The Problem of Having Too Many Fun Things to Do

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C(11) recently went through a phase of peppering her conversation with the phrase, “Hashtag First World Problems”. She would say it while struggling to open an orange juice carton, deliberating over what colour T-shirt to wear, or considering whether to charge her laptop or her tablet in a single free electric socket.

This post definitely falls within that category. Stop reading now if you don’t like thinking about ways to make a good life even more wonderful.

The “problem” is that there always seem to be more fun things to do than I have time to do them. Over the Christmas break while my children have (mostly) been happily playing together in that delightful way home-educated kids do, I’ve been reflecting on my priorities.

As an (unstructured) homeschooler with more hobbies than I probably have a right to, I know that I will never get everything finished. There will always be another writing game to play, a photo album to create, an exciting book to devour, a kitchen drawer to declutter, a guitar piece to improve, an funny blog post to read, a new recipe to try…

Why we need to feel complete

But if we never get everything finished, how do we experience the satisfaction of completion – of having achieved something? Everyone needs the peace of mind that comes from knowing we’ve done what’s most important. Conversely, never feeling complete leaves us feeling stressed.

“Completion … naturally gives way to clear space… helps provide perspective, a brief recovery from the frenetic pace of life and time to re-evaluate our priorities.”

Graham Allcott,  How To Be A Productivity Ninja

What’s important?

Before we can be sure we’re doing what’s most important, we need to identify what’s most important.

Where should we be focusing our precious attention, if we want to experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing we’ve spent our time on what matters most to us?

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Our around-the-world New Year balloon countdown. We celebrated from 10am (New Zealand) to 10pm (Greece) then cheated and popped our pink 12am (Great Britain) balloon before going to bed!

Since I became a mother, I’ve made an effort to enjoy my own hobbies alongside parenting (and later homeschooling). It helps my mental and emotional wellbeing, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for my kids to see me still creating and learning.

As my children have become older and more independent, I’ve had more and more time for my hobbies. In fact, there are times lately when I’ve felt overwhelmed at the thought of choosing what to do! {#First World Problems}

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Here’s what I realised when I reflected on this recently.  I have a maximum of nine or ten years left as a homeschooling mum. When my children are at uni or working, I’ll be in my early 50’s and all those hobbies (and homemaking chores) will still be there. But homeschooling won’t be! Until then, I want to enjoy every day of being involved in my children’s learning lives.

Mocktails
New Year’s Eve mocktails (okay, there was a teensy dash of rum in my ‘virgin’ pina colada)

My focus for 2015 is to be the best homeschooling mum I can be, and have the most fun I can with my kids. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the possibilities of what to do, I will try to choose whatever is most closely aligned with my goal of creating a loving, fun, learning-rich home.

I’m still going to blog, because I love being part of the wonderful, supportive homeschooling blogging community. But I’m going to pay less attention to subscriber numbers and page views, and try to worry less about writing perfect posts. (Not that they’ve ever lived up to perfection, but you wouldn’t believe the hours I’ve put in trying.)

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With my brother, sister and mum on Christmas Day

My word for 2015 is “Love”.

I wish you all the happiest 2015 you could possibly have.

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We hosted 19 of our lovely family for Christmas!

What’s most important to you in 2015?

Do you have a word for the year?

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I’m appreciatively linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up and Homegrown Learners’ Collage Friday.

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38 thoughts on “The Problem of Having Too Many Fun Things to Do

  1. I think that’s a perfect word for 2015. This year, I’m focusing on simplifying housecleaning, meal planning, etc. so I have more time to play and do with the kiddos 🙂

    1. “Simplify”… the very word feels peaceful, doesn’t it? A simple life with plenty of play – who could ask for more? I’m looking forward to blogging with you in 2015, Rebecca. 🙂

  2. Hi there Lucinda! What a wonderful post. Your family is certainly productive, while enjoying academics and leisure as well!
    Good for you!

    Loving the pics! I’ve missed you very much and was so happy to see your post land in my inbox this afternoon!

    Your idea with the balloons and celebrating each time zone’s NY was awesome!I wish I had thought to do that!Maybe next year!

    Hope to “see” you soon!

    God bless your 2015!

    1. Chris, how lovely to be missed – you are so sweet!

      I read about the New Year around-the-world idea about this time last year, and set an Evernote reminder for December. I love it when systems work! We may not have stayed up to see in our own New Year but we enjoyed the excitement and spectacle of the Sydney New Year fireworks very much as we ate Australian “pikelets” (pancakes)! It’s just a shame we don’t get to see in the American new year!

      Thanks for your lovely comment Chris, it’s really appreciated.

      God bless your 2015, too!

  3. Lucinda,

    I really enjoyed your post. I’ve also experienced that feeling of having too much choice, having too many projects on the go and never getting to the satisfying stage of completion on any of them. I know I have to reassess my priorities this year if I want to make the most of my time, and get the important things done and even some creative projects finished… without getting stressed out!

    Most of my creative projects revolve around writing, blogging and unschooling, all things my children are interested in so this helps as we can interact, discuss and work on these projects together without me feeling I am not spending enough time with them. But I still get too caught up with things online.

    Perfect posts… I know about those! I even change words after I’ve hit ‘publish’. I wish I wasn’t so fussy! I could write a post a day easily if I just let my words flow onto the screen and then published them without much editing. But that’s not me… unfortunately!

    I enjoyed looking at your photos. Lots of happy smiles! I’m looking forward to another year of sharing blogging with you.

    Now perhaps I should reread my comment, change a word here or there.. or maybe I should just be adventurous and hit ‘publish’ straight away without any editing!

    1. Sue, your comment made me smile in so many places – thank you!

      You and your family are such an inspiration to me. I loved your last unschooling resources podcast. I want to go back to the program notes so I can look up all those interesting-sounding websites and share them with C and J.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, Sue. I really appreciate it.

  4. Our family is experiencing some “first world problems.” LOL! This just made me giggle. We spent the day decluttering and working through our first world problems so that we can focus on family and simplicity for the rest of the year. Loved this post! Thank you.

    1. It made me giggle too when I heard C(11) saying it, Sharon! Yay for decluttering! Family and simplicity – how perfect.

      Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated!

  5. Hi Lucinda, thank you so much for this and all your other posts.

    I don’t usually comments on blogs – I’m not much of a writer – but as a homeschooling mum I love the sense of connection I get from reading blogs written by other homeschool mums. I have to say that yours is definitely one of favourites and I would be very disappointed if you stopped.

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas that you fill your blog with and the books/curriculum that you take the time to tell us about.

    I love your word for this year and look forward to sharing in some of the adventure with you.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Your lovely words have made my day – thank you so much. Comments like yours are exactly why I love to blog (even though I don’t post as often as I’d like). I love sharing what works for us, and it means so much to know that someone out there is reading and perhaps enjoying some of the same resources we have.

      I am looking forward to sharing our adventures here. I wonder what they will be? Isn’t a fresh new year exciting? 🙂

  6. A very timely post in many ways, Lucinda. 🙂 I’ve been thinking much of the same issues lately, and we’ve also heard the phrase, “First World Problems” used around here of late by different people. Having too many choices can be overwhelming, as I know too well myself. I hope to have a year of “quiet” on many fronts, starting with being more still within myself.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos. I love all the smiling faces and the wonderful colours!

    1. “Quiet.” I like that. Just saying it makes me feel peaceful.

      The smiling faces in the photos are rather colourful too, aren’t they? Must’ve been the mocktails! 😀

  7. I love your word and this post. It is so hard not to worry about the things you mentioned, and you’re right we only have so many years as homeschooling Moms.

  8. Lucinda,
    I am watching my exhausted children sleep while I get to relax and read your wonderful post in our tiny balcony here in Cancun. I have to tell you that I share your goal of trying to be the best homeschooling mom I can be. I love the way you explained your priorities. I hope you continue to share your insights. They surely make such a wonderful impact in our homeschooling life.

  9. Lucinda, I love the balloon idea. We will have to implement that next year. I will also have to post you some Aussie Vegemite to have on your pikelets. It’s an acquired taste but I LOVE the stuff.

    I am with you, this year I had to focus more on the now and time with the kids and less on the blog. I did miss it and the people I have met through it but one simply can’t do it all.

    A word for the year … hmmm, I can never say just ONE word … ever … lol!

    1. I’m glad to hear pikelets are a real thing, Lisa. I’m never quite sure when I find things online!

      Absolutely – we can’t do it all. Yeah I struggle with one word too! 😀

  10. Hai Lucinda,
    Thanks for your sweet post,first of all my great salute to you and your family for such a happy life,me also hope this year will be good for all over the world.I got a message of creating happiness throughout the life from your post and pics.One word from one of my friend strike my mind a lot “create a value to your sign”so I planed to spread this message to all..as well as trying for implementing this in my life too..This is my 2015 aim…my prayers with you and your family..

    1. Hello Jewel and thank you for your lovely message and prayers. I’m glad you got a message of creating happiness throughout life from this post! Blessings to you and your family, too.

  11. I’ve never heard the term ‘first world problems’ but it does describe some of the inane things we get worried about very well!
    I’m so glad you had a lovely Christmas and I love the balloon idea for New Year (if we could ever manage to stay up long enough to pop all the balloons!)

  12. I love THIS:

    “I have a maximum of nine or ten years left as a homeschooling mum. When my children are at uni or working, I’ll be in my early 50’s and all those hobbies (and homemaking chores) will still be there. But homeschooling won’t be! Until then, I want to enjoy every day of being involved in my children’s learning lives.”

    Yes, and Amen.

    Happy New Year!

  13. Happy happy New Year Lucinda! There’s no doubt you’ll easily succeed in having a loving year, homeschooling and parenting! Enjoy, and looking forward to whatever you give us the pleasure in sharing with us.

  14. Hi Lucinda. I chuckled as I read your post and the comment about having more hobbies than you should be allowed to … I’m right there with you! My winter hobby goal is to work on scrapbooks! But I too am at a place where being fully present with my children is much more important than cleaning, blogging, hobbies or those many other things pulling on us.

    I just told my sister in law (who just had their first baby in the fall and went back to work after Christmas) that she will always be able to go out to eat, buy expensive clothes, go on big vacations … After her baby is grown, but she will never be able to get back the time she missed with her baby. This wasn’t a snotty comment to her… She was not understanding how we could live on a private school teacher income, giving up all the extras, and be happy.

    I pray and pick a word for the year too. Mine this year is “MORE” … I want more of God and less of me! I want to do less so I can be more for my family!

    1. Angie – I thought of you when I wrote that about hobbies! I try to be respectful of everyone’s choices – I know some women can be wonderful and loving mothers and work full-time. But personally I feel so privileged that I get to spend so much time with my kids. And contrary to what most of my non-homeschooling friends assume, it never feels like a chore. The only “problem”, as I said in this post, is finding the time to do all the fun things (into which I include all the things that ‘count’ as homeschooling, of course)! I wonder if your sister-in-law will reevaluate her priorities as her baby grows.
      I love your word. “More” – oh yes, there’s always room in our lives for more God!

      1. Matt and I are striving to live as we feel God has called us … And we strongly feel that each family needs to do what is right for their family … and that most likely won’t look like our life. 🙂 I’m normally very respectful and encouraging to others, but my “on the verge of snotty” comment to my sister in law came after months of her complaining that she can’t afford to stay home with her baby but wasn’t willing to make any changes to their expensive lifestyle … And it came after years of my mother in law bad mouthing us and being disrespectful of our choices … Sticky situation!

        1. Oh I can completely see where you were coming from with your sister-in-law, Angie! You come across as a very tolerant person, but sometimes we owe it to ourselves and others to speak up! I do find it hard sometimes to bite my tongue when friends talk about how many hours they have to work to keep their kids in private school and how they never get to actually see their children. As you say, even stickier when there are family politics involved too! 🙂

  15. Lucinda,
    I’m going back through your blog and reading some of the posts you wrote a while ago that I missed somehow.

    Your word of the year struck me. This is the first year that I chose a word and after much deliberation chose, “Plan to Profit.” (Yeah, I know. It’s a phrase, not a word.)

    I have so many projects that I’ve started and haven’t finished yet. To me profiting is not just about doing well financially. It’s about achieving, growing, and moving towards a goal. By finishing things, we move towards becoming more of who we are. It may be writing a book (and not climbing Mt. Everest), but in writing that book (or finishing that painting, or sweater, or whatever) I think we discover more about who we are and experience a type of joy that isn’t attainable without that accomplishment.

    In addition, the quote above by Graham Allcott resonates with me. I need that mental space and time to reevaluate and gain perspective. Too many unfinished things in my life are exhausting. They begin to feel like insurmountable mountains versus bumps in the road. Finishing something is exhilarating and energizes me to do the next thing…and the next thing.

    1. Marla,

      I really like your phrase and what you’ve so beautifully explained it means. I’m not a natural finisher; I’m always too busy enthusiastically throwing myself into the next exciting project. But I think you’re right, “By finishing things, we move towards becoming more of who we are.” I won’t finish everything I start, but it feels good to finish some things.

      Another book I love is ‘Do More Great Work’ (Michael Bungay Stanier), which contains an exercise for identifying your ‘heroes’ (mostly heroines in my case). One of the things I found I admired most about all my heroines was that they create finished products (otherwise I wouldn’t know of most of them!).

      I’ve been using the Productivity Ninja system (which I’ve since realised is a simplified version of David Allen’s seminal ‘Get Things Done’ system) for six months now, and it’s still working well – amazing!

      Good luck moving towards your goals – and thank you for reading my posts – it’s always a pleasure ‘chatting’ with you. 🙂

      1. I am hoping to accomplish a few projects so I can enthusiastically throw myself into finish the finishing the first draft of the book I’ve been working on for too long during the month of July.

        I like the NaNoWriMo concept, but November is a terrible time for me to sit down and attempt to write a novel in a month. Obviously a homeschooling parent didn’t create the concept. 🙂

        1. Marla

          A book? How exciting! July is a great month for mum-projects. I agree that NaNoWriMo wasn’t devised by a homeschooling parent. Certainly not one in the northern hemisphere, at least!

          Good luck with the book! 🙂

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