10.06.2014

Doing It All. But Not Doing It Very Well.

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Sadly, the return of school for O also means the return of school for me - which mostly just means, the return of the ever-present feeling that I have many things to take care of, none of which I'm taking care of particularly well.  Just the other day a lovely and well-meaning friend told me to cherish the time I have with my little kids because the age that they're at is golden.  Of course, she meant this in only the most positive way as she looked back at the changes that her kids have gone through in the last ten years; but of course, all I could think of was that I was doing exactly the opposite - over-extending myself to an extent that the little joys get lost in the big chaos.


And then I ask myself "what the hell am I doing?"


And then I just keep doing it anyway, hoping that one day I'll have some sense of clarity, although I'm pretty sure that that day is not coming anytime soon.



On the upside, hanging around with a bunch of twenty years at community college is endlessly entertaining and I always return to work the next day with some hilarious stories and an appreciation for the fact that I'm no longer twenty.  

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A couple of wrinkles and stray gray hairs never felt so good.

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8 comments:

  1. Oh Carolyn, there is so much I could say about this but it would be waay too long and you're a busy lady. For one, I think you are being far too hard on yourself. But secondly, I can tell you from this side of things, those kind of comments can be unsettling for stay at home moms, too. I've had this conversation with several of my friends, all of whom were stressed out when people told us to 'just enjoy it because you blink and it's over' and that kind of thing. I can't even go to the bathroom alone and I always feel like they are implying that it's all downhill from here. Even the other week, I was at a children's chorus rehearsal with Jude, the baby was screaming, I was trying to fill out paperwork while bouncing Hazel in my sling, my back was killing me, Iris was trying to climb something and this lady came up to me and said, "Just enjoy this! It goes so fast." I am all about being grateful and enjoying the present - I journaled 2,000 gratitudes for Pete's sake. But to me, those kind of comments are only anxiety producing, not encouraging. I never really understand people's motivation for saying them.

    I give you a lot of credit for what you are doing. :) And yeah, I'm so glad to not be in my 20s, too. I was just texting someone that very thing last week! I used to think 20-somethings were really immature these days and then I realized, they aren't immature, they're just 20.

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  2. I tell you what the hell you're doing, you're setting a great example for your kids about following your own dreams and working hard and also, being able to let go of perfectionism. I remember getting that 'enjoy it, it goes so fast' comment for the first time from a well-meaning old lady when Charlie was tiny and hideously colicky, and I was physically and emotionally fragile. I loved my baby desperately but I think I must have felt 'good lord, please tell me this isn't as good as it gets!'. To be honest, we have neighbours on either side with younger kids than ours and when I hear the amount of crying that goes on, and think back to that age with my kids, I am very, very glad I'm through that stage! It does get easier and there are still plenty of 'quality time' things you can do with your kids as they get older. Besides, look at those beautiful photos of your kids. Clearly you love and appreciate them and do enough fun things to keep you all going through the drudgery. Oh yeah, and despite my words of encouragement, know I have exactly the same feelings as you a lot of the time, haha!

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  3. These look like kids who have a ton of fun and quality time with their parents to me! And they have each other too! They are so sweet and happy!

    Parenting is super hard, in part because we never quite live up to our own anxieties or expectations of what we should do. It's funny, I hold myself to a very high standard at work, and I make mistakes and feel disappointed in myself sometimes, but it doesn't feel like the same kind of black hole of "I always could have done better! Or done more!" that mothering does! (Of course, if I were, say, an elementary school teacher, perhaps it would!) We mothers can never forgive ourselves for being human, it seems!

    I'm not going to tell you to savor these times or whatever the cliches are, but I will say, don't forget to notice all of the good times too! For all of the times when I'm feeling frazzled and snappy and exhausted, I try to remember the hilarious conversations in the car and the tickle-fests and the books we all know by heart. Hang in there!!

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  4. oh yes. yes yes yes yes. these wise women ahead of me have covered a lot of what i would say - i hate those "enjoy every moment!' people too. i mean it's one thing to appreciate the phase of life your kids are in and not be constantly wishing for them to be older until one day they're out of the house, but it's another to say "hey, some parts of motherhood kinda suck and i really wish my kid would stop pooping their damn pants." i think it's okay to want to be done with certain parts of motherhood and want other parts (bedtime snuggles, kids wanting to tell me about their day) to never change. and yes, the constant "should be doing" stuff is so hard to get past...especially as a working/schoolgoing mom with kids in school too. oh and having a sewing hobby/blog to boot. it all gets freakin' exhausting sometimes. fall in general is a big adjustment for me. anyway, hang in there girl. and yeah i wouldn't want to be 20 again either. nope.

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  5. What can I say... I'm guessing you didn't use the F word in your reply to your friend, so all I can say is you're doing alright! :) (Rachel, that goes triply so for you in the situation you describe).
    Those are some beautiful, happy and healthy looking kids.

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  6. I can really relate to everything you are saying. It feels like to do everything well, I'd need another 4-5 hours in a day. Of course I would want to sleep for some of those hours... I don't have any advice or wise words. I just wanted to let you know that others feel the same way you do. Keep on!

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  7. Oh yes, they look terribly neglected an unhappy there ;o) I have no kids but I still get rather baffling 'advice' from people with rose tinted nostalgia. Ignore them and sail serenely on (well as serenely as possible ;o) )

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  8. I know the feeling, have been there myself! Hang on! :) As far as cherishing every moment with your kids... I think if you are with them every moment, you will get cranky and tired. At least I do. :) They look happy and loved. I am sure you are a great mom! :)

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