Saturday, February 5, 2011

Everywoman: She Who Wants to Do It All

I need a new mantra. I need to look at the faces of my husband and kids and remember that they're enough, that I don't have to fill my life up with time-clutter.

Here's what my weekend looks like:

We're participating in Eganville's first (hopefully annual) "Celebrating Our Game Day", an event that hopes to bring together lovers of both hockey and the arts. All day long, there will be hockey played by all ages and abilities at the local arena, while live music is enjoyed upstairs. My husband will be involved as both a hockey player and a musician. I will also be performing. So I am in my bedroom at the moment, guitar sitting beside me, blogging instead of coming up with a set list. I'm anxious about it. Margot will not take well to me being front and centre, without being able to climb onto my lap. This has been an ongoing issue since I had kids. It's only a half hour, but still...

My husband plays at 6 p.m., and since he's new to the sport, he'd really like us all to watch. I WANT to watch. But I got a call this week that a Mass will be said in memory of my Grandma, TODAY at 5:30. You can see the problem. I want to represent our family at the Mass. The idea of dragging three tired kids and keeping them quiet for 45 minutes or so is not so tempting.

I'll bring them home, get them to bed, pick up the babysitter, then head out to tonight's "Hootenanny" (where the hockey players will play music at a local restaurant)...

Did I mention that I'm a Kindergarten teacher? And that my report cards are due next Wednesday? It took me two full days just to finish the reports for my Junior Kindergartens. Now I'm trying to figure out...when to do the Seniors' reports?

Oh, did I mention that I'm hosting a knitting gathering here tomorrow, to teach some friends how to get started on a Scrap Cardigan?

This morning I felt frustrated because Margot is clingy and cranky. She has a cough and might be teething, and had two days in daycare this past week. She's likely overtired. I'm overtired. And I was frustrated with her because I wanted to: write a blogpost, practise my music, read this terrific book I'm into, work on my report cards, get a handle on Mount Washmore (my laundry pile). I couldn't get away from her. When I get frustrated like this, my husband gets anxious and starts offering to withdraw from the things he'd planned to do today.

Until I finally acknowledged the truth. I want to do too much.

Declutter. Lose weight. Exercise. Write. Blog. Perform. Craft. Be an amazing mother. Pour my heart into my classroom and students. Farm. Knit. Read. Plan my garden. Keep in touch with friends.

And then I'm upset with myself when I can't pull it all together. And on top of that, I beat myself up for the fact that I'm looking tired, a little rumpled in the face (I am approaching my 37th birthday after all), and am starting to go grey at the temples.


The new mantra might sound something like this:

I don't have to be everything, all the time, to everyone. I don't have to always do all the things I'm good at. It's okay to sit on the couch reading nursery rhymes for hours. It's okay to say no to requests for performances.

I could pare it down a bit. I'll work on that...maybe add it to my to-do list.

Sometimes I need a little reality check. This morning was it. I need these regular reminders to say no sometimes. So after this crazy weekend is done, I'm going to make a new list:

1. Say YES to playtime with my kids.
2. Hug my husband at least 4 times a day.
3. Get more sleep.
4. Exercise.
5. Say NO to anything unrelated to my family or my job.
6. Read and knit if time allows.

Blogging can wait. The laundry isn't going anywhere. I'll see you here when I see you.


  1. Good for you, Stephanie. All of those extras are a lot more enjoyable when you're not racing through them, just to 'survive' until the next scheduled time slot.

  2. hugs mama hugs, right there with you x

  3. Well said, thanks for putting into words what most of us moms are feeling! BTW, you are beautiful!

  4. Oh know, you can always cancel tomorrows knitting...we would all understand.
    Balance is so hard to find...especially when you're not only doing all the work of at "at home" mama, but have a p/t job as well...I don't know how we do it makes me shake my head!
    Maybe you should try having a few weeks with no interruption...see what it feels like...cancel all the things outside of homelife for awhile. I know during the holidays, sticking close to home was just what my soul needed to do, I emerged feeling refreshed...although now I need to do it all over again, (as life mysteriously just fills up with "to do's":)!
    xo maureen

  5. Oh,Sweetie. You know, it really seems like we all go through this every couple of months, yet we're always surprised, overwhelmed, and end up feeling guilty when it hits. We would never expect anyone else do get done what we pile on ourselves. That balance that we're all striving for is a tricky thing, and in the end, it really comes down to a happily family, and some mama-time. Your plan will work. Take care of you and yours, and the rest can wait.
    *hugs* - Ainsley

  6. I like your list. Might have to adopt it for myself!


  7. It is a tough balance. I find that there are times when I am really busy, running the kids around to this and that; a to-do list that is overly ambitious, and no time to just be.

    And then there are times when I realize that, gosh, it would be nice to have a social life. Get together with friends, commit to a volunteer project.

    I am learning, slowly, that sometimes I can be firm with what I need and my family need but still have a little of those extras without having to make a choice between one and the other.

    But I am still learning...

  8. Yep, it is an ongoing struggle!
    It seems so easy to find yourself in the overworked does that happen???
    Take care of yourself.

  9. Good for you, my darling sister.

  10. You are totally enough.... and gorgeous to boot. I wish we were really neighbors so we could both remind each other of all that you shared in this post. I say we throw the everywoman into a very, very large pile of snow :)

  11. Sometimes it's not about 'doing', it's about 'being'.
    Today I am everything I need to be.
    Take care of your beautiful self

  12. I really relate to this post. There is so much that I love to do, I sometimes make myself spin in circles! Sometimes your posts just really resonate with me - I still remember your post a while back about your ideal of "family dinner night" and then the hilarious pictures of what it actually turns out to look like. It was like looking at my own children, laying across the kitchen table. :)

  13. Beautifully said. I, too, recently adopted the mantra that, "THIS is enough" -- wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. It's so hard for mamas to find that elusive balance between preserving one's self, doing things you love to do, and being a provider. I've struggled with saying no to things and I often over-extend myself, but when I pare down my expectations & demands on me, the world continues to spin, the sun continues to rise, and we're all happier as a family. It's not easy though... thanks for sharing your experiences.

  14. Read this and had to say... AMEN!

    I'm working in my focus right now too, and this was a good read for that :)


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