Monday, August 29, 2011

No, I Did Not Take the Time to Shower.

farm flowers

I often wonder if every other mom in America feels as constantly harried and time-pressured as I do. Every day my to-do list is a mile long, and I never complete it. I just roll the items onto the next day's list. And yet, I get up at six a.m. (if I'm lucky) and generally don't stop moving until eight or so at night (if I'm lucky). Then usually at eight I'm sitting with the laptop, doing freelance work.

I'm not trying to imply that I've won some sort of Busiest So Therefore Most Important Mom Award. And I'm not trying to bore you with a self-pity-fest. I truly want to know: Does everyone else run around like a dervish all day -- cooking, cleaning, caretaking children, running errands, managing appointments, shopping, meal-planning, baking, and working -- and rarely (if ever) enjoy a truly relaxed chunk of contented, non-whirling-dervish, recreational time? Does anyone out there lounge on the sofa reading magazines, ever? Any moms, I mean?

Time is all about priorities and choices. Because feeding my kids organic, locally-grown produce and cooking from-scratch meals is important to me, I spent six hours yesterday -- from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- first at our CSA farm picking cherry tomatoes, edamame, green beans, basil, and fresh flowers, and then roasting and freezing the tomatoes; trimming, washing, blanching, and freezing the beans; making a stromboli with homemade bread dough, farm tomatoes and basil for dinner; steaming edamame for dinner; and slicing and freezing a chocolate-zucchini bread that I baked the other day. And those were six hours I couldn't spend freelance-writing, or revising and rewriting parts of my book, or working on my psychologist's license renewal application, or doing necessary work for my developing wellness coaching website, or performing my physical therapy stretches, or spending time with my kids, or spending time with my husband. All things that made me feel guilty and stressed, because those are things I needed to be doing too.

When I sat down with my family for dinner at 5:20 p.m., I realized that I literally had not sat down -- unless you count the five minutes it took to drive to the farm, and the five minutes it took to drive back home -- since I climbed out of bed at 6:20 that morning. I even had my morning coffee, breakfast, and lunch standing up, while doing other things.

If I wasn't working part-time on top of being a full-time stay-at-home mom I wouldn't be this busy. If I didn't care deeply about the food I feed my children, and served convenience foods more often or ordered pizza or went through the drive-through or got take-out for dinner I wouldn't be this busy. But I am, and I do, and it along with everything else eats up every hour of my day. I know I'm not the only mom in this situation.

Of course, in situations like this, something has to give. There are always things you don't do as often as you should -- or maybe you don't do them at all, even some things that are really important. Because you're only human. But then you're constantly thinking, Is everyone living like this? And is anyone out there lounging on the sofa? And you're thinking, Dammit, I didn't get to everything on my list today. And also, I'm tired.

How are you all making out, fellow moms? Who's figured out the trick? Do any of you have actual free time? What do you do -- not sleep? Tell me. I really want to know.


Heather@ That Uncomfortable Itch said...

Yes, I think most of us are, even the ones with nannies. I have yet to meet an un-harried mother on the soccer lines or at pick up. I spend most of my days plotting everything out in 5 minute increments. And it still doesn't cut it. Cheers!

Mary S. said...

The harried-thing is pretty common among mothers of young children, and maybe always has been. But the nature of it seems different now even from when my kids were young (not that long ago).

Think about it: You you have two kids and a home to manage, plus two rather different careers (writer and psychologist) plus all the distractions/conveniences that come with modern life (social media, etc.) and I think that adds up to a more frenetic pace because changing gears all the time is hard.

Luckily, you're eating all those organic vegetables, which probably helps you cope better with everything else. Keep on cooking!

Rita said...

I never (and I mean NEVER) sit down during the day. And yet, I DON'T feed my children perfect foods like you do, and I don't even have a part-time job.

Now I'm REALLY wondering what the hell I do with my time. Sheesh.

Shannon said...

@Rita: Are you kidding, girl? You are HOMESCHOOLING YOUR CHILD. Enough said.