Oral Hygiene Queen

My Photo
Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

RSS Feed

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You Can Have It All, Part I

I wrote in a recent post about my desire to figure out a way to "do it all." I know I'm not alone in this. Most of my friends have a similar feeling, as I think many creative, intelligent people with wide interests do. And when it comes right down to it, I know that I can't do it all and that it's probably a recipe for insanity to really try. But I'd like to do most of it.

I've been thinking on this perpetual desire I've had to do more than I can really do, something I've been struggling with since I was in college, but which has gotten a lot more pressing since I've become a mom. Lately I find I've made a certain kind of peace with the limited but still pretty massive amount of stuff I do manage to do. I have a very full life and play many roles, most of them reasonably well, and in my clearer moments I feel proud that I pull it all off in spite of the fact that I'm not naturally very organized or efficient (it's amazing how long it takes me to clean my desk, for example) and the fact that I insist on trying to get eight hours of sleep a night (and actually succeed at getting seven most nights).

In my clearer moments, I look at my life and think I'm really lucky to have a lot of different cool stuff going on and so much stimulation in my life, and I know that even if I'm not able to spend as much time doing any one of the dozen or so things I really care about, still, I manage to spend a decent amount of time doing most of them and some time doing all of them. And, hey, that's really not too shabby.

In my more befuddled moments I think Shit! I'm not doing (or I'm hardly doing) X, Y, and Z thing I want to do! And on top of it all, I think my life is on the verge of being totally out-of-control!

Those more befuddled moments tend to become the norm rather than the exception during periods of my life when I suddenly have something new and time-consuming added to the already precariously balanced load that is any given week of my life. Like last spring when I found myself heading up a contentious search committee at school and when O. joined a little league team that had two ninety-minute practices a week, plus games. That put me over the edge and I really felt like I was losing my mind for about six weeks there. And during that period, I had to give up many of the things I usually like to do at least a little bit each week; my guitar gathered dust, I wrote no poems and read few, I neglected my journal aside from the occasional five-minute pen-scrawled kvetch, I allowed my typically somewhat messy house to devolve into domestic disaster mode.

That was bad, and I felt very harried and harassed for an uncomfortably long stretch. In my normal life, I feel harried and harassed on a pretty regular basis, but usually for about five or ten minutes (in some scenario involving one or both of my children) or occasionally for an hour or two (in some scenario most likely connected to adults at my school). And I can handle those short periods.

But suddenly, just as I've begun to feel that I'm making peace with what I manage to fit into my life and what I can't really fit in to the extent I'd like to, I find myself taking on new stuff, or (perhaps more accurately) reincorporating stuff I'd either consciously chosen not to do or things that had fallen by the wayside. And a meditation on those things, their allure, and my inability to give anything else up in order to accommodate them will follow in a future installment of this post.

In the meantime, tell me your story of balance or lack thereof. (Then watch an adorable performance of the song to which my post title alludes.)