Getting Done and Getting By

My mom often comments that she doesn’t know how I get it all done.  She then rattles off several things that I push around have on my plate…work, my husband, the kids, Cub Scouts, housework, etc.  I smile nervously and deflect my gaze.  It’s like looking her in the eyes would signal my acceptance of her observation.  I know she means well, but I get uncomfortable under the weight of that statement.

Yes, I do have a full life.  Everyone does.  Most days, I manage reasonably well to fake it through the day.  But everything is far from getting done.  I’m behind reading with my younger son, so I add a half hour of reading time.  Then, I don’t have time to look at my older son’s geography project.  I do that the next day, and by doing so, I didn’t get the grocery lists done.  I double up on reading and homework review the next day, almost smug that I’ve beat the system…then I remember I have a Cub Scout meeting in two days and I still have to plan the activities.

I’m not getting everything done; I’m merely getting by.

Long after everyone else is in bed, I sit at the computer.  I steal borrow (yeah, borrow sounds much nicer; more legal) some time for me.  I manage to get blog posts done and a few short stories and poems here and there, but my novel sits untouched; I decide it needs more time than I can give it right now.  I think my sleep time won’t notice, but the next day, when I fight my midday slump, I realize that my theft has not gone unpunished.

I always thought I was an honest person, but the same borrowing goes on when it comes to my spiritual growth.  I feel better when I spend some time reading scriptures, opening my heart for God’s truths to speak to me.  I also feel better when I avoid the cookies and cupcakes someone brought in to share with the office, but for some reason, I make choices that leave me feeling empty and wanting more (and carrying a few extra pounds.)

This weekend, I’m at the last camping trip of the year with my older son.  I pray that God will help me to let go and enjoy this time without thinking about all the stuff that isn’t getting done.  I hope God will work in my heart during this off-line time.  I feel like I’m not accomplishing what I’m supposed to…but I don’t know what God’s plan is for me.  (Hello, cryptic dream…lightning bolt…anything???)  I hope writing is an answer, but I want to have an open heart in case His plan for me is something else.

I can’t do it all.  Something’s gotta give and I hope God will guide my way.

Which path? I kind of hope it’s the first one…it’s in Hawaii 🙂

18 thoughts on “Getting Done and Getting By

  1. Carol Ann Hoel October 21, 2012 / 6:01 AM

    My heart goes out to you in this dilemma common to working moms that do their best to be Wonder Woman. I think you’re doing it right. If it gets to be too much, and you know it, seek the Lord’s face on what things to remove. Trust the answer He gives you and hack away until your “getting by” is acceptable. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites October 21, 2012 / 9:37 PM

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Carol Ann. I’m going to start by making sure I’m in bed by 10 pm so I’m not skimping on sleep. That’s going to be difficult enough, so it’ll take some time for me to say ‘enough’ and leave things undone 🙂

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge October 21, 2012 / 7:20 AM

    It doesn’t stop. It’s hard to put down and walk away. Prioritize? It’s all important.
    Good to get outside everyday and let your brain sort without you directing it. Hopefully camping has nudged you a bit – every little thing does not have to be done or perfect. The world won’t end if you don’t complete something to total perfection. Good enough will often do if it gives you time for something important in the long run.
    Just a couple of nagging comments: 1) kids grow up fast and time passes when you don’t know it….people are worth investing time in, 2) force yourself to do something for yourself – like the novel – even once a week, schedule it – don’t be ancient and always regret you didn’t take time to do it .and 3)(this one is important) be gentle with yourself – nature will slow you down by illness if you don’t take care: sleep, eat, exercise, and laugh – especially laugh.
    Sometime the answer has been given – we are just too busy to hear it…sometimes it waits in a leaf – or a child’s smile.

    • jannatwrites October 21, 2012 / 9:46 PM

      You’ve got some great points, Phil. Getting outside is a biggie – we haven’t done much of that since May because it’s too hot. It’s supposed to be in the mid-eighties my midweek, so it’s a good time to rebuild the evening walk habit. You’re also right about the kids growing up fast. My younger son asked me to do a photo shoot with his toy car so he could frame the picture and take it to class to share when he’s “Star Student.” After two cold, restless nights of sleep and unloading all of our camping gear, I was tired and told him I’d do it later. When I went to my office to get on my computer tonight, that car was in my chair. I’m going to get a little frame and take a picture “where the car looks real”.

      I don’t know why I’ve resisted schedules (maybe I want to feel free?) but I think you’re right. I need to schedule novel-writing time and scripture reading time. That’s the easy part. The hard part is saying ‘no’ to the interruptions and distractions that are sure to happen.

      I appreciate your thoughtful suggestions, and I will be contemplating this throughout the week as I take the first steps to finding my path.

  3. Imelda October 21, 2012 / 1:12 PM

    Janna, I always have the same complaints. My husband does too. Sometimes, even when there are a lot of things to do, I find him hanging out with the children, doing the children’s tons of requests. When I confront him about the work undone- he always says: “Well, I was working with the children. House chores will always be there, but the children grow up quickly.” One of his other favorite response is – older folks I know always said “I wished I spent more time with the children, not the chores”.
    I think when you prioritize your children, you have done your most important duties for the day. While there are chores undone, there is no reason for you to feel guilty about them. It was not out of laziness that they were not attended to after all. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 21, 2012 / 9:56 PM

      It’s hard with the kids, because we have four hours together in evenings from the time I get home from work to their bedtime. In that time, we have to fit in homework, reading, dinner, kitchen clean up and their pet care chores. That doesn’t leave a lot of ‘free time’ with them. (If either of them have scout meetings, it’s even worse.) Then I only have two more hours until I should be in bed. I think that’s where some of my frustration comes in- everything just seems rushed even though I’m doing minimal chores. (I swear if I didn’t have scout meetings at my house twice a month, the house might never get vacuumed :))

      Thanks for the reminder to keep the children a priority, Imelda. It is hard, but it is necessary.

  4. pattisj October 21, 2012 / 1:28 PM

    You are more likely to hear from Him when time in His word takes precedence. Matthew 6:33

    • jannatwrites October 21, 2012 / 9:58 PM

      True, Patti. Another thing I need to schedule (and stick to it).

  5. pattyabr October 21, 2012 / 7:38 PM

    I spent the whole weekend picking up, clearing out, organizing. It takes so much time and it is merely a dent in the whole mess.

    It is hard to be patient and keep the writing fires burning, does it not? Keep up the writing.

    • jannatwrites October 21, 2012 / 10:02 PM

      You’ve hit on another issue, Patty – when things get too far out of hand, it’s overwhelming to tackle them. But the desire to fix it stays in the back of my mind. I’m glad you were able to get through some of your stuff. Every little bit helps 🙂

  6. diannegray October 22, 2012 / 1:17 AM

    Our mother’s forget how busy they were when they had children in the house. Even at my age (and I’m not that old) I wonder how people cope – but I did! I had three children and a full time job and was writing and doing all the things that come with having a family. Now I look back and think ‘how did I manage all that?’

    Just remember – you don’t have to do EVERYTHING at once. Take a step back and when the time comes, you’ll know 😉

    • jannatwrites October 23, 2012 / 11:16 PM

      You know, I look back on my college days – working 35 hours a week with full-time course load and I think I couldn’t do that now. I guess we just manage to do what we need to during each season of our lives. So hard to leave things undone, but it has to be right now 🙂 I will do my best to take a step back, Dianne…but old habits are hard to break!

  7. nrhatch October 22, 2012 / 10:48 AM

    Instead of ending daylight savings time . . . we just need to add another 1-2 hours to the day, eh?

    • jannatwrites October 23, 2012 / 11:17 PM

      We don’t do daylight savings time here, Nancy, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t do me much good anyway. I’d find a way to fill those extra hours to the brim!

  8. Debbie October 22, 2012 / 4:24 PM

    Janna, I can sooo relate! It seems I have a gazillion unfinished pieces of this ‘n that on my plate — all clamoring for my attention. It’s tough having perfectionist tendencies, knowing I don’t have the time or energy to do everything the way it’s supposed to be done. I wish I could tell you you’ll have more time when your boys are grown and out of the house; sadly, I can’t!! Hang in there, my friend!

    • jannatwrites October 23, 2012 / 11:19 PM

      Well that doesn’t make me feel any better, Debbie! I’d hoped I might have a little extra time, you know, without the sports and extracurricular activities going on.

  9. Sandra October 24, 2012 / 11:05 AM

    I can relate to this ‘getting by’ thought! Do you think your mom is giving you encouragement about doing a great job as a working mom? Perhaps even if you don’t feel like you’re doing it all, you should still think about the positive–all the things you *have* gotten done. I think it’s a miracle that we get things done these days, with all the obligations and commitments we have. I just hope that you give yourself credit and a small pat on the back for all the wonderful things you do: including raising a family and your me-writing-time. 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 24, 2012 / 10:30 PM

      Good points, Sandra. I think I do tend to dwell on what isn’t getting done rather than what I have accomplished. Maybe it’s because all the stuff that’s done is neatly tucked away, but everything left to do is strewn all over the counter tops and floors begging for attention.

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