On gauntlets and inadequacies…..


Lately I’ve been wandering though my life feeling hopelessly inadequate and basically perceiving myself as a failure. Lest you think this is going to be a whiney entry, let me reassure you – it’s not. I’m actually starting to come to grips with the fact that my life is neither hopelessly inadequate nor an abysmal failure, rather I’m besieged by a toddler and hampered by the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day.

So I’ve been walking around enumerating my failings lately:

1. rotten or at least inconsistent house-keeper
2. not producing nearly enough breath-taking artwork
3. letting my child watch TV periodically and thus causing her brain cells to atrophy
4. taking a nap in the afternoon because I simply can’t function on 6 hours sleep a night (John can)
5. not training and walking each dog for at least two hours a day
6. not getting any structured form of exercise
7. not being a better (grand)daughter-in-law and having in-laws over weekly
8. not making sure that all members of my family have a nutritionally balanced meal every time
9. not answering all emails within a few hours of getting them
10. not getting all major house projects done as quickly as they should be
11. not spending enough time making sure John is altogether happy
12. not making sure that every waking hour of Katherine’s life is crammed with educational activity
13. not making play dough from scratch
14. not vacuuming and mopping daily
15. not doing such things as cleaning out under the fridge and cleaning the oven
16. growing too many flowers and not enough veggies
17. too many other little things to mention that occur on a daily basis

Now you’ll understand, as I am coming to, that you make choices about what to do with the little time that you have each day and that it is simply not possible to do it all. I’ve given up trying and tend to sort of randomly rotate through the things that need doing. I keep the laundry, bathrooms and dishes more or less under control, make sure the dogs get daily exercise and spend a good bit of time with K doing actual activity stuff. I take a nap in the afternoon because if your husband is a stressed-out insomniac, you’re allowed to do this for the sake of marital harmony. One person in the couple has to be in a good mood at the end of the day and besides, I have to work nights to get anything creative done.

So when my sister-in-law writes about all the things she thinks I accomplish, I don’t know whether to laugh or grin or cry. You see, we’re talking about a person who can build a computer with a handful of wires, Stuff From Her Basement, a wad of chewing gum and a toothpick. No joke. She has two super-cool kids (something I simply don’t have the courage to attempt – one already seems like a lot!), a three-story historic home (I can’t take care of our bungalow!), plays how many instruments??, does choir, Scottish country dancing, knows more than I thought possible about every cool toy ever invented and can actually have an entire conversation in Technospeak and do a complete translation into English that makes sense. She also works full-time, in and around all her other activities. Not to mention that she became svelte and athletic last year. So Heather, it works both ways.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sniff. Honk. Stop it, or I’ll have to laud you about the head and shoulders some more. I do have five years on you, you know, and up until Jean was two I had YOU! You are keeping your head above water, which should be your main goal at the moment. Despite our different foci and strengths, we do have a lot in common: don’t look behind my fridge, and I won’t look behind yours.

  2. Oh My! I loved this post!!! Yes, one of you does have to be in a good mood at the end of the day!! My husband is always stressing for those days that we both may have a bad day! LOL! Thanks for sharing the list of common worries that most mothers stress about, and the reflections of what (at the end of ANY given day) is really important:)

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