Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Do you ever feel like you're just clumsily meandering through your week? Or maybe your life? Like by trying to do everything and be everyone, you don't get anything done? You want to be a good cook, a good mom, a good photographer, crafty, spiritual, intellectual, athletic, artistic, politically active, a good friend, daughter, sister, lover, citizen, guest, you want to be strong, empathetic, kind . . . and by trying to be all of them you're not any of them - just tired and lost with bruises on your shins and ten stubbed toes.

I'm haphazardly hobbying my way through life, giving myself impossible "to do" lists each day. Lists like this:

1. Wash/hang/fold/put away laundry
2. Dishes
3. Take Hannah to park, make new magnets for her
4. Write blog during Hannah's nap
5. Finish book
6. Empty downstairs closet - pull out books, fans, and other stuff to give and sell at Thursday's meeting
7. Sort stockpile of lotions and toiletries that haven't been used - give away.
8. Make Christmas cards
9. Dinner: homemade pizza

At the end of the day I can only cross 3 or 4 tasks off the list because I wrote it during that ambitious hour called "coffee time" or, as is usually the case, life happens. Hannah busts her lip on the coffee table and plants herself on my hip for the next 2 hours. There's an obnoxious kid at the park who I don't want my child to emulate. My book gets dreadfully boring. It rains. I fall asleep on the pile of laundry. Instead of celebrating those few things I manage to accomplish, I recount every oops, sorry, and dammit! that weakens my resolve and shatters my hope. WHY?? Why, Suzie? I think it makes me less productive - knowing I won't complete the list. It also makes my social interactions awkward and strained, because I know I'm better than this. I know there's still good in me. Still light. I'm just so effing SWAMPED by my own ambition and self-disappointment that I don't know how to speak any more. I don't know how to just . . . be. Would it help if I make a shorter list - say, 3 tasks? Or one, perhaps?

1. Take Hannah outside.
2. Clean or pack something.
3. Make something.

Look for beauty and grace in everything.


sidd finch said...

i know the feeling oh-so-well. short to-do lists = more likelihood of to-doing everything on them :)

jmbzkw said...

My heart breaks for a lot of my friends, especially those with children. It seems they are always running from one thing to the next. It's especially heartbreaking to see within my family, where duty and obedience is taken so seriously. My cousin has complained that she never has time for herself. It's no wonder! Every single hour of her day is spent doing things with her kid or doing chores for her family. Even the stuff that is "for her" is really not, like her exercise routine.

Suzie said...

You know Jon, being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding. I know how preachy that sounds. I agree that some people, whether by choice or circumstance, become so absorbed in this new facet of life that they either "lose" themselves or just change . . . a lot. And I'm not so sure there's a difference, nor am I sure that it's a negative thing. It certain CAN be . . .

I will say that I've managed to insert a fair amount of "me" time into the general chaos of motherhood. It's just that usually that time doesn't get put on the "list." It happens under blessed unforeseen circumstances. In fact, it kind of punches you in the face and you realize "oh my god. I'm alone. I have this time completely to myself. What should I do?!?!" Then you do one of three things: you fall asleep from exhaustion, you spend the entire time trying to decide how to spend this blessed time, or, if you're lucky, you breathe and thank your lucky stars for the oxygen. The best "me" times I've had have ended in my wanting just one thing - to return to Hannah time.

jmbzkw said...

I did not thni that was preachy - That seems reasonable. Although I have no idea what it feels like to have that rewarding experience, it must be a great reward because people seem happy to invest the time. And it is sooo so much time. It makes me feel selfish. I always get 8 hours sleep a night, Melanie and I can always take off and do whatever, whenever. How you just described your leisure time, I feel it's not in the realm of possibility for me because I couldn't function - I would just shut down. It makes me wanna lie down on the couch just thinking about it, lol

I'm sorry if I seem really negative about this without any mention of the positive, but I've never experienced the positive, and I have heard a lot of negative recently. I'm not trying to imply anything about you, but I have a friend in a pretty bad frame of mind (at least when she talks to me.) I might be projecting a bit of that. As I've said before, I'm glad there's people like you who not only can (by some strange magical power) handle that stress, but also want to return to it. I may be way off in how I interpret others, but I don't think every parent I know has this trait. I'm not sure I would.