ellen mcbee

She's always up to something…

How do I do it? I don’t do all of it!

on October 12, 2015

So, I’ve been taking my time on posting on the blog. Mostly because I’m editing and re-writing and deep into getting the book ready, and doing some research. But mostly my Mom life has taken over. My youngest is in dance and gymnastics (and choir and orchestra) and has something every day. My middle child has quit gymnastics but is still doing hockey and band; she and I have big plans for cross-training, should we ever get off our behinds and go to the gym. For my oldest it’s all music.

I’ve written before about my extensive volunteer commitments: marching band, yearbook, VBS. And I’m still married to my husband, although he is gone quite a bit. For my blog this time I considered writing a little about some issues we’ve had with extended family, or about how burned out I’ve gotten on the old volunteer commitments while still being excited about the newer ones. Instead, I thought I might write about commitment.

Maybe I’m thinking about this because I’m old, crotchety, and think the younger generation lives in “planned obsolescence”–not just with their electronics, but with their friends and marriages and other relationships. Except that it’s not just young people who think about their lives that way. And while I think it’s healthy to think about changing your life, and making your world better, I also think that sometimes we do things because we are obligated. Only it’s a bigger idea than that, even: that there’s a kind of achievement in duty, maybe?

Take the marching band, for example. A little over a year ago I agreed to take on uniforming the band. This meant being in charge of uniform fittings and alterations and getting them cleaned. It’s a big job, but it’s finite. Somehow this job evolved into being “the lady in charge of all textiles.” So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been doing the World’s Largest Craft Project: 600 square feet of banners to frame the marching band show and help carry the theme (“Celestial,” or something similar). The fabric I ordered for the project has just arrived, a week later than anticipated, so I’ve had the stress of dealing with that and getting different fabric and getting all of it decorated and ready to go on the field. Additionally, I’ve been altering band pants because the band Won’t. Stop. Growing!

All of that would have been completely unbearable if it hadn’t been for the extensive help I’ve had. It’s not just me; it’s a whole team. I can even tell the team that I’m worried that people will blame me if things don’t go right (high winds meet 5 by 10 foot banners). And do you know what they say? Every single one of them says “No one thinks it’s your fault” and “We’re all in it together” and “Everyone knows you’re doing the best you can.” I was told six times today how pretty the banners are. It’s the most supportive volunteer environment I’ve ever been in. So even though it’s stressful, my efforts are appreciated and I at least try to be supportive of everyone else.

Contrasted with the other volunteer job I do that’s causing me grief…

I’m on a board of directors that has regular, annoying arguments. Complicated ones that involve Policies and Decisions. And it’s ridiculously unpleasant; every few days something new blows up. This is a board that is centered around a kid’s activity. The particular job I do isn’t onerous, but it eats my time. The time I’m supposed to be using to finish my book and start the next one.


I agreed to do it.

And that’s what it has in common with the marching band. I’m just not the kind of person who turns her back on a job I agreed to do, or on anything I agreed to do. Whether it’s a volunteer job that I’m tired of, or a friend who is passive aggressive at me, or even those days that I think, “I’ll just divorce him. I’ll be so much happier.” Or even if one of my kids is stubborn and hard to deal with–I don’t quit. And in my heart, I think people who DO quit–“It’s too hard, it’s not what I expected, it’s not fun!!!” should be ashamed of themselves.

So, a couple of last thoughts from my Mom life, and then I have to go live it.



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