Party Planning is My Charism

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on January 23, 2014

Last week a friend of mine sent me my very own FitBit. Isn’t that ridiculously sweet? I couldn’t believe it. She wins all the friendship gold medals and I should probably name my next child after her.

As I suspected, I am completely smitten, it’s everything I dreamed it would be, and my life is forever changed. No surprise there.

What was surprising is the little bombshell its trusty sleep tracker just dropped in my lap. According to it’s well-calibrated motion detector, my sweet-as-pie baby boy has been waking me up an average of fifty times a night! How about that?

Fifty, girls. FIFTY.

I mean, I knew that I wasn’t sleeping — and haven’t been for almost ten months — but I don’t think I realized just how bad it was. Not every sleep disruption requires that I get out of bed, of course, but they all require that I exit the delicious world of REM and tend to Charlie in some way.

I think you can go one of two ways when you find out that your sleep patterns rival those of a Gulag prisoner. You can throw a massive pity party (and there’s no shame in that game — you have totally earned it, you partiers of pity) or you can go the bad a** route. As in: only a truly amazing person could survive nearly a year of intense sleep-deprivation.

I go back and forth, but at the moment I’m totally donning my cape. It’s pink and has AWESOME written all over it, in case you were wondering. (You’ll probably get your invite to my cape burning party next week, though, so be on the lookout for that.)

Anyway, I had an epiphany that blew my mind, and probably won’t blow yours, but I’m going to share it anyway. Here goes:

Adding tasks to my to-do list can (potentially) give me energy.

Crazy, I know.

Jen has written about this in the past, and I love her thoughts. As with so many things, though, it took me a while to really get it on a personal level.

I’ve long been inspired by this idea that every person should seek out the things of this world that make them feel alive and had a pretty good idea before Charlie was born of which sort of things enlivened me and which things, though lovely, belong on my personal Life Ruining list.

Howard Thurman quote

While in the midst of sleep-deprivation, though, even the things which normally exhilarate me deplete me. I just figured that was to be expected given the circumstances and that there was nothing to do but wait out this survival season.

When the Holy Spirit hit Jen and me upside the head with this idea that we should throw a big party this summer our initial reaction was “Ha ha ha — you’re funny, God.” Because our lives? They are intense. Eventually we consented, though, and desperately embraced the mantra: “If God brings you to it, he’ll bring you through it.”

Never in a million years would I have expected that the gathering we’re planning would become that thing that makes me excited to hop out of bed in the morning. (Can party planning be a charism? I think yes.) Even when our venue fell through, and we had to toss out all of our hard work, create a new vision, and start from scratch, it was this event that kept me smiling in spite of all exhaustion.

Every morning I wake up, pour over the options, and start plotting ways in which we can make everyone’s visit to Austin as fun and fulfilling as possible. By the time Jen wakes up over in CST land, she usually has at least five emails that say:

Ooh, this place has a rooftop pool!

This place will hand out tickets for free glasses of wine when our guests arrive!

This place has a coffee shop in the lobby!

And this place is right in the heart of downtown Austin!

What about Karaoke? We totally need a Karaoke machine!

(Except with far more exclamation points and emoticons.)

It’s such a high for me, I can’t even tell you.

As I was puzzling over how it was that planning this gathering (which is, no doubt about it, a lot of work) could leave me feeling so invigorated, it hit me that within the list of things that make me feel alive and bring joy to my life, there is a sublist of things that have the power to energize me. It seems so simple and obvious, but this idea that some of my passions fuel me and some of them require fuel really was kind of a lightning bolt moment for me.

The little changes I’ve made as a result of this realization are already bearing fruit and the idea that there are things out there that — though technically fall under the category of ‘work’ — can give me energy when my stores are low, is exciting.

It’s not a panacea, of course. I’m still tired, my inbox is shamefully neglected (as is this blog), my laundry pile is two floors too high, and I still have to accomplish all sorts of things each day that sap my energy. That’s just life. But still, I feel like I have a new tool in my arsenal and new tools make me feel like I’m going to win at all the things.

And even if this experiment ends up being full of fail, you won’t hear too many complaints from me. There are far worse things that could wake a gal up every 9.6 minutes than this guy. Wrapped around his little finger, I am.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Micaela @ California to Korea January 23, 2014 at 4:17 am

Aw, Hallie. I think this is a very profound, realization. I think I need to jump on that bandwagon. Also, I need to meet your FitBit friend if my hubby decides to out the budget before my birthday requests. :)
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Wendy January 23, 2014 at 8:39 am

My goodness! My babies are now 22 and 18. It has been a long time but I still remember how it was. Just last year I read a book that might give you a hand. Bringing Up Bebe, by Druckerman. It was how things were for us with our babies, only we are not french. We didn’t have a monitor in our room, nor did we co-sleep, not that those things are necessisarily bad. And daughter#1 wound up in bed with us every morning about 4 until she was 4. (She was cold)We didn’t have any help of any kind, no family or friends, being newly married and 1 baby. This book will shine light on many things that can help in the sleep arena and others, like snacks and the reasons not to give them. I love social/cultural books, and this will help when my babies have babies of their own. Blessings to you and for your Par-tay!!!

Misty January 23, 2014 at 8:56 am

Hallie this makes so much sense to me. First of all, I’ve been there with the sleep-deprivation and I admire you taking on this dream in the midst of it. Sometimes I think of the law of inertia in relation to motherhood : objects at rest tend to stay at rest while objects in motion tend to stay in motion. When I am exercising and keeping ‘moderately’ busy my head stays clearer and I feel more energized. Now that I am laid up with a knee injury and unable to keep busy, I have felt my whole body slow down and small things feel like ‘too big’ big things. I so wish I could make it to your party in Austin. We have a family reunion planned at that time in July and I’d be a black sheep for sure if I went to Texas instead! I’ll keep praying for it to happen and to bless the many women that will be lucky enough to attend.
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Amelia @ One Catholic Mama January 23, 2014 at 9:37 am

I’ve always said that the one thing that helps me survive homeschooling and staying home with little kids is doing things that energerize me. Writing energizes me, which is why I continue to blog, even though no one reads it. LOL

I also like planning things, so I can totally understand that. Of course, my planning consists of planning the homeschool Valentine’s Card Exchange/Party…. a conference is way outside my league. But, I think it’s awesome you all are doing this!!!

Anyway, you are so right on the importance of doing something that energizes you, and I thank God that we have people willing to do things like organize parties and coops and and conferences and retreats, etc.
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Paige Kellerman January 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

Oh my goodness he is a cutie. It’s ok, I don’t think I’ve slept since 2009, so walking zombie moms, unite! …and then drink all the coffee ever.
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mary wilkerson January 23, 2014 at 10:37 am

so, I am not a fancy blogger, and our money is kind of tight, so I haven’t even really considered the conference that is in the works (though I think it is AH-mazing that you are planning it). BUT, then you said rooftop pool and tickets for free drinks (as possibilities) and i thought, maybe I need to put it on the table!
I know this post wasn’t about that…I just thought I’d share!
Good day!
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Francine January 23, 2014 at 10:45 am

Oh, I sure hope and pray you get some sleep soon! I keep Jen’s post in my mind frequently, as I try to figure out what I can do to have energy throughout the day. Today, I’ll see if I can squeeze in a little bit of exercise and a shower. :)
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Jeni January 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Haha just getting your tweet as I type this. I want a fitbit but I’m afraid to learn how little sleep and exercise I experience.

I really am planning on attending the awesome beyond awesome conference. I can’t wait. I think several stars and planets are going to need to align for me to make it, but planning on a miracle nonetheless!

Meanwhile what on earth is my charism? Could it be Facebook? No. Probably not. Man I wish I’d figure it out soon bc I am as drained and burnt out as they come. Hmm…
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Stefanie January 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Love that quote!!!!
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Christy January 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Aww, Hallie-50 times!? What is going on with these babies?! I’ve been up multiple times every night forever of course, but for the last two, three weeks maybe this baby I have has been up in the middle of the night for at least an hour and a half keeping me awake. I just want to cry thinking about how I can’t even fix it a little bit. Will a day actually come where I can’t remember this semi-comatose existence??
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Caroline M. January 26, 2014 at 6:30 am

I think I have the anti-charism of party-planning. Planning our wedding was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – mostly because I was trying to please everyone, which is impossible. That’s probably why party-planning of all kinds makes me panic: the idea that someone, somewhere, will be unhappy or dissatisfied with one of the choices. BUT – it’s wonderful that there are amazing people who do enjoy it!

Julia January 27, 2014 at 1:46 am

God can not inspire unrealizable desires! But with that being said, I just feel a thrill to even picture such a conference taking place, whenever it happens! :) If you all need to delegate helpers, you know where to find some eager ones! ;) Praying for good health and good sleep for both of you hard-workin’ Mamas!
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