September 24, 2013

More to do than can ever be done...

I don't have any pictures to post from the weekend.  Well, there's one that Henry insisted on taking of the tower he built with Jenga blocks, but that's it.  When we came home Friday evening after work + soccer, I immediately made a To Do list for the weekend.  Friday evening may not be the best time to face the numerous tasks waiting for me.  You may recall, Fridays, can be extremely stressful around here.

When I looked at the list of not-so-quick-n-easy chores, I almost had an anxiety attack.  Certainly as close as I've come in ten or so years.  Besides not knowing how I'd accomplish it all in just 48 hours (34, if I was allowed to sleep), I was also VERY dismayed to see that not one of the things on the list involved spending time with my children.  You know, those two little boys who I barely see all week long?  They weren't on my weekend list.

Well, this is not going to work.  Now what? 

 I needed to grade eighty middle school projects, do seven loads of laundry, go to at least two grocery stores, get the oil changed, wash the windows (seriously, you can barely see out of them), balance my checkbook, reset the water softener and mow the front and back lawns.   Definitely no time to spend just being.  With my children.

Typically, I'm all about compromises but in this moment, I realized that a compromise wouldn't work.  This was an all or nothing situation.  Either I plowed through my To Do list, stopping only to eat twice a day OR I spend the weekend being present with and for my children.  I could give them my full attention which they crave and deserve or I could multitask our way into family dysfunction.

You know the saying, The days are long but the years are short?  Well, it's ubiquitous for a reason.  It's very, very true.  My boys are 4 1/2 and 6 1/2.  This is their one and only childhood.  I can share it with them.  Or I can get stuff done.  I cannot do both.

By the end of the evening, I knew what I had to do.  I tore up the list.  Over the next two days, some things got done... like the laundry.  Actually, I think that's all that I finished.  And you know what?  The world didn't end.  The projects are slowing being graded--fifteen or so at a time, on my lunch breaks.  I bought milk and frozen pizzas at Menard's (oh yes, I did) and we just pretend the windows have a fancy UV tint to them.

I noticed a difference in my boys.  They were calmer and happier once they realized that the pace of the weekend was going to be slower.  I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed them.  I (almost) relaxed.

I have no idea when I'll get the oil changed or mow the lawn and I'm pretty sure this weekend will be just as filled with want to's and have to's.  I need to get better at separating work tasks from home tasks and at separating both of those from parenting.

Real time parenting--not add it to my list parenting.

I'll let you know how it goes.  But for now, here's the Jenga tower:


  1. I think you need to give yourself a break. I really do. That life stuff has to get done. At least some of it. Take the boys with you to get the oil changed; that's what I do. We hang out and read books...that 30 minutes whizzes by! Lawn mowing? Give them some plants to plant while you're mowing! (I outsource yard work!) You're a great mom! You spend tons of time with the boys. A couple of days of boring gotta get it done life stuff will be good for them, and you! (fwiw...I haven't balanced my check book in over 2 years! :) ) Life is good!!!

  2. very wise of you & you made the right choice. The way I see it, I can keep my home spotless when Elena is a teenager & doesn't want to spend any more time with than she has to. Right now, I'll just to enough to keep the place from being a dump, & spend the majority of my energy being present for Elena.

  3. Yay! Three cheers for not getting anything done, while simultaneously doing the most important thing! My kids are the same way - when I am present and relaxed they are just wonderful, enjoyable, happy beings, and vs. versa. Why oh why do we not have personal assistants to take care of all the "unimportant" stuff?!

  4. I so agree with these ladys! You know cleaning is never done its the fun of making memories that you will cherish. You work so hard and you are so hard on yourself! I so feel you need to relax more! YOu are a super MOM and never met someone who has to balance so many things. Hang in there! You so inspire me to be a better person!