Saturday, August 2, 2008

Not enough (quiet) hours in the day

I am so utterly behind with everything that I don't know what to do with myself. When both girls are asleep or with their Daddy, and I have a few minutes of free time, there is so much to be done that I feel overwhelmed and often try to work on 5 different tasks at the same time, often accomplishing nothing. How would I like to spend my time?

* Read up on child development and other issues
* Read for FUN...I miss feeling like I have time to just sit on the couch and read quietly
* Catch up on bills, filing, or other paperwork (which is not easy to do now that my office has been demoted to the basement, and the basement is not really kid-friendly, so therefor I have to work down there when both children are asleep)
* Work on my home business (teaching Sign2Me classes, I actually did get certified last November and purchased my curriculum materials, I just don't feel organized or centered enough to actually start up my business)
* Catch up on work-related reading so that I can work on getting my NIC certification sometime before I die
* Work on some crafts...beading, polymer clay, or other things that I am trying to do for relaxation (yeah, right)
* SLEEP (yeah, right)
* Plan activities for Liesl and I to do at home
* Watch a movie or a TV show
* Work on some home improvement projects...many of which are desperately needed in our 35 year-old house
* Pull some weeds in the gardens and flowerbeds
* Figure out how to budget for said home improvement projects
* Set up pictures for a post for my blog, which I am sure takes longer than most people, because I am still not used to the funky Blogger interface that doesn't let me format as easily as I would like
* Just sit and BE. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10)
* Etc., etc., etc., there are probably 100 more things on here that I could be doing

The list overwhelms me! Often I sit here doing one thing, but wondering if I should have devoted my time to others, and usually nothing gets accomplished.

When both girls are awake, I try to balance things out by doing some fun things (playgroups and outings with my very amazing Mom's club, trips to parks, the library, etc.); some necessary but interesting things (going to the Post Office is really exciting for a 2-1/2 year-old, believe it or not); and some just plain "girl time," where the girls and I stay home but I don't work on chores or other responsibilities--I really just slow down, be with my kids and let them take the lead on what we'd like to do for an hour or so. Those are fun times...but eventually, the house must get cleaned, the groceries must get purchased, and the bills must get paid.

Several friends remind me that I now have more than one kid, so that more than doubles the work. They're right, but I still see lots of people with more kids than I have accomplishing far more than I do...and their houses are cleaner and neater mine, too. I don't know if they are just more focused than I am, or getting more help with things, or what. I have found lots of products and tips that free up my hands and make my busy life just a little easier--a hands-free headset for my cell phone, slings and baby carriers, a backpack-style purse instead of my old over-the-shoulder model. But still...I am overwhelmed. There was a time when it was just Liesl and I in the house and I got an amazing amount of work done--but still managed to spend lots of quality time with my daughter and, oh yeah, myself. It boggles the mind how much easier this all was with only one kid.

I look back and realize how tough things were when Liesl was a baby, though--I was a new mother, learning on the job, getting 5,000 pieces of advice from 5,000 people that all contradicted and debated endlessly with each other. Now I laugh at myself--babies are EASY. It's older children and balancing family life that is tough. Ava is such an easy baby to take care of, but I am sure that is because I am so much more used to babies. I try to remind myself that these are special times, that the girls won't be so little and hands-on forever, and while they are, I should accept it and enjoy them, because this time will pass all too quickly. Yes, it is passing quickly, but if I slacked off and put off annoyances like paying the bills, the mortgage company probably won't buy that excuse.

Last weekend, I was up north with just the girls--I left Tom at home to catch up on sleep and projects. My parents took both girls out and left me alone in their cottage. It is a very small, tidy, peaceful place, so after I had picked up our bedrooms and made the beds, I just...sat. I looked at the lake. Then I got up and got the small Bible that I keep at their cottage, and just sat and read. I never do that, and I know I should. It was remarkably peaceful and calming. I know if I could just make myself sit down and read my Bible every day, God would provide for me the time and patience that I need to complete my other tasks. But I seldom actually take Him up on His generous offer, you know?

I'd like to come up with a snappy conclusion to end this post with, but you see, even though it is Saturday morning and I have the morning "off," as in, Tom take care of the girls...I have to get my shopping list ready for Meijer, I have to get ready to run as soon as I get home, and I have to prepare for a birthday party we are going to this afternoon.


Shirla said...

I thought once all 4 of my children were all grown that I would have more time to do "things" and more "me" time boy was I wrong! lol I now spend my days entertaining and caring for three of my grandchildren. Sure they go home around 4:00 pm, but I'm so tired after they leave all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week. lol My Mama used to say all the time, "God knew what he was doing when he gave children to younger people and not older people", I used to laugh at her when she said that, now I know the woman knew of what she spoke of. The things I used to do when my children were little I never gave it a second thought, now that I'm older I'm finding it all so much harder. You are doing a wonderful job raising your two girls, I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your pics and your videos of your girls are darling.

Marcy said...

It both terrifies me and makes me laugh how so many moms with older kids will tell me that babies are EASY and it's when they get older than things get tough! My little one just turned 6 months and I feel like I've passed a huge hurdle... though I'm sure when he gets up and moving that's when the mental challenges come in, needing to outsmart him.

I have all sorts of projects I'd love to get done, but honestly most days I end up spending most of my time on the computer, with a few chores thrown in. I'm lucky that my husband helps so much with all the house stuff. As for all those people who get so much more done and always have spotless houses? I'll let them do things their way. I don't mind a slightly messy house. ; )

Oh and by the way I only ever post photos on blogger by linking mine from my flickr account. I got fed up by the blogger method, especially since so often my pictures wouldn't even load right.