Thursday, January 11, 2007

I don't know how she does it...

I'm getting a lot of really sweet comments from people, marvelling at how I manage to do it all - motherhood, writing, the farm, etc... And I guess I want to nip the admiring part of that right in the bud. Because the secret of my success, the answer to "how do I do it all" is...

...I don't. Mostly I focus on one thing at a time, and with everything else, I do the minimum until some one (or several) things get so disastrous that I have to pay attention to them, and then I blow something else off.

All of which means that I live in a very untidy house much of the time, that I don't always hold my children to the standards I would like to, that some days instead of lovingly letting them help me make pancakes, I tell them "go away, and yes, we're having noodles again." It means my garden is usually full of weeds, the tomatoes are often unstaked, I usually lose at least one and sometimes more crops to laziness and lack of attention. There are usually piles of laundry to be folded and put away and my whites are not their whitest. We cheat periodically on our principles and buy pretzels, or bribe the kids with sugar. I often take writing out of sleep, or exercise, or time that could be spent reading stories. I the same fleece and 1/4 skein of yarn have been on my spinning wheel for 11 months now, with minimal progress. Nearly everyone in my family got IOUs for their holiday mittens, and I have gained and lost the same 8 lbs about every other month this year. We've managed to dramatically cut back our energy usage, but we've also bought some unsustainable materials to renovate our house. I've bought some books for use with the book I'm writing, and you don't want to know what I've paid to the library in overdue fines. I broke my glasses 2 weeks ago, and haven't yet managed to get them replaced because doing so means taking a day off from other work and going to the mall. I still haven't finished my seed orders, although I need to start leeks in two weeks. I haven't left the house in 2 days, since I've been madly working on the book, I've been feeding meat chickens for 6 weeks beyond their butchering date because I keep forgetting to call and make an appointment, and they are starting to die of coronary attacks, and I never fully cleaned up my yard or put my garden to bed. We're definitely the tacky yard in our neighborhood, and the grass is rarely mowed (you wouldn't think I needed to mow in January, would you?). I didn't get the goat fencing in before winter, or the cistern dug, or the new composting toilet built, or the raised beds next to the house put in. I have a friend who lives 15 miles from here, is involved in homesteading, and it has been almost 15 months since I've managed to see her. The last time Eric and I had a date we the hardware store, and met a friend and we walked around the hardware store together as a social event. Every year I lose at least one of the trees I order because I simply don't plant it in time, and if I had the money for all the food I've let rot, well, I'd be a lot richer. I start projects and don't finish them, and I'm already behind on the book because I'm writing this post ;-).

And I don't have a full time job, I do have a wonderful, very egalitarian spouse who also can do much of his work from home, and who, during vacation periods (like now) does a lot of my share of the work as well as his own. I have wonderful, supportive friends and family who help, and good neighbors I can call on. Despite the fact that we don't have a huge income, we're quite comfortable financially, in part because of the generosity of Eric's grandparents and other family. I have a disabled child, but as autistic children go, he's easy, loving, happy and content.
I don't yet have any animal that needs daily milking, and my kids are generally content to stay at home.

All of which translates to the fact that I have it easier than most people who are trying to do similar things, and I still don't pull it off. So relax. You are doing fine, probably better than me in many respects. I'm writing because this is the thing I do well, the contribution I can make, not because I'm perfect. Remember that one.



Michelle said...

I made my wife read this post, as she is prone to the very feeling you describe. She wanted me to tell you that it really, really helped. If you are needing more ways to get behind on your book, you can read her blog at

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