Friday, July 20, 2007


So I've been having all this trouble with my schedule. I've been so, so tired--the kind of tired that makes each day way harder than it should be, because I have so little energy and so little patience. Every (very early) morning when Vivi awakes, I feel like I've been dragged from my bed mid-coma, so deep into sleep have I drifted during the pre-dawn hours and so lethargic are my brain cells. I threaten to fall asleep during the girls' naps, when I need to be cleaning and doing dinner prep and returning phone calls. I skip my runs because I can't imagine my legs carrying me. So I need to go to bed earlier, right? Like, nine o'clock?

Only you know my problem with that. There do not seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all and still go to bed at nine. And currently I'm not even talking about merely the personal-time pleasurable things that eat up my evening hours--the "So You Think You Can Dance" episodes, the relentless issues of The New Yorker, arriving week after week in my mailbox as they do, daring me to just TRY and go to bed on time. No, it's more serious now. I mean the cooking dinner, the laundry, the exercising (skipped it for two weeks now--too tired or too busy or both), the showering, the housecleaning, the errands, the appointments, the nursing the baby down to sleep at her complicatedly early bedtime (six o'clock! how to get dinner on the table and eat it, bathe the baby and dress her, all by six o'clock? if we could change it we would, but the baby falls apart and scrubs her eyes and cries by 5:55, so six it is).

None of the above obligations is new, so what's with my current time crunch? Well, lately I've begun doing some part-time consulting, and doggedly pursuing the freelance writing thing, and to stay on top of all that, I find myself drowning in hours of Internet searches and online contacts and tips and tricks and required reading and, oh yeah, writing. Try to mix all that up with the constant motion of parenting two very small children and doing all the cooking, cleaning, and general household management, and...well, you'll find yourself getting only six hours of sleep per night, which is REALLY, REALLY not enough for you.

These creative and professional pursuits are wonderful and exciting and boy oh boy fun, but meanwhile I'm left with the realization that something about my schedule is not working very well right now. What seems to be falling by the wayside is the oh-so-crucial self-maintenance regimen; and people, no one wants that.

You know how I know? Because last night at our town's little outdoor food festival, I ran into a friend who sees me several times a week, and the surprised enthusiasm with which she complimented my uncharacteristically groomed appearance--"You look so nice! I guess I haven't seen you with your hair down like that for a really long time!"--made me stop for a moment, grimace inwardly, and realize, Um, maybe I should rely on the no-time-to-shower ponytail--and its sidekick, the haphazard hair-pulled-into-a-clip--a LITTLE LESS FREQUENTLY. Seeing as my best friend has no idea how long, blonde, and CLEAN my hair can actually look, when I've, you know, taken some shampoo and a flatiron to it.

Have I really become that mom? The mom who can't find time for it all, who wonders about balance and priorities and juggling home, kids, work (in whatever form and degree), and personal fulfillment? And ends up chronically tired?

Are we all that mom?


Mom said...

Just a little advice from Mom: How about going to bed at 9 p.m. just a couple times a week?? Choose the nights with the worst tv schedule, close your book, and get at least a little additional sleep? Worth a try!

Shan said...

I might just do that. Maybe even tonight.

paula said...

YES! I am living a life like yours. Hello! I'm another Northfield mom. I have 7-month old twins.

I wonder what's so magic about 9 p.m.? I too desperately want to have a night where I get to bed early.

I've enjoyed reading your posts. It's comforting to know I'm not alone in this journey. You're adventures are delightful.

I'm still waiting for the day when I wear mascara and go to the movies. Congratulations to you! My issues of the New Yorker are scattered throughout the house waiting to be finished. I keep holding on to the belief that the day when I have time to leisurely read a magazine or a book is just around the corner. I love to dream! I've just started getting back to my writing. I have a goal of one sentence a day--it's sounds so puny, but some days that's all I can accomplish. At least it keeps me on track and connected with writing.

Thank you for your stories.

Enjoy your imagination today,

Big Sis Heidi said...

Shannon, I am CONSTANTLY trying to strike the balance of which you speak (write), and it is ALWAYS the personal-maintenance and home-maintenance (read, housecleaning) that get short shrift amidst the mommying and pastoring (the two of which are, sometimes, uncannily similar). I think it is a very common theme in modern motherhood, and it is simply good to know none of us is alone in the struggle.

Shan said...

Paula, we may have to meet sometime! Twins! YIKES--you are more of a superwoman than I! :) And Heidi, glad to hear I'm not alone. Not that I thought I was. ;)

paula said...

Oh no! I'm no superwoman. I'm just a woman who has learned to ask for help, settle for close enough, and carve out itty bitty bits of time to follow my passions.

Oh yeh and I'm trying to live on less sleep and become a morning person. Big challenges.

Babies are waking! Back to the race.