About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How do you do it?

     A fellow writer and mother recently asked me, "How do you do it all?"
     All I could do was cry out, "But I don't do it all!"
     Oh yes, I try so very hard, and in some ways (sure) I succeed, but lately I feel like I am failing...
     Once I had a goal to write on this blog every week. I never managed to do that, even in the beginning. So my goal became to write every other week... Now I am content to maintain a monthly post.
     I started a new blog called A Simple Natural Home. I had hoped to fill it full of recipes for soaps and healthy muffins, cloth diapering tips and gardening advice. Today the blog contains only a few pages of material.
     Almost five years ago I started writing a historical fiction novel. People have praised me when I tell them that I am on page 78 of my first draft. But I just want to cry because it took me five years to push that out! And now I have another baby. And now my older son is having problems with authority. Will it take ten, maybe twenty, to complete?
     I was so determined to have a winter garden this year. But we got a foot of snow and it sat around for a week killing my broccoli plants. The plants I sat hunched over in autumn picking tiny caterpillars off of. I still have fruit trees to prune, a chicken coop to clean, and a fence to build. But I can't dig my way out of the dishes and laundry.
     The baby is constantly pooping again. Or chewing and trying to choke on some random scrap of paper he found on the floor. The older child is constantly climbing onto the desk to turn the TV screen on so he can watch Felix the Cat on Netflix. Or melting down because I said, "Not right now."
     I pour my all into my children. I am the mom who reads to their kids, who listens to their stories, and who plays as well as disciplines. I am constantly reading new about positive parenting and early childhood development. Embracing motherhood has become my art. It has replaced much of who I am as a person. And I know that is ok. In fact, I dare to say that is how it should be when you have young kids. Still, my children are so far from perfect. You would think I had it all figured out with all the research I have done, but they have behavior problems galore. We struggle.
      I set an alarm and woke up early this morning early. My intention was to get up and finish writing what I was too tried to write last night. But the baby was sleeping at my breast. I tried to get up so very carefully. I let him nurse until my milk let down again. It took three patient tries to get my breast out of his mouth without waking him. Then I eased him off and patted his back until he fell asleep again. Slowly I inched away from him, tucking the pre-warmed blankets around him to fill my void. I rose from the bed and stayed very still. Twice a resumed the lying position. Finally when I thought he was sound asleep a turned to the window and adjusted the blind so that the sun would not come streaming in and wake him. I did so silently. Nevertheless, when I turn back to my baby, his sleep eyes were open wide. I groaned. He smiled.
     How am I doing it all you ask?
     I am not doing it all! I am just trying very hard to juggle everything. Perhaps my problem is too much ambition. Maybe I need to kick back and relax more. So I try to take time to do nothing. Surely I would do better to do less.
      I truly hope that one day I will do better. Not more! But better!
     So... How do you do it? How do you do better?


  1. I am a firm believer that when your children are under the age of 5 you shouldn't expect too much from yourself. And.....your time is not really your time. You belong to your children. It is your job at that point to be the best mother you can be. Once they hit that magic golden age of 5, then you get a little bit of time back to yourself.

    I would never have even attempted to do all that I do when my kids were babies and toddlers. It was enough just to keep the house clean and homemade food in everyone's bellies! Now though, I'm up early checking blogs and I know that no one will wake up to interrupt me because they are sound sleepers now. In between homeschooling we keep chickens, and goats, and a garden and its really not hard because the kids help with all that stuff. I'm in the midst of organizing a homeschool co-op and dreaming of starting a new farmer's market in our area.

    And all that......would not even be possible if my kids were still babies.

    And sometimes I really miss them being babies.

    So, if I were you, I would kick back and enjoy it. You have the rest of your life for yourself, and only a tiny portion of it with babies.

    1. Thanks Ashely,
      And you are exactly right! I do try to kick back and enjoy it as much as possible. I was just trying to express how very difficult that is to do for me. Perhaps it shouldn't be difficult, but for me it is... Deep breath! I am trying very hard to be here now, in the moment. And on that note, I hear the baby stirring...