Energy Comes Back; Organizing Skills Not So Much

December 18, 2009 at 8:59 PM (Energy, mommy guilt, Recovery) (, , , , , , , , , )

For three-and-a-half years, I said “no”. No volunteering, no Class Mother position, no field-trip chaperoning, no personal projects, minimal cooking, no homemade Christmas presents. I’ve focused on the four people and two pets in the little brown house, and on holding myself together enough for my kids to keep speaking to me and my husband to be able to hold most of the weight of running the household.

Fast-forward to December, 2009. Finally feeling like a human being again, like my brain is firing on all cylinders. Able to keep track of the location of my sunglasses while simultaneously talking on the phone and switching the wet laundry to the dryer, I am getting a little full of myself. So I start saying “yes” – yes, I’d love to edit the school newsletter. Yes, I’d love to bring in a dish to contribute to the second grade’s Country of Origin feast three days before Christmas. Yes, I’d be happy to give the neighbor a ride home from the hospital on a Wednesday night after a support-group meeting and a whirlwind trip to a very crowded Target. Yes, I’d love to make six pounds of spiced walnuts to give as gifts to the teachers and service personnel in our lives. Why sure, I’d love to go to a fundraising dinner on December 17. In formalwear. The evening after a chemo treatment.

And thus a few of the juggled balls have hit the deck. Had to pass off the newsletter to the previous editor because my software skills were exceeded by the amount of work that needed doing. Failed to check with my seven-year-old on the due date of his research project and had to pull him out of bed at 7:50 on a school night to help him finish it. Got all the stuff I needed at Target and the neighbor home from the hospital but then blew parking my land barge in my teeny garage and dented the fender on the support column. Remembered to buy a present for the birthday party but forgot to make a playdate for the other kid for the same afternoon. Made it to the fancy party but blew off my boys all afternoon because I had so much to do before the sitter came that I couldn’t take ten minutes to read a book. Haven’t had time to call my dad back from a call he made to me three weeks ago.

Now I’m realizing that perhaps I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew. Remembering that even before I got sick, I was maybe not the best multi-tasker on the planet (raging hyperbole). Remembering that this mom thing leaves little room for personal activities and ambitions, and that getting to the gym four times a week might be the pinnacle of my independent activity. Realizing that in my rush to fulfill what I though of as my neglected community obligations I had to put my homefront responsibilities on the back burner.

So I’m making no one happy right now. Family resents the fact that I’m busy. Kids are calling me a grouch. Dog hasn’t been on a real walk in four days. Laundry piling up, dust bunnies multiplying. Christmas spirit cowering in the back of a closet. Wherever I’m focusing, I’m feeling guilty that I’m not working on something else. And I’m afraid that this isn’t going to change as I get healthier; this is the standard modern mom’s dilemma. Crap.

The first thing to do is spend the day with my family NOT stressing about the projects that haven’t gotten done yet. The second thing to do is trim the fat from my obligations list. Or maybe I’ll leave that for the New Year – I really need to finish the Christmas cards. Okay, start the Christmas cards. And call my dad.

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  1. tori said,

    Sarah, please come join me in what I’m calling “2009-2010 The Year of the Slacker”. It’s a beautiful place. Running a house and raising children is stressful enough, and hard enough to do WITHOUT fighting a disease. If you get to the point where you’re sitting around, twiddling your thumbs thinking “i really need something to DO!” then go bake a batch of brownies for the bake sale, but leave it at that. (and make them from a box)

  2. mynameisnotcancergirl said,

    Sarah, I completely get it. I try to shove a whole bunch of Mommy-time into the one week of protocol when I feel human. And then it’s chemo week again and I feel spacey, exhausted and guilty all at the same time.

    I hope that you spent today with your family, enjoying and not stressing. I hope that you gracefully, or not, rescinded all offers/obligations that don’t make you smile. And lastly, I hope you got to talk to your Dad. I know that it would brighten his day.

    So glad I found your blog…oh, and the tag word that popped you up into my world, “wig.” Love it!

    Enjoy your family and feel good,

  3. Ed said,

    As “the husband” I just want to say that you do a great job. I love you! Can’t wait for Christmas.

  4. Ruthann said,

    Hi Sarah-I am a friend of Tori’s and the moment I read this it made me think of the year of the slacker, something Tori made me embrace a while back. I see that she has already told you about, I just want to formally endorse its worth! Slack away my friend….I hope you and your family have a stress free total chill holiday.

  5. Making A Silk Purse Out Of A Swine’s Ear « The Carcinista said,

    […] big New Year’s Day Open House party, something I’d been wanting to do for years (see my overcommittment issues posted earlier); I would have time to get to the gym every day, do some long-overdue organizing […]

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