I knew I would have a hard transition into motherhood. Even before Abby came, I struggled to feel like I was getting around to everything that was important: keeping the house clean and organized, investing in friendships, teaching with thoughtfulness and excellence, volunteering, blogging, reading, decorating, cooking, etc…etc…etc. Even on a normal day, my “to-do” list was daunting, and if you caught me on a day after I had just read my Better Homes and Gardens or a blog at Simple Mom…look out! I was going to do all of the above, plus maintain an organic garden, can my own peaches, and knit sweaters for every gift-giving occasion.
Since Abby has been born, I have been thankful that I still feel like “myself,” and that all of my pre-baby interests and activities haven’t been sucked into the the diaper pail. However, that also means that I’m still trying to do everything AND take care of a newborn on top of it all. Occasionally, I feel like I pull it off. But usually, I end the day frantically trying to scratch a few more tasks off of my to-do list, and fall asleep adding items to the agenda for tomorrow. I’m self-aware enough to have noticed that this was not a sustainable pattern…
…but when getting out the door to attend a Christmas party last week drove me to desperate, frustrated tears, I had to admit to myself that I had hit a breaking point.
The next day, when I could think clearly about the whole episode, I concluded that I was just trying to do too much. I tried to think of what I could put on the back burner that would allow me to focus my energy on fewer tasks, and give me some room to breathe. But what would I give up? Keeping the house clean? Getting dinner on the table? Reading? Getting papers graded on time? The problem is, the things that are (technically) non-essential are the ones that keep me feeling sane. I could stop keeping the floor swept, but it would bother me every time I walked on it. I could make us frozen pizzas for dinner every night, but then we’d get fat and I’d have to add exercise to my list of things to feel bad about neglecting. Blogging, reading, scrapbooking are fun hobbies, but taking them off the table wouldn’t clear that much time daily, and I’d miss them the most.
So I’ve given up on the idea of simplifying. Now, in classic Lindsey problem-solving mode, I’m looking for the answers in organization and scheduling. What will my final solution look like? I don’t know yet. But I have two weeks off of work, two weeks for Stephen to be home with me, two weeks to make a game plan for the spring semester. I’m planning to have a new schedule mapped out just in time for January 1, the most optimistic holiday of the year. I’ll keep you posted. (And if you super-productive multitaskers out there have some ideas, pass them along!)