Seeing the Forest Through the Trees?

I had such big plans for this year.  The kids entering full day school was going to be my window of opportunity to really push and start up the new career that had started here.  I was going to take on more teaching and talking engagements, design and launch a new site, develop a huge library of recipes, master my food photography and a couple of photo editing apps, start chanting and doing yoga daily, wear make up more, do my nails more often, keep on top of my grey roots, take care of me more. Well…….. here we are coming to the end of that school year with only 43 more days of school.  I did manage to do a few of these things….or lets say I did manage to do most of these things but just not to the extent that I had hoped and with a lot less conviction.

Booking talks and teaching dates got complicated fast.  The groups that wanted me would struggle to commit to a topic, cancel and change dates, change their volunteer organizer, change locations, etc.  It was head exploding complicated.  I now know why people who make many ‘personal appearances’ hire a personal assistant just to organize that. More often than not it would be the groups I had offered to do the talk for free to that would have trouble committing.  In some cases I didn’t reschedule feeling jerked around. Probably not the best move professionally but I have a million balls in the air and kids to schedule and it got dumb.

The new website took a lot longer than I imagined.  This is no ones fault but my own really.  As much as I had a vision for it when asked some of the tough questions by the designer and coder on how I needed it to function I had no idea…..this left me feeling overwhelmed and tired.  Luckily they had a stronger vision for it and knew how to answer some of those tough questions for me, or at least word them in a way I could better understand leaving out much of the technical over my head stuff.  It got done and launched.  It needs A LOT of tweaking, mostly to be done by me.  I also have to learn more about how to manage and use properly this new platform…..all stuff I’m not great at but I’ll get there.

I have been cooking.  There have been some major stupid delays on that too.  A city wide power outage that had us out of our house for 5 days this winter and then a late February broken arm which is still healing and leaves me with some major limitations.  And the never ending computer problems.  It seemed that every time I sit down to get on top of it something needs to be backed up or updated before I can repair the original problem.  By the time I have done that it is time to pick the kids up and get back to the day to day.  When I have time again to sit down and tackle the problem I had totally forgotten where I have left off.  But I have been cooking and have a million recipe cards with updates and cooking notes written in the corners.

Food Photography!  GAH! Some bloggers love it and really excel at it….me? Not so much.  I think I have a decent eye but creatively I loath the nit picky of the propping. I pay attention to the work I see out there and recognize bad photos, finding so much of it has crazy propping that makes no sense to me.  Sure it can look beautiful but mostly it seems like a bunch superfluous over propping.

The biggest lesson learned over the last few months – I am tired!  I know, I know everyone complains about being tired! And busy!  Everyone is so busy! I am that bone achey brain exhausted tired. I have spent 6 years in the thick of full on parenting – every break I’ve had is still filled with a busy brain listing what needs to be done, deciding what is for dinner, grocery lists, scheduling, etc. My own quality control on what we eat makes short cuts impossible and financially we can’t afford the high end convenience foods. Never in all of this is there a chance to look after myself.  Never a chance to quiet my brain, slow down, finish a thought, look after my mental health and sanity.  I can feel my fuse getting shorter and shorter. I have a complete lack of attention span that often leaves me losing the plot mid conversation and totally unable to follow a movie. If and when friends call for advice or need to vent through a problem – I can’t….I just can’t.  It feel like they are stealing my time.  A ‘give’ and ‘take’ relationship now feels all ‘takey’ while I sigh and yawn my way through the conversation. I am a truly terrible friend! A tired friend.

This exhaustion is even more obvious in my marriage. I day dream of romantic nights and have even made the effort to prepare – like shave something – but by the time the night arrives I feel like a zombie.  More often than not that romantic dinner glass of wine now has me snoring on the couch.  My messy still wet-from-this-mornings-shower-ponytail, the yoga-pants-that-have-never-actually-had-yoga-done-in-them,  and shirt that more than likely has food or a stain on it doesn’t feel hot.  In fact, now, after the 4 loads of laundry (at least one of them with pee on it), the endless dishes, the numerous pets to clean up after, the cooking of three or four meals, the dusting, the mopping, and the 2 part time jobs –  I almost feel gross.

It seemed going into this school year that 6 hours a day would be an eternity. I thought I would have a sparkling home, everything clean and organized, be on top of work, and have some time to look after myself but……… just BUT.  6 hours isn’t that much time.  And it certainly isn’t enough time to do everything I thought I would be able to do.  I had to learn to forgive myself a little.  To honour my needs and not just my expectations.  I needed to drink tea and stare out a window without noticing how clean the actual glass is.  I needed to occasionally ‘do’ my hair and wear a little make up.  I needed to surf the interwebs uninterrupted reading food blogs and gossip tabs without thinking that I was wasting my time.  I needed to do things that make me feel pretty like polish my nails.  I needed to zone out, forget, laugh, play, read books, joke around, be creative, look at my pores in a magnifying mirror, chat without needing to really communicate, go for walks, and yes  maybe even watch some bad tv!! I needed to do everything and anything that had nothing to do with anyone else. I needed to have time to waste.  I needed to let my adrenals rest. I needed to cycle down. I needed to learn to stop listing.

And so I am. Currently, remembering how to look after myself, remembering how to have fun.  I started going to weekly physio to stop pain from some damage done during the emergency c-section.  I make myself a nice lunch almost every day and eat it while staring out the window or chatting on the phone.  I volunteer for fun stuff at the kids school. I’m making time to chant again, not just doing it while I do housework and going to the district meetings as often as I can. I polish my nails and read magazines. Sometimes I even nap.  I even had time to figure out how to use iTunes (mostly) and load new music on my iPhone which I haven’t done in more than 2 years.  I have played music loudly and sung even louder and I have danced.

And now I am learning to tackle a photo editor

House wife shot

So bare with me because I’m working on it.


  1. Catherine says:

    It’s hard to fit life into life sometimes, isn’t it? My goal is to worry less about the details and my to-do list and instead spend more time making the kind of memories with my kids that they will treasure years down the road. I know they aren’t going to care, in the long term, about a lot of things that consume my time now. I met a mum of four grown kids the other week and I immediately asked for the secrets of the universe of raising four, because I am still figuring things out. She said, “well first of all, stop cleaning.” I hope to get there. Because I know when my kids are grown, they won’t be sitting around reminiscing about my clean floors and organic dinners – I want them to be remembering side walk-chalk-creations, bike rides and pajama dance parties with mum. I’ll let you know if I ever get there!

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