Each evening as I returned to my room after a day of conventioning, I looked at my laptop and dreaded opening it. This is unusual. The internet is usually my friend. I like my regular blogs and email. But my brain was so full of new things, that the last thing I wanted to do was add more new things. My caution was wise because I ended the convention over loaded.
I’ve been back for three days now and I am still carefully regulating my input. I’m back to answering email and blog comments. But I still haven’t caught up on my usual internet sites. I’m not reading much that I don’t have to in order to keep our business running. Also I am sleeping more than I would like. It is a necessary reset, which is being hampered by my extensive list of things to do.
I’ve seen this sort of overload in my kids as well. Patch is the most prone to it. He really requires quiet spaces in order to stay his usual happy self. One of my jobs as a parent is to watch my kids and force them to slow down when they’re getting over stimulated. Apparently I need to do a better job of doing this for myself. A couple of friends at the convention told me how they always schedule time mid-con to hide from everyone and everything. This sounds wise.
I am already thinking about how I can put this into practice next August when Howard and I take the two oldest to GenCon. We are all going to be over loaded and I need to think carefully about how I can counter act that and give us quiet spaces. The kids and I may have to ditch the convention for an afternoon and go find a park to sit in. Or perhaps we’ll watch movies in the room. I am going to have to be much more careful to conserve my own energy. I can’t afford to run myself to the edge of my limits when I have two kids to watch out for. I’ll also have Howard who will run himself to the edge of his limits, as is his job. I need to spend energy making sure that the presence of the kids does not interfere with his ability to work the show. It will be an interesting challenge.
Conventions are not the only time when I need to spend energy regulating input. I still remember clearly the day I worked myself to my physical limits assembling two pallets of books, and then had to face a plethora of kid crises with zero emotional or physical reserves. That was the kind of day I vow never to repeat, and I haven’t, but I keep coming close. I think one of the hardest things about being a mother is that I can’t allow myself to run to the edge of my abilities. I have to hold part of my energies in reserve so that I can always answer the needs of the children. It was one of the joys of Penguicon that I could use up my reserves. Mostly. Except for the phone calls. (How exactly did they expect me to help find the eye drops in my brother’s house while I was over 1000 miles away? I don’t know, but they called to ask me anyway.)
Hmm. This post began talking about regulating input and ended with retaining reserves. My thoughts are still rambling and I lack the focus to bring things back around so that they all connect at the end of the post. Also I am still tired. So for today I will apply the lazy solution and add the words “and retaining reserves” to the title of the post. That makes it all relevant. Right?