This week, on top of my regular working hours as a library clerk, I also ran a balloon sculpture workshop and storytelling for my homeschooling group. My oldest used to run storytelling, but going to college made this difficult, and her younger siblings had no interest in leading. This was also winter break in our school district, so it has been busier in the children's library as parents look for activities to fill their kids' days and as some of the children come in to work on projects and papers.
Needless to say, it has been a busy week, and the week isn't over yet.
But here's the thing: there is busy, and there is busy. Everything I do I choose to do, so even though I came home exhausted the past couple of nights, ready to soak my feet, I don't regret how I spend my time, especially when I can be with the kids.
Children are honest. They tell you when they aren't interested in what you are doing. It's more of a challenge to pull them into an activity and then keep them focused on it. I don't always succeed, but I appreciate that challenge because it helps me to grow. My storytelling workshops started as simply teaching and playing games to help children learn how to tell stories. Now that I do it every month, I found it necessary to expand it. Last month I taught them debate. This month I had them make up "how-to" instructions for a favorite hobby or to explain how to cook something. I recognize the need to adapt and change based on my audience.
Balloon sculpting is also only as fun as your most challenged student. This group was older than past groups, so I was able to do much more with them. As I went along, I talked about proportions and twisting and the fear of popping. By the end, everyone went home with at least four balloon animals and sculptures. I considered that a successful night and I was really glad I brought my son along to inflate extra balloons.
Enjoyment should not be a bonus to what we do. It's an important part of a fulfilling work life. I encourage my kids to enjoy what they do. That doesn't simply mean look for jobs that you think you would like. Every job, every career, has aspects that are tedious or difficult or not fun and that includes the unpaid careers of parenting and homeschooling. But we have the ability to decide if we will consider those mundane parts the deal-breaker or the challenge we will overcome.