A few weeks ago I opened up the blog for your questions….anything and everything was fair game. I didn’t mean to let so much time lapse, but the questions really had me thinking about my life, how I manage it and how it’s perceived by others, particularly the one that seemed to pop up most, “How do you do it all?! How do you manage so many projects, a job and home?!”
The idea that you somehow think I “do it all” makes me laugh
at the ridiculousness, and a little sad, because obviously I’ve built a
facade here that contributes to believing in unrealistic standards. I
mean really, who is doing it all?! Martha Stewart, maybe. But she’s got a
There’s no question that blogs (including my own) put their best face forward, almost a fantasy life. No piles of dirty laundry, no bagged-out eyes from sleep deprivation, no disappointed faces when mom doesn’t come through.
Which really is no different than fashion magazines using highly retouched photos of impossibly thin models…they give us an unrealistic view of how our lives “should” look, and for me, induce piles of guilt for not meeting those standards. And me “doing it all,” couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is no such thing as balance between home, work, family, blog and
self…because if one area is excelling, it’s usually at the detriment
of another. I think of it more as juggling, and I live in fear of all
the balls dropping. TWSS (What? Just because this is a serious post I can’t be
my usual crass?)
If I examine that further, the fear comes from being revealed as a fraud or failure. Is this too honest for a blog post? Maybe. I guess I’m fueled by the brave, ‘Things I’m Afraid to Tell You’ movement that’s swept the blogosphere. Obviously if you think I do it all, then there is a lot I’ve managed to keep from you.
Now, does this mean I think we should all start posting images of our toothpaste splattered sinks and reminder emails of forgotten appointments? No, we come to blogs for inspiration and ideas. I post projects because I love doing them, sharing them, and I hope that someone else will be inspired by it. I really, truly love every aspect of blogging….creating something, photographing it, writing a post that hopefully engages and entertains, and the interactions that come from it. I do struggle to keep perspective with it, and remind myself constantly that it’s my hobby and meant to be fun.
So with more emotional dumping, I’ll let you in on a few things about me and my life. And while it’s extremely blessed, it’s not extraordinarily charmed, nor balanced and well-rounded.
1. I’m a complete Type-A, control-freak, master list maker, can’t be idle kind of person. Sounds fun, right? Want to hang out? (sarcasm font would be helpful here). I’m starting to realize that my inability to let dishes sit in the sink, clothes hampers remain full, or enjoy an afternoon of doing nothing, is hurting my quality of life. So while Mr. Sugarplum is rolling around the floor laughing with the kids, I’m in the other room folding sheets and towels. Sure these things need to be done, but the world won’t stop if I don’t do them right away. And actually, the world is passing me by while I do.
2. Yes I have a day job, but it comes with a hefty lunch break. That’s five full hours per week, that I have without kids, to run errands, buy project supplies, blog, etc. I bet you could get a lot done with five hours to yourself, too.
3. This day job also gives me the freedom to work from home one day a week, and my kids are in school! This allows me to get my work done, but also do all the laundry and random house chores usually reserved for the weekend. As well as good daylight hours to photograph a project.
4. I have an amazing cleaning service that comes to my house twice a month. It’s a bit of a financial stretch for us, but I’ll make almost any sacrifice to keep it! For some reason, I have a hard time admitting I have this help. Even my mom doesn’t know about it (until now). I swear I’m a better mom and wife because I don’t hold resentments about scrubbing toilets though.
5. Since all the house crapola gets done during the week, my weekends are more open. The kid’s activities and schedules occupy a lot of it, but they are getting older now and have no interest in being glued to my side all day. That leaves quite a few hours for my own fun stuff…which for me, is painting and glue-gunning and taking pictures.
6. Most of my projects are done in under an hour. Really. I jot down project ideas as I have them, and shop for materials during a lunch break, then I’m ready to go when I find myself with a free hour. And the big projects, like room makeovers…well, Babygirl’s Room took me nine months to complete, and it’s been 11 months since I started the Living Room. So I’m not exactly cranking it out.
7. I don’t work out. Or watch much TV. Or have weekly Girl’s Night. This isn’t meant to be braggadocios. Quite the opposite, actually, as it illustrates how one-dimensional my life is. That leaves quite a few hours in the week as well. And since I’m kind of sleep-obsessed with my kids, they are in bed by 8:30 every weeknight. You do the math.
So have I helped to squash the myths that I do it all and manage to live a June Cleaver kind of life? I miss school loan payments, forget permission slips, have dead houseplants and dirty baseboards. I lose it with my kids, get boiling mad at my husband, and have thoughts of running away. We eat cereal for dinner sometimes, I duck my head when the PTA asks for volunteers, and I haven’t spoken to my dad in years. I quietly suffered through the baby blues when my son was born, had to go on medication after my daughter came along, and I get lost in malls.
What you see here isn’t always a true refection of my life, so please don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures. I think it’s important for you to know that while my life is good, it’s not picture-perfect. I would hate for anyone to leave this blog feeling down on themselves, or resentful of me. We’re all just doing the best we can, and hopefully encouraging each other along the way.
This is probably waaaay more than you bargained for on a Wednesday, and trust me, it scares the crap out of me to press ‘Publish.’ But don’t worry, I will actually get to all the other questions, too!