Thursday, May 1, 2008

The value of my time

So, all-in-all, the experiences were positive. But I really did over schedule myself last month. There is a lesson in that, but will I learn? I came home from my 3 days away to the following : a request for me to chair a committee for the Woman to Woman annual event, a plea to pick up my son's friend from his field trip since his single father won't be home, a lunch request from a stranger--a writer who wants to pick my brain, 40 pages of a first novel that I've been asked to review by someone who came to the Lancaster Book Festival, a request from my church to make 4 two-sided signs to carry in a family service procession. In the week before I left, I agreed to submit a book club/dinner event complete with autographed books for our church auction and to teach an 8-week adult education class for our church in the fall. I am still contemplating helping a girl's environmental camp with some journaling prompts this summer.
I guess some clarity (from my rock pile?) would help here. I want to do it all. I want to give everything I have, but it leaves little for me in the way of my own goals. I did cut my daughter off from being in yet another community theater production this spring. I feel proud for having set that boundary. But as far as the other stuff goes, I don't know what will lead me to my next step. Chairing the Woman to Woman event would be a big feather in my cap and line on a resume, but it isn't going to get a novel written or a painting painted. I hate to squash opportunity. And even without apparent opportunity, I really do like giving back to my community. It is just that the giving would be easier to do if I were getting paid in full for the work I am already doing. I paint and I write and I spend time on my workshops but pay days are few and far between. I realize I must have value because people are always calling on my services. Is it too much to ask that that value be represented by dollar bills some of the time? Maybe, I just don't ask to be paid what I am worth. It is hard. As a woman and a mom, I am constantly asked (and was socialized) to give away my time for school fundraisers, chaperoning, teaching Sunday School, baking for school functions. Can you imagine if we mothers were to claim the worth of all this volunteer time on our household income tax return?
I will have to decide what my priorities are and give fully to those things I deem worthy. I think I already know what I must do. Maybe just the act of pruning will produce more fruit when the time comes for a harvest.

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