Saturday, October 3, 2009

Doing it all

It's nearly midnight on Saturday, and I'm wide awake, having consumed inordinate amounts of caffeine throughout the day to a) wake up, b) stay awake, and c) have faux energy to get things done. In reflecting over the last 24 hours, I find myself completely baffled by something: I have barely sat still during that time (except when I finally passed out into sleep from around 3 am to 11 am -- thank God for Saturday mornings and Marty pulling daddy duty), yet I am surrounded by things needing to be done. During these past 24 hours, I have: done 6 loads of laundry, cleaned Will's nursery, changed the sheets and dusted in our bedroom, worked on a baby photo album, bought a birthday present, ran the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen, researched recipes online and in my cookbooks, made out a meal plan for the next week and a half, went grocery shopping (with a detailed list and on a tight budget), paid bills, bathed the baby, washed and sterilized all the bottles, reorganized the pantry, and worked more on cleaning and reorganizing my office. During that time, I also managed to play with Will (I'm teaching him colors and shapes, we're reading Winnie-the-Pooh, and we're practicing saying "Mama"), spend some quality time with my husband, watch a movie ("Sunshine Cleaning" -- anything with cutie-pie Amy Adams is worth watching), and almost finish One Fifth Avenue during an extremely long bath this morning from the deliciously silent hour from 1 to 2 a.m. And all this after I put in a very long and hard full-time workweek, during which I completed 4 projects in 5 days, which is an excellent showing, trust me. So you'd think after all this energy expenditure and things accomplished, I'd feel good about where I stand in all areas of my life. Well, you'd think. But to be completely honest, I feel the exact opposite. I'm facing a mountain of work at my job next week, and if we don't get a daytime babysitter soon, I might very well break down and cry 5 times a day instead of my usual 2, as I look with extreme guilt at my poor son who's so over his bouncy seat and swing and play mat, my only aids in keeping him occupied while Mommy works on laying out congress posters for her clients. I'm in the middle of about 18 projects in our household, from washing and packing up all my maternity clothes and rearranging my closet for seasonal purposes, to creating a new method of bill-paying and budgeting as we continue to work toward our savings goals while paying off the last of my divorce debt (to put it nicely, my ex didn't exactly stand up and take his share) and other yucky bills (um, I wish doctors would inform you of the $3,000 after-insurance price tag when they dangle a C-section in front of you in your most desperate moment -- might take some of the edge off that desperation). Instead of going on about the rest, and I could, let me just state unequivocally that I'm overwhelmed. Meanwhile, I haven't responded to about 95% of the emails received in the last 2 months, I haven't talked on the phone with anyone in about 3 weeks -- save for my mom who got all of 5 minutes today, and I really need to give myself a pedicure and a root touch-up. And figure out how to get out of sweats and stop sporting the ever-present ponytail. And shower before 8 pm each day. To top it all off, I look outside and see the warm autumn sunshine and breezes blowing the first leaves to the ground and I know that fall is already starting to pass me by, when I already missed spring and summer because I was hugely pregnant and then a brand-new mom who briefly lost all concept of time.

I'm not one of those girls who's going to put a big fat smile on her face and pretend to the world like she's got her act together. Nope, I'm done with faking (I was miserable in my first marriage but made sure no one knew until the day I decided to be done being miserable). So I guess I'm swinging to the other end of the spectrum -- brutal honesty. I'm just not doing well at this juggling thing. And I'm sharing this with you, all 8(?) of my readers, in a desperate plea for advice, tricks, tips -- help of any kind. What's your system for paying bills? Grocery-shopping? Meal-planning? Answering the phone? Getting sleep? Cleaning the house? Getting out of the house???

I just re-read the title of this blog post, "Doing it all," and laughed to myself. Of course it should say "Not doing it all." Or, "Doing it all, crappily." Well, now that that's off my chest, I'm off to go soak in the tub for an hour and escape to a building in Manhattan whose inhabitants spend their time gossiping and shopping at Louis Vuitton. Sigh.


Katie B said...

Don't worry, Be. I'll be down soon to help you out for a few weeks. You have to let me know what works best for you. Should I come down the week of the 11th or the week of the 18th?

making waves said...

I think things are like this sometimes. It's just me and now 2 cats and I've felt much the way you have too. It's little consolation but just know you're not alone. I think women, especially, are masterful jugglers (and are own biggest critics when we think we should be able to twirl balls, an M & M, an anvil, and a bicycle without a blink). Sometimes though, it's okay to set the bicycle aside, eat the M & M, and let the balls drop where they may. Hang in there, my friend. You're only human, not a robot. Sending you a me at the big "L" if you need someone to cheer you on, vent to, or a shoulder to lean on. I'm there for you. Take care.

~ said...

Well, sounds like you've been hit with the 2-ton brick known as reality. It happens after the initial new-baby haze wears off and (in my experience) actually gets a little worse at this point when you're finally getting some sleep at night. Because you feel like you're supposed to have it together now and you're holding yourself to a different standard. It's tough, I know.
My best advice is to keep being honest and gentle with yourself- you cannot accomplish it all. Not yet. Take it one day at a time, and yes, by all means, get outside and enjoy your fall weather. Move your body every day and eat well. Do your paying work, take care of Will (and enjoy him!)and actively stay healthy. And if there's nothing left after that- so be it. This phase will pass. We've all been there and you will make it!

Sarah said...

I don't think I have any words of wisdom to impart, but I just want to say that you don't have to do it all. Yes, you have things in your life that need to be done, but your sanity is important too! If you could find just minutes for yourself every day to take a hot bath, sit outside with a cup of coffee or tea, may be that would help drown out the "noise" for a little while and give you room to clear your head. But remember to cut yourself some slack!! You don't have to be super woman!

emily ann. said...

I'm so writing an email because my comment was getting out of control! :)

Jen said...

Becky, Becky, Becky...let me just say, "I hear ya!". :) I went through a phase (more accurately, several of the same phases) when I just felt as though I wasn't really doing any one thing WELL. I was doing about four hundred things at once and not one single thing got more than the minimum. It can be incredibly overwhelming! :) Like everyone else says, let some of the small stuff go and know that it will pass. And cut yourself some slack - sometimes the bare minimum is plenty. Good luck!

Kristen said...

Take it from a supermom wannabe - you have to decide to do the best you can today. I'm the QUEEN of frustration at this point, honey! I sit in my torn to pieces little "cottage" (I've taken to calling our 1200 sf ranch that to soothe myself into thinking I choose to live so cozy) with boxes and crap strewn everywhere in an attempt to carve out a niche where our precious Anna can live and I think that we're NUTS! You know me and my schedule, so I won't bore you.

Just know that life goes on. If the dusting isn't done and the dishes are stacked, the calendar flips anyway. Pick a major task or two a day and spend all the rest of your time enjoying little moments because they go by TOO fast!

And if it still seems overwhelming carve out 5 of those minutes for me and you can complain to a veteran :)

The Shabby Princess said...

Don't worry my dear, it will pass. And you should feel very accomplished. You're an amazing woman, and mother. Everyone feels this way sometimes .It's OK!

If you were in my area, I'd give you my sister in law as daytime help--she's looking for a job as a nanny. Boo!

Just know, it'll be OK. It will work out :)

love you!!

ashley @ twentysixcats said...

I could have written this post. I'm right there in the trenches with ya, girlfriend. *hug* I would say more but I'm one-handed right now.