Photobucket      Photobucket      Photobucket       Photobucket

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

on trying to do all the things

I shouldn't flatter myself by assuming that my gentle readers have noticed how little I've blogged lately.  So, in case you haven't noticed, I haven't been writing much lately.

I don't know if I'm just tired, or a little burned out with life, or truly don't have enough free hours in the day, but it seems hard to find the time to write.  I love to write, I want to write, I daydream in prose while I cook meals and wash dishes -- but at the end of the day, I rarely get time to put fingers to keyboard and record any of the thoughts or experiences I had meant to write.

I'm totally blown away by those women out there that seem to manage it all.  Four or five kids, a beautiful home seemingly always in immaculate condition, craft projects and DIY beautifying going on every day, repainting furniture in the perfect hues, children dressed in designer clothing, homeschooling, cooking from scratch, selling beautiful handmade things on Etsy, managing their start-up businesses, and blogging about all of it with professional-quality photographs.

How in the world...?

There are toys under my couch that haven't seen the light of day in probably a month.  One or more of us has been sick pretty much every day for the past month in an endless cycle of colds and fevers and even a bad bout of the flu {lucky me}.  My baby crawls around picking up bits of yesterday's food from the floor beneath her high chair and trying to eat it while my toddler hasn't had a bath in days.  I cook from scratch, but my kitchen is the worse for the wear because of it.  If the living room is tidy, you can bet the master bedroom isn't.  If the master bedroom is clean, the kids' rooms upstairs will be piled high with laundry waiting to be put away.  If the laundry is all done and put away, I'm dreadfully behind on work-related tasks.  And so on and so forth.

On days when I'm lucky enough to have both children napping simultaneously, or evenings when I get them to bed in a timely fashion and no one wakes up crying for an hour or more, my brain sounds something like this:

"FREEDOM!!!  What should I do?!  I know!  Work on the rag rug I'm making for Nell's room!  Or wait, I could write on my blog!  I could read other peoples' blogs!  No, I should mend Nathan's shirt that's been sitting on top of the mending pile for weeks!  No, perhaps I'll practice my violin!  Or get caught up on work!  Send those emails that have needed to be done for weeks!  No, wait, I could bake some cookies for Nathan!  I could sew something pretty!  Organize the linen closet!  Take down that last Christmas decoration that's still up even though it's March!  Tidy up the kids' toys and rotate out some of the ones they haven't played with lately!  I could go on Pinterest and look for some ideas to make the house look ready for Spring!  Or I could sit down and relax!  Put my feet up, drink a cup of tea, yes, that's what I should do!  Watch an episode of Parenthood!  I'll just turn on the teakettle and----"

Of course, as if on cue, the baby probably wakes up.  Or, if not, I usually end up doing something practical like dishes or laundry, those two most never-ending of all the never-ending tasks of housekeeping.  I use nap time to tidy up for the babysitter, to set out snacks for the afternoon when I'll be working, to sweep the kitchen floor quickly.  Or perhaps in the evening laziness wins out and I watch an episode of Parenthood {I'm late to the party on that one, but I love it!}, telling myself I'll do all the other things! after one episode, but then it's 9:30 pm and I brush my teeth and fall into bed just in time for the baby to wake up.

Maybe someone else out there can relate?  I want to do so many things, to create beauty and do something lasting in between spending meaningful moments with my kids.  Then I get so excited about all the things I could do in the free moments I have, I somehow manage to do nothing.  I'm paralyzed by the possibilities and the time is all too brief.

It probably seems silly to try to fit in time for blogging when there are so many more essential things I could be doing.

I want to write things down in this insignificant little space of mine on the world wide web, not only because I enjoy the process of writing and find that it helps me clear my mind, but also because it somehow seems more tangible than the other things I accomplish.  Sure, I cleaned the dishes only to messy them again only to clean them again.  Yes, I vacuumed today, and will need to do so again by tomorrow no doubt.  The diapers were laundered, and the pail will be overflowing again by the end of the week.  The predictably cyclical nature of housework is enjoyable in its rhythm and pattern, but can also leave one at a bit of a loss.  Am I accomplishing anything?  Have I done anything of value?  There's something about the posts on this blog of mine that lend me a bit of satisfaction: I had a thought, and I wrote it down.  I photographed our lovely children, and I recorded a few memories.  I put it somewhere permanent.  The house will continue to ebb and flow in and out of chaos, but what I wrote and recorded - a tiny snapshot in the timeline of our family life - will remain.

So here's to the idea of making time to write a little more often.  Will it happen?  We shall see.  The dinner dishes are waiting to be done and the baby just woke up crying.  The tyranny of the urgent is real, and it is comfortingly predictable.

{I'm smiling to myself right now.  It's nice to be needed.}


  1. I feel this way all the time. The precipice of burn out! And sometimes I think I'm a little insane. So you're not alone. My baby is always waking up just when I'm about to "do" something beyond keeping them alive! I guess we are always adjusting what our expectation of "doing" is.

  2. I certainly feel this way! :) your post actually captures the insides of my brain rather nicely. Although mine is also doing the runaround while the kids are awake: hurry, hurry, oh the laundry needs to be switched, yes Josiah, in a minute Timothy, oh yes those dishes need to be done, shoot, wasn't I supposed to pay that bill? Maybe Gabe did it. Probably not. Oh it is ime for lunch. Didn't I just feed them? When am I going to water the garden, those dry winds are going to kill everything...


    I will say that the women with 4-5 kids have older kids who can be genuinely helpful. Right now you have no one to help with the laundry and dishes and pick up and sweeping. I have three! If I weren't homeschooling I could likely put up gorgeous gardening pictures on Pinterest! Just to say that the toddler/baby years are totally different when you have older kids around to help.

    Clearly you need to have a few more. :D

  3. Well you are certainly not alone! I could have written this (though, honestly, not as well) but the thoughts are the same - so much is a never-ending cycle and I love how you put blogging in the category of lasting, creative things. And yes, those moments of freedom are completely paralyzing! :)

  4. I'm reading a great book right now called the Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner. It is the Bloom book study for the month of march at You might enjoy it :-) Hang in there mama!

  5. You put words into my mouth. Whenever I feel like I'm futilely attempting to do all. the. things., I try to take a step back and do just. one. thing. And do that well. Seeing all the things, makes the tasks seem insurmountable, but, somehow, seeing them individually can make it seem a little more doable. Hang in there!

  6. One blessing of being a full time 8am-5pm working mom is that I usually have a lunch break of quiet time to write a quick blog or read. I really respect that you are managing your household while working part time. It is hard to feel so stretched. (And you don't want to let certain things slide.)

  7. Anonymous12:34 PM

    I so remember feeling this way! And, as you said, so many of the tasks you tackle daily are ones that will have to be redone again tomorrow (or this afternoon?). To top it off, many are things that don't get noticed when they are done, only when they're not! People don't notice a dusted and vacuumed room, but they do seem to notice dust bunnies! And if only you could hear the words of a boss saying, "Job well done! Good work!"

    You reward is coming. It's fantastic to see your kids soar as adults! We know! Watching you as a wife and mom is wonderful! But meanwhile, try to notice the little moments and tuck them "in your pocket" (or blog!) - the little hand that reaches up to hold yours, the unexpected "Thank you, Mama", the snuggles, the smile from your hubby, the grins and giggles, and so much more. Absolutely nothing you could be doing is more important. I am convinced.

    I love you and am fiercely proud of you!

  8. My sister and I have tried to name this feeling. Is it Babysitter Performance Anxiety? There's got to be a better name for it. But yes, all the time.