I love online book clubs. I would love to do an "in-person" book club too but sadly, life doesn't seem to have time for that these days. A group of friends and I tried it but we spent LOTS of time drinking tea and coffee and about 2 minutes exactly exploring our books. Picking a book was really hard, too, since we all had such different tastes. For now, anyway, the "in-person" idea needs to be on the backburner.
So, along comes an online book club (well, actually two, but that's another post). I have done the Bloom: in-courage book club a couple of times before and really quite enjoyed them. Sometimes, I struggle a tiny bit - my Canadian fairly left-wing social justice orientation makes it a bit hard for me to connect to the books (I can remember on book by an author who is very highly thought of my many, many women and it totally lost me when she used an illustration about needing a special, new outfit for a speaking engagement and not having the money and the Lord providing her with a unforeseen source of an amazing outfit... it's just a bit too "first world problem" for me to connect). Generally, though, it's just so nice to connect up with other readers with a similar faith backgrounds who are clearly interesting in reading and sharing.
The book this time is called The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica Turner. Needless to say, the title itself appealed to me. My biggest complain every single day of my life is not having enough time. I run from the time I get up (literally - my treadmill time is 5 a.m. since it is the only time I can fit it in!) until I fall, exhaustedly into bed, often dropping off mid page of a read. At times, it's really discouraging because I'd LOVE to have a few minutes each day for little projects and to read more.
I'm two chapters in so far and I have somewhat mixed feelings. I often avoid this kind of thing because the talk about scaling back one's work upsets me because I don't have that option financially and I don't have a job that gives me many options. I sometimes come away feeling very selfish because I work (honestly, I'd love to quit my job if I felt it was financially feasible at all and it's not like we live lavishly) and there can be in implicit judgement of mothers who work. One things I have totally appreciated so far is that I don't feel that the book is prescriptive that way or that I am already seen as a selfish, lesser Christian woman because I have a profession. I also totally relate to the premise of the book. I AM overcommitted and I AM overwhelmed and exhausted and I DO take on more than most of the other people I know.
I started getting a bit squirmy, though, in chapter 2, when the talk came around to making myself a priority and the fact that "just because it's a good thing to do doesn't mean it 's good for you or good for right now." I don't know - perhaps I'm squirmy because it's a stronghold in my thinking and I need to let go of doing. I'm a Martha, I can admit that and it's something that I'm working on. On the other hand, my weekly baking for the less fortunate (which I've done for over five years now and gives me tremendous pleasure) and my Sunday school teaching and helping with the kids choir at church, while they could be done by other people, weren't being done by other people and at least at the churches I have attending, it's getting harder and harder to find people to help. Is it really o.k. for me to say no to teaching Sunday school since I'm already busy with planning lessons for my job and taking that time to, say, craft or read, instead of helping out. I'm really not sure on that one.
I think I'm just a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of putting myself before others and in fact, that goes against what I believe the gospel message is, to some degree. Absolutely, I shouldn't kill myself serving others but on the other hand, isn't it better for me to bake for those who don't have that personal touch or, for that matter, chauffeur my kids to skating when they enjoy it so much and it's given Pk so much confidence? I really don't know where the line is on that and I certainly do tend towards guilt and feeling selfish so maybe I can't be objective.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading more and seeing how to find those "stolen moments" for myself. For now, my blogging seems to be a key to that and it happens after the kids go to bed. I'd like to find a way to do this without meaning only six hours of sleep - I'm awfully tired these days. I am also really looking forward to learning from other women who are clearly feeling as overwhelmed as I am!