My 9-year old has a field trip today and I’m not going. I’m missing out. I didn’t fill out the chaperone forms and I have to work. He even asked me to come to school with him this morning to ask the teacher if I could come anyway.
He knows I need to work (although he can’t figure out why I don’t have a “real job” like a fireman) and doesn’t often ask. His class doesn’t have too many field trips and now that he’s in the 3rd grade, the teachers don’t really want/need parent volunteers in the classroom anymore. I don’t know lots of the kids in his class now and/or how he interacts with them. I barely know his teachers outside of the parent-teacher conferences. In other words, I’d really like to go.
So what am I doing today instead? Working. Yes, of course, I need to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. But I work for myself, I could have worked earlier this morning or later tonight. Well, chances are I’ll do that anyway. I’m choosing work over a field trip with my 9-year old. It’s my choice. I don’t like it. At all.
You’re missing out on life. Fine, annoying. But more important: are you doing something about it?
I’ve missed field trips before. That’s OK. Priorities: work is important to earn money. But he’s 9, soon to be 10, in double digits. There won’t be field trips forever. I don’t think they allow parent participation in college. So fine, deal with it. Do something about it. I am.
Yesterday, I got to the next step of hiring a virtual assistant: figuring out the job description. The goal is to relieve me of some of the more basic technical administrative work. The more work the VA can do, the less I have to do. It’s as simple as that.
The goal is clear and attainable: do more of what I like to do and less of what I don’t like to do.
It sounds overly simplified, but is it? If I can get some help with work hours during the day, that frees me up to do what I’d rather be doing. It’s just about change and priorities. Change is hard, admittedly. But smaller change is less hard. If I can get this VA to do even some of my work, even a few hours a week, that could add up to a half-day with the 3rd-grade field trip. How do I make that happen? I take the first step and stop waiting for change.
It can be hard to change if you’re comfortable, if things are going OK, well enough. I think you need to get angry, annoyed, miss out on things you don’t want to miss out on to make that change happen. I am disappointed in myself that I’m not going on the field trip. But that disappointment can be transferred into energy and determination to do something about it. I sent out my job description yesterday. It took me forever, I neglected some client work, but that’s short-term and this is long-term. I took steps to make it happen in the future.
Lose the battle if you must, but win the war.
Did you do what you wanted to do today? How are you going to make it happen next time?