Cutting back and letting go

Cutting back and letting go

Ever heard of disappointing others to be true to yourself?

We are an unschooling family, but we are in so many activities—too many, as I recently discovered. We are in two co-op groups (I have to teach in both), Girl Scouts, 4H Club, three homeschool groups (which overlap with co-ops), a book club—plus my daughter’s music and gymnastics classes! It’s dizzying when you add in work schedules, too. I’m back to working full time hours with more clients than ever, which I deeply appreciate—but with that comes an opportunity cost. Some things have to get cut.

For the first month of full-time work, that cut thing was my sleep. And I’m already reaping what I’ve sewn—grogginess, crabbiness, even hallucinations; a bit of weight gain, backaches and headaches and exhaustion. I finally relented when two different friends who don’t even know each other, one a homeschooler and one not, told me I just had to scale back. They were right.

So this week, one friend took over our 4H Club for me, we dropped one co-op, and I stopped moderating one of the homeschool groups I moderate (out of two). I did this after my body threw me into crisis, from sickness to madness, a bit of a breakdown and a punched wall. I’m so happy that I did this now, after only two months of more than full-time hours again, before it got worse.

Unfortunately, I disappointed a few friends in the co-op, and I was pretty cranky and terse with many people in the process. My friends, bless them, lovingly forgave me and saw my anger for what it really was—fatigue, maybe mixed with some desperation and fear of disappointing them. But that saying about disappointing others to be true to yourself is really something worth adhering. As my health fails, I know I am the only person who can take care of myself and I just have to do that—and I know that the suffering of my family needs to be ameliorated before anything else, too.

We need our quiet time together back, our time to read together, play simple games together, and just spend at least one cozy night at home together each week. I thank my friends for allowing me to do this, even if I have disappointed them, because if I didn’t and continued this chaotic life, I would probably get harmed in the process, or look back on years of regret.