The truth deep inside

Nobody can do it all. That’s the truth, plain and simple.

Sitting here, writing at 2.33 am, I am breaking my first cardinal resolution of 2013 – to sleep earlier each day so I can be a better wife and mother. It’s complex though and difficult to follow through especially on days I accidentally fall asleep nursing Piglet back to sleep at an hour I am supposed to be awake.

Today was a case in point when I had to settle him at 10.30 pm and awoke with a startled jolt at 12.30 am to the memory that I’d left hot chicken broth out to cool, unfinished laundry soaking in the tub and a study program I am hurrying to rewrite and edit because people want to use it by 23 February.

And then there are all those unanswered emails and facebook messages because I have been too occupied with life to get online properly, slipping in here and there just when I have to send an urgent email or quickly check for a reply and trying hard not to feel terrible about my growing inbox with all those blue dots glaring at me in the face.

But now the urge just to sit down and do something truly non-functional (non-household or homeschooling-related that is) is too compelling to ignore – even at an ungodly hour such as 2.33 am. Sometimes the need to have this kind of quiet time trumps the schedule, because that is going to make me a better wife and mom the next day. I’ll cope with lots and lots of prayer and a cup of coffee. Not too much of the latter because then Piglet will be too wired up to nap properly.

(For those who are new to my blog, yes I am still nursing Piglet and won’t be weaning him anytime soon unless he directs himself to it. He turned 2 just a couple of weeks ago and nursing is still akin to that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow so I am hard-pressed not to force him to wean.)

I am writing this post because from time to time many people have asked how do I do it all.

It’s so difficult to answer that question and I have been avoiding it mostly because it seems any explanation will be bound to have some gaps in it. The short reply is: I don’t.

I don’t do it all. (Even though I wish I could.)

Two weeks ago I went to the doctor about pain in my right hand and was finally bludgeoned to face the fact that my over-worked hands have been experiencing osteoarthritis for over half a year now. Stop all the hard scrubbing, the doctor said. I’ve called in domestic help once a fortnight for all the violent cleaning jobs I used to do and am trying to live with toilets that are less than perfect. Once in two weeks won’t relieve me of all the everyday work but at least it will stop me from stretching for the ceiling fans and shimmying up the windows with a rag cloth.

After a torturous period of surviving on 2-3 hours sleep a night for a few weeks copy editing last year, I have decided that I will not take on any major projects with short deadlines even though the money will probably help pay for our car quite a bit.

And speaking of more day-to-day things, last week I baked a lovely carrot cake with cream cheese icing but then had to contend with double laundry loads and lots of our homeschooling books to sort out into their various study corners. By the time I had to clean the house I found old, hardened chocolate tucked discreetly between the couch cushions.

Last week also I had a guest who came to stay with us for 8 days and we stayed up late some nights chatting in between my edit jobs and toilet cleaning (I can’t wait for a toilet to be washed only after 2 weeks can I?) but then I was so tired after that I felt like hanging myself from the ceiling one evening.

At this point I have triple laundry loads because we made a spontaneous drive out to the beach an hour away yesterday for a few hours of evening sea fun and dinner and I have the wet laundry to contend with along with the usual load, towels for our family of 5 and guest bedlinen.

Some thing always has to give.

Thankfully now the house is all cleaned up nicely for a fresh week of school but as I sit here a pile of work files loom up behind the computer screen. Strewn across this one table I haven’t cleared are toys, the whole range of stationery you’d find in a shop, a rag cloth, okra seeds for planting and a whole lot of mish-mash that will have to wait till tomorrow because I’m blogging.

I’m going to hit publish soon and when I drag myself out of bed in a few hours I will once again live with the regret of having stayed up late but I will also feel strangely happy that I am connecting somewhat with people I love even though writing is a little one-sided, admittedly.

Deep inside I am so grateful for friends who are patient when it takes a few days for me to respond to emails and text messages. When I don’t reply there and then I am probably attending to some soup and wailing at the same time because someone pee-d on the floor.

Right now I’m wondering when I’ll be able to watch Les Miserables with Sweet Man. It might happen, it might not happen, but I’m okay with it not happening anytime soon. Someday it will, when the time is right. When will that be?

I’m pretty certain that I’ll know when the time comes. By the wonderful grace of God, life is full as it is with big things in life like wee children who don’t come with reset buttons and have a knack of making time stop for a moment when they churn up delightful, horrific messes just 10 minutes after I’ve deep-cleaned the house.

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3 Comments

  1. Almost every morning, when I wake up at 5:30am to take the little one to the bucket (we do EC), and I can barely open my eyes, and sometimes feel like I’m going to fall over, I think, ‘Ugh, the girls went to bed early, why did I stay up so late!’. But, when I think about it, I barely get a second to myself. My husband works long days and I don’t have any family around for tens of thousands of miles and they have never come to visit us! I know that in a lot of attachment parenting philosophies say that you shouldn’t ‘put your child to bed’. Like they kids should go to bed with you… Well, I’ve done that sometimes and no matter what time I put the nearly 3 year old to bed, she’s up at 5:30 whining for boobies. And, after wearing my fat five month old around alllll day, my shoulder’s feel like they’re going to fall off. So, yes, when I ‘put them to bed’. I sit like a zombie in front of the computer for a while… then do the scrubbing, then meditate before going to bed. It’s so nice to have that couple hours to decompress!

  2. Looks like we have a lot in common with kids whining for boobies at 5.30am. I am totally with you about barely getting a second to myself, although I am blessed to have my mother visit me once a week on weekdays. I haven’t read much about attachment parenting but apparently my parenting style falls into that category. We go to bed with our kids at 7.30pm, then creep out when they’re asleep between 8-8.30pm. Really need those hours to decompress, as you say!

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