Help, Help, I’m Being Oppressed! (aka, please forgive me for being so behind on everything I’m supposed to be doing.)

10 May

At the risk of misquoting Monty Python in my title, I stand before you now with a confession: I am in serious danger of being eaten alive by my computer inbox.

Allow me to explain. I am not good at balancing my life. I am not good at spreading out my work in easy-to-manage portions. I want to take all my medicine at once and get it over with. I don’t enjoy daily maintenance. I’m a sprinter, not a marathon runner.

This makes for a slightly chaotic life.

It also makes for overwhelming piles…of clean, ready-to-fold laundry…of dirty dishes…of e-mails, blogs, snail mail, and children’s papers from school.

Our back yard – a lovely place to escape the piles.

These piles get so large, so oppressive, that my mind then shuts down and I do nothing. Well, I do stuff, just not those stuffs. I pick the kids up from school (which takes an hour every day), I drive them to music lessons and scouts and other activities (often having to wait around town and do errands while waiting because it’s not worth the half-hour round-trip home in between). I cook, I wash laundry, I exercise (sometimes), and I spend my 2 hours, three mornings a week, writing at a local café. I go to Mothers Of Preschoolers, I go to the Friends of the Library meetings, I take the cats to the vet, I go to church (where I teach twice a week), and I do other stuff that I can’t think of right now.

I do all of these things in jeans and t-shirts because I forgot how to walk in heels years ago and, though I like comfortable, loose, down-to-my-pale-ankle-length dresses, sadly the fashion world does not. I long for the jumpers of the ‘90’s.

And, while I do all that stuff in my cross-trainers, I ignore the growing piles.

And they grow, and Grow, and GROW.

The kittens are doing great!

I’m holding out for next fall, when our youngest enters Kindergarten. I’m holding on to this fond dream that I will then be more organized. That I will designate certain days as Laundry Day, Cleaning Day, Writing Day, Blogging Day, Errand Day, Preparation Day, Meeting Day, etc. etc. If my math is correct, there are more than five days listed there, which, when taking the five-day school week into consideration, could be a problem.

Now here is a pile I can enjoy!

In the meantime, I am feeling overwhelming guilt. Guilt that my husband has to dig through the laundry basket morning after morning (though he never complains) because I forgot – again – to fold stuff. Guilt that my children sometimes get fed frozen chicken nuggets. Guilt that I haven’t read or commented on ANY BLOGS for, like, a week.

If I consider blogging to be my job – and it is part of my overall writing career – then I am not deserving my pay.

How on earth do women with full time jobs ever get anything else done?

The playhouse, the rhubarb.

So…I am apologizing to you fellow bloggers who might have felt neglected by me lately. I am apologizing to my family for the six baskets of laundry that seem to have taken up permanent residence in the hall. And I am apologizing to you all that I am whining.

Perhaps life will improve next week when school gets out for the summer? Yeah, I know, wishful thinking.

In the meantime, before I figure out how to handle being me, please understand that, though there may be a “temporarily out of her mind” sign posted in my front lawn, I appreciate your patience and if you have any advice for my insanity, I would greatly appreciate it.

P.S. – My doctor assures me that it’s normal to drive by rote and to forget to turn and that I don’t have A) early on-set Alzheimer’s, B) a brain tumor or, C) early on-set menopause. I was both reassured and depressed by her words.

Now I can only blame it on myself.


20 Responses to “Help, Help, I’m Being Oppressed! (aka, please forgive me for being so behind on everything I’m supposed to be doing.)”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots May 10, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    I’m glad you stated that blogging is part of your overall writing career. That, too, is among the reasons I blog. But not always easy for non-writers to understand.

    Seems to me you have a lot going on and that you are entitled to feeling a bit overwhelmed, like that orange kitten in your third image today. Love that sweet photo. I could envision it on the front of some humorous greeting card or on a poster.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Yeah, blogging is a great chance to write! And any chance to excercise one’s craft is important. I like that photo, too – as of Saturday we’ll only have one kitten, so I’m trying to photograph them all as much as I can!

  2. Just A Smidgen May 10, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    I hear ya’! Sometimes I could cry the inbox is so full.. from just a few missed days. I’ve found it best to work from the newest posts back.. I think we all understand if you’ve commented on my latest and not the two before.. well, you were busy enjoying your life and that’s a good thing! Who else would “get it” than us fellow bloggers:) It’s not insulting to miss a post.. totally understandable. I’ve taken to posting less often as well. The day of a new post also requires answering everyone’s comments (because I enjoy that) in addition to reading new posts. It seems so much more less hectic when I only post 2-3 times max a week. Don’t know if that helps!? And I don’t know how some people blog every day!! And comment on other blogs every day!? and answer their own commenters every day?? Now that’s incredible!! Sending you xoxoxo Smidge

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement, Smidge! I just purged my inbox (opening many blogs as I did so) and will attempt to read at least most of them as the day goes on! We’ll see how successful I am. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one who struggles with it!

  3. Rose May 10, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Felt like a breath of fresh air. I feel similar about some things. I do feel similar actually, but my circumstances (of course) are not the same. The main thing I could relate to is feeling like my e-mail inbox is going to eat me!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      As of about 2 months ago my e-mail inbox was totally empty. That lasted about 2 hours! I’m glad I’m not alone in my struggles!!

  4. cravesadventure May 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Loving your last pic – oh so cute kitty! You are not alone and am learning to delegate certain duties, especially around the house. I KNOW I CANNOT DO IT ALL and might combust if I even try – ha! Sometimes living the crazy, busy life is more important, so do not guilt trip yourself because it is so not worth it. Have a Great Day and thanks for the kitty fix:)

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      We will be giving away two of the kitties this weekend, so it’s hard to see them go! Yes, we can’t do it all and why even try? I just need to do the best with what I can do, I guess!

  5. bitsandbreadcrumbs May 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Adorable kittens! I feel your pain. No kids, but a full time business, husband, cats, blog. Thank goodness no one can see my house, and it just took me two weeks to get caught up on other people’s posts. Maybe one day I can post twice a week again! 😉 OH, and make sure you didn’t miss the part about unchecking the notify me of follow up comments box when you’re commenting, otherwise…well, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet in your inbox!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      Thanks for the warning! I have experienced that with one blog – thankfully there weren’t too many comments! Weird. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who struggles to keep up! Not that I want people to be suffering, but, you know…misery loves company, right?!!

  6. Malou May 11, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    Great post, Gretchen! We all have busy agenda and that means that at times we can’t post. Same happened to me these past couple of weeks so I am running behind responding to comments and also checking out other blogs. Still, glad to see you back with these nice pictures. 😉

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks! Life gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?! And I always love your pictures, too – gorgeous!!!

  7. prairiewisdom May 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    I believe that I need a ‘temporarily out of her mind’ sign for my front lawn also. Life sure does get hectic doesn’t it?

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Yes, it does! Whether we’re ready for it or not! I think perhaps I need to have some signs made up!

  8. hotlyspiced May 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    I think you’re fine – you sound just like me. All these piles of things that are growing by the second (especially the laundry) and with good intentions, I will get to it! I love the images of your backyard – what a green property. It must be so peaceful where you are. And your kittens are just gorgeous xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 14, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      Ah, thanks. I must say it’s good to know I’m not alone! There is light at the end of the tunnel: school is out for the summer on Friday, so hopefully I can catch up a bit then?! well…it’s a nice thought, anyway…

  9. jcsservant May 17, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Finally! I have a kindred spirit in blog/mother/writing land! Of course I am woefully late in commenting on this…the laundry is threatening to take over the laundry room…there is a weird smell in the fridge AND it takes one magic eraser per foot to spring clean the mucky walls….THANK YOU for writing this. I look forward to reading many more posts…perhaps not on the day they are posted…

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      OH, my, you made me laugh! Yes, it sounds like you can relate – and I’m totally fine with you reading posts late!! ha. Now I can’t wait to check out yours!

  10. rutheh July 28, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. A husband who doesn’t complain is a gem. Hey, they’re clean. No need to apologize to the blogging world- we will be here when you want to connect. When it starts to be another chore? Ugh!! Your posts and photos are terrific and worth waiting for so no worries. Your honest sharing makes your readers respond with empathy. And forget about declaring each day with a specific activity cause then you will really feel crummy if you miss laundry day one week and it has to be done on “enjoy the kittens” day.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell July 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      You are so encouraging! Thank you. I pretty much have given myself a summer pass on everything but hanging with the kids…which can only be a good thing! I’m looking forward to fall – and hoping to figure out exactly how to ballance the kitten-love with the prosaic reality of dirty dishes. 🙂

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