Sunday, July 01, 2007


So I'm outside picking peas in the garden and I start thinking about how I haven't gotten much done today. Keep in mind that a) I said to loving husband just this morning, "We've been so busy lately. Let's not do anything today, let's just hang out and have fun," and b) As I'm thinking this, I'm working in the garden.

Today, I picked all of the ripe peas, pulled most of the stalks to make room for some late tomatoes, and weeded around the garden box. Not only that, but I got everyone ready for the day, entertained three restless boys, played with the puppy, read the newspaper, freed our butterflies and supervised outside play, fed and watered the chickens, finally decluttered loving husband's disastrous counter, made lunch, put away laundry, hauled dirty clothes downstairs and started more laundry, went swimming next door (which includes rounding up towels, suits, sunscreen, shoes, and cleaning up all said items upon our return), got lovely lady ready for a sleepover, and read the last 89 pages of Bleak House.

But I haven't gotten much done today.

Friday at the end of the day I looked back and thought, "Gee, I didn't get a lot done today." I'd spent the bulk of the day cleaning and decluttering the gents' room. Closets, dressers, toy box, under the beds, bookcase, all emptied and reorganized. Hours of detail-- keep, toss, give away, and where does this go?

But I hadn't gotten much done.

Why do I do this to myself? If someone else told me that they'd gotten that much done, I'd tell that person it's time to kick back with an iced tea and a good book. But I discount what I've done today because I'm the one that did it.

In this instance it's not because I'm comparing myself to anyone else, like I did in this post. My poor neighbor, despite my assertions to the contrary, she's really a delightfully flawed human just like the rest of us, and it's not really fair to dump all of my insecurities and inadequacies on her. As a matter of fact, as we swam she was musing on her dear friend who cooks beautifully and seems to be always working on something.

Back to the whole "didn't get anything done" thing, it's not as though I made a checklist of things to do today and didn't finish. I don't have a person breathing down my neck saying, "Why didn't you get this done?" Well, besides myself. I haven't been watching talk shows and eating bon-bons all day long. To be fair to myself, I suppose the desire to feel that I've accomplished something at the end of each day does drive me to complete tasks, to do jobs that I don't really want to do and to do them well. But surely there's got to be some kind of balance between high standards and the voice that says, "It just wasn't enough." Um, not that I have high standards-- I believe I've mentioned several times that I'd rather play with the kids than, well, just about any household task. And still, the voice.

I realized, as I picked the peas, that in the back of my mind-- a most convenient place for hiding insecurities, doubts, and inadequacies, the kind that shrivel and seem a bit ridiculous once they're aired-- I believe that if there's work to be done, then it needs to be done. Period. But there's always going to be work to be done. Work in life is a bit like laundry. A lot like laundry, actually. Even if you've washed every single stitch of laundrable fabric in the house, as soon as the kids change into pajamas, there's more laundry to be done. I will never see the end of the list, never get to the day when I have accomplished every single thing that needs to be done around me. mission this week: Continue to declutter and to pull weeds each day. To appreciate what I accomplish. And to enjoy my rest as much as I enjoy my work.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

I know just what you mean. After yesterday's super busy, non-stop, 4th of July parties & events, I told the kids, "today we are going to stay home and take it easy." Well, I guess that didn't apply to myself, 'cause I've been busy taking out trash, doing laundery, dusting, cleaning out the fridge, vacuuming... so much for taking it easy.
A mother's work is never done.