ;)

Again, I'm so glad there are parents like you who get involve and keep these clubs going!

PS: The downfall of my notecard strategy was when my boyfriend saw it and said, "WHY am I #3 on this list???" lol!

Mary IronMatron said...

I have no idea how you figure it out. Life is short; you want to do it all. I get it. I have no idea how to do it, though, and still be the mom I need and want to be.
Kudos on giving up the teaching of kickboxing for now... it's tough to let go of something before you are done with it.

Robin said...

That's awesome to know about how much influence FIRST has had. When you're putting in the time, week in and week out it's good to know that it's not just fun and games but has a lifelong impact. My son thinks he might want to be a surgeon too. It's great to hear your experience!

Robin said...

Mary, yeah finding that balance is so tough! It's been hard this week letting everyone know, but I also feel relief which is a sure sign I'm doing the right thing.