Queue the music… aaaaaand… It’s that time again – the time where I update everyone with the big projects I’m working on. And I want to, I really do. But I find myself staring blankly at the blinking cursor and wondering what the hell happened to my August. Record screeches to a halt. I had big plans for August, up until my kids got sick, and school started, and my life got thrown into chaos once more.
I have been consistently writing and running, so by now those things feel semi-habitual. Yet I cannot deny that I still struggle mightily with the staggering weight of burnout from trying to be everything to everyone at once. This song and dance is kind of old by now.
With everything going on right now, I can’t make sense of the spiderweb in my brain. It’s not a neat, beautiful one like Charlotte built. No, it’s like a web someone walked through in the woods, messy and difficult to follow.
Instead of trying to follow it, I’ll just lay it all out. It might be easier to make sense of the picture than to chase each thought as it zings past like an electrical current through wire.
Overall Goal: To have my life in order, focusing more energy on my relationships, the house, my parenting, and my personal projects.
What this looks like: My husband and I are supporting each other more effectively. I have some friends. My house is in order (within reason), fully unpacked, and purged of unnecessary junk. The time I spend on my crafts and pastimes have more consistency. I have a schedule where my kids are guaranteed one-on-one time with me, and I am better at engaging with them.
I have the goals, and I know what I want, so I’ll break them down. I won’t make a SMART goal for every single aspect, the post would become far too long. But I’ll break it down so it’s understandable – because what’s on my desk each month is essentially the next stepping stone toward one or more of my goals.
I have a fair amount of personal projects. (As I typed “projects”, my fingers originally typed “problems” and that Freudian slip sums up my current mental state better than anything else I would consciously be able to write.) I am struggling to find time to fit in my projects with consistency. I have a bad habit of chasing too many goals at once, then getting nowhere because my focus is too split. Below I’ve listed my current goals. The idea is to break the big goals into smaller chunks (not in this post, maybe another time.) Ideally I can more efficiently prioritize the goals and prevent a loss of focus.
- 2 Short stories
- One novel
- Flash fiction
- Blog posts
- 5K race on 10/16
- Ultimate goal: Marine Corps Marathon in 2022
- Knit and Crochet
- Baby blankets
- Afghan gift
- The book list is too long and I won’t put it here
I said I wanted to be more engaged. In order to do that, I have to figure out how to best engage with them, and take the steps toward being better as a parent. Below is a brief list of steps to start me off.
- Start small – set aside time once each month
- Figure out what they enjoy/ how they like to play most
- Find activities that fall into those categories
- Build the habit and gradually increase the time spent doing those thing
Right now my house is not in a state I am comfortable living in. I think most people can say the same about their home at one point or another; we all deal with the clutter that arises just from living life. It looks different for each person, and some manage it better than others. *cough* Marie Kondo *cough* My clutter is currently spread out in each part of the house, and it stays there because going through it all is overwhelming.
A lot of our “clutter” is really a result of a storage deficit. We moved from a much larger home into a smaller one recently, and the storage space was much more ample. We moved rapidly, and with Aaron overseas at the time, I didn’t have the opportunity to go through everything. Instead I painfully recall tossing things in boxes and praying they didn’t break as I hauled ass out of a bad situation. I need to “de-clutter” again, but I can’t seem to carve out the time or the motivation.
A big part of figuring out how to move this project off my desk and into the completion pile is to figure out how to get out from beneath the crushing pressure of overwhelm I feel looking at and thinking about the state of my house. I’m tired of walking around boxes or rooting through them to find things last minute, but even the thought of unpacking still causes a mind-boggling level of avoidance I haven’t been able to subvert to get to the action stage. A brief summary of how I can change my perspective is listed below.
- Work only on one room at a time
- Chunk the tasks in a time-frame (i.e.: 2 boxes/day or work on an area for 1 hr)
- Find better ways to store items I still use
- Actually throw away or donate things that aren’t used
- Prioritize the order of the rooms
I mention Aaron, but I know part of our disconnect comes from the stress he’s under with his upcoming surgical boards. Once his boards are over and his attention isn’t split in 9 different directions (that is not hyperbole either), I know a lot of our work/home balance issues will dissolve. Right now I have to find a way to take some things off his plate, because those boards are a make-or-break mile marker in his career.
In reality when I say “relationships”, I mean I want to make friends. I have so many great friends, and I don’t want to leave that unacknowledged. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life. One of the biggest things I struggle with, though, is how lonely it is to be a stay-at-home mother. My friends work, so calling during the day isn’t an option. I can’t go out for drinks or have a girls’ night because my friends are scattered across the country. Not a one of the wonderful women in my life live within driving range of me.
The logical solution to this problem is to make new friends who are geographically capable of filling the proverbial social cup.
I’m not really sure how to go about making friends, though. I’ve tried getting the phone numbers of random people I meet and connect with, but no one responds when I follow up and try to make plans. It’s disheartening. If I want to make friends, though, I have to keep putting myself out there. I think that means I need to be looking into different methods, like finding a mom’s group or maybe a writing group with NaNoWriMo (you can find out more about that here, and in future blog posts where I discuss my writing projects). If you have any other suggestions please, by all means, drop a comment. I’ll take any help I can get.
I strain under the weight of all these projects, but I will admit it’s mostly self-inflicted. Perhaps part of the solution would be to clean off my theoretical desk, and only put each thing on the desktop when I’m actually tackling it. Alas, my mind doesn’t work that way; it doesn’t look beautiful, like one of Charlotte’s glistening webs. Instead, it looks like the halloween store cobwebs, somehow still connected by a few threads, while the rest is a tangled jumble I can’t find my way through. After all, I’m only human, and changes don’t happen overnight.
“With the right words, you can change the world.” – E. B. White, from Charlotte’s Web