Can’t Do It All

I had an epiphany last night. One of those earth-shattering ones, that makes you take stock of what you’re doing with your life. Let me back up though, because what happened before my aha moment is as important.

Pudge has eczema. The rash started on her cheeks and then spread down to her arms, and despite my best efforts, it wasn’t clearing up. Yesterday she was uncomfortable, unable to sleep for much more than half an hour, cranky, and clingy. I was running on all of 4 hours of sleep.

It was dinner time, and I spent the better part of an hour trying to cook a full meal, keep Sprout occupied, and keep Pudge happy. I failed at all 3, nearly burnt the house down, and finally exploded. In a fit of yelling, I voiced my stress and unhappiness with the situation. I didn’t yell at the girls, but around them, at the adults in my life. It was ugly. By the end, I was emotionally worn out, and embarrassed, and exhausted.

I also couldn’t sleep.

It dawned on me, while I was tossing and turning, desperately seeking the cool spot in the sheets, that I am driving myself crazy. I should have laid out the stuff for sandwiches, opened a bag of chips, and had a serve-yourself dinner night. I should have snuggled on the couch with my cranky Pudge, or laid in the tub with her propped on my chest, letting warm water and oatmeal soothe her skin. I should have not worried about whether the carpet was clean, not stressed about the dirty dishes piled in the sink, and not cared about the laundry piling up. It would all have been there when I was ready to tackle it. In trying to do it all, I was doing nothing.

Instead, I tried to do it all, and nothing was done right. Too many irons in the fire and I got burned. Everyone got burned.

So today, I changed things around. We did the normal routine of pre-K, and I did not bother to spotlessly clean the school corner when we were done. I still haven’t run the vacuum, and it’s taken all day to do two loads of laundry.

We wandered around Wally World, buying play jewelry for Sprout, and onesies for Pudge, after school, and had quiet time when we came back. I took a much needed nap instead of cleaning. We had left-overs for dinner, and everyone fixed their own plates. I still haven’t finished laundry. We’ve had candy and chocolate and soda, because in the words of Sprout, “Candy fixes everything.”

There was no yelling, no stress, no tension headache that has me eating Advil like it’s candy.

Without the storm of “MUST DO IT”, I took the time to notice how nice it was today, opened up the house to get some air, and played with my girls.

I have decided something… my house isn’t going to be perfect. If you randomly show up and ring my door bell, there are probably going to be toys scattered around, dishes in the sink, and do me a favor and don’t open the door to the girl’s room. I have small children, and rather than worry about what anyone would think, I’m spending time with them. I have all the time in the world, after they’re grown, to have that house from Home and Garden magazine. But my girls will be this age for a moment, and I cannot lose the opportunity to spend time with them.

We’re banishing the perfect, and with it the insanity, and instead just enjoying the chaos.

~Jennifer

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