Friday, November 28, 2014


I wrote this post last month but forgot to post it. It feels just as relevant today as it did the day I wrote it and something I continue to wrestle with.

I often wonder if other people agonize over how to spend their "free time" the way I do. When I have a few minutes or hours to myself I usually feel mildly panicked about how to spend it.  I find myself asking "should I spend it cleaning, creating, with my children, husband, running errands, visiting a friend or eating? When I shared this with a friend of mine  she told me "to just do what I FEEL LIKE DOING". Why is that so hard for me to do?

Well, for two reasons actually.  First of all, it is REALLY difficult for me to be creative when their are dishes on the counter. Why? Well, from a young age, I was taught that work comes before play.  If I wanted to spend time with a friend or create something my room had to be clean and my homework had to be done first. While I think was wise of my parents to instill such good habits in me, they do not always apply well to motherhood.   I have realized, that as a mother of three children there is ALWAYS going to be a mess somewhere. If I fixate on having to have a clean house before I can play, I will RARELY, if ever, get to "play'. The problem is that I often spend my specious time (when Levi is napping) cleaning and then never get to/allow myself time for more creative pursuits. As a result, I end up feeling bitter and cranky when all my hard work is undone by my children only moments later.

Secondly, I am a little bit obsessed with productivity and the need to spend my time wisely. My husband, conversely, does not struggle with this. I rarely allow myself to zone out/relax. Even when I am watching my favorite television show, I am usually  also either nursing Levi, or folding laundry, or sorting receipts.  Sometimes all at the same time. Multitasking is my specialty. I have realized though, that I can either clean or create. I can't do both and I can't always freak out about one while doing the other. So lately I have been leaving the mess and enjoying being creative. It has been working out a lot better. Why? Well.....

1. My creative needs are being satisfied
2. I am not irritated at my children for messing up the house because it is already a mess
3. Nathaniel is happier because he in not being hen pecked by a cranky wife
4. We clean up the house together as a family at the end of the day

Every day is different for me. I never know what I am going to feel like doing when I wake up in the morning.  While some things are consistent from one day to the next, my life is largely unstructured. It is just one of the perks of being a stay at home mamma with small children. I am always amazed when people are able to follow a cleaning schedule and have a weekly meal plan The Type A part of my personality loves the idea, but in actuality, I find it confining.

Some days I have cabin fever and I am itching to get out of the house and run errands. Other days I am loath to leave the house and instead spend my day baking, blogging and painting furniture. Lately I have been working on photo books for my girls, and filling our home with Christmas bliss. Other days I just want to clean and PURGE. I reach a breaking point with my linen closet and turf half its contents, or notice the dust accumulating on my kitchen cabinets. I only tackle the bathrooms when guests are due to arrive as it is my least favorite household chore.

 At the moment, Levi is sleeping peacefully in my arms while I use my one free hand to alternate between typing this post and wolfing down some leftover spaghetti. My daughter is happily making paper snowflakes with her little friend at the table next to me. There are many other things I "should/could" be doing right now.  The practical side of me knows that I should lay Levi down in his crib and use this time to scrub my sticky floors, but watching him sleep is pure bliss and I have the rest of my life to clean floors. I am learning that giving myself the freedom to do what I feel like doing (within reason) instead of feeling like I should be doing something else is immensely freeing.  I have been more relaxed, creative and happy as a result. I still have small panic attack when I find out that someone is coming over, for dinner or for the weekend, but that is another post altogether.

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