If I Can’t Have It All, Why Do I Keep Trying?

I’ve always believed that you can’t have it all. Life is filled with limited time, energy and money each of which motivate how we use the others. That being said, I haven’t quite made peace with that in my own life. I’m always striving to do more, be more and try to make it all fit in.

Some days I feel like I don’t do anything more than laundry, dishes and cook meals and sometimes I can’t seem to even manage those. But other days, I get excited about the potential for new projects and personal enrichment. I go all J on myself and create list after list, scheduling and rescheduling my time, determined not to waste a second, looking for ways to efficiently multi-task. Never go up and downstairs empty handed. Read articles while I fold laundry. (Though I still haven’t figured out how to read while I do dishes). But mostly I end up spending more time planning to do things than actually doing things.

I’ve been meaning to review Tell Your Time for a while. I really appreciated the proposed exercise she set up to help you determine how to fit activities into your life. The problem is I can’t seem to delete anything. I know that there are only so many hours in a day, but I just keep looking for more.

I am a stay-at-home mom who wishes she was a work-at-home mom, or a part-time working mom. I am a writer, a blogger, a knitter, beginning sewist and gardener. We are planning to start homeschooling this year, at least in a slightly more formal manner than in the past. I am a dancer and the head of our dance ministry team at our church. I am publicist for our MOPS group and I’m wishing I could start a mid-week kids program at our church (like Awana, Pioneer or Journey clubs).  I’d also like to start an Etsy store, monetize my blog, finish my Lenten devotional, and start promoting my Advent devotional for the upcoming season.

Our budget is limited so I spend more time than I would like researching and looking for deals before making a decision about any kind of expenditure. I make most of our food from scratch, and often have to create multiple meals due to our son’s food allergies. (That doesn’t include the time I spend encouraging my husband to write and cajoling him to exercise at least once a week when I know it should be two or three).

I realize that I am totally nuts. I have far too many things that I like to do, and the ones that I don’t like doing, I can’t afford to stop doing. Sure, if I had the money I would happily hire someone to do the cleaning and maybe the cooking too. (Though I don’t mind cooking, as much as the cleaning up afterwards. Somehow one hour of cooking seems to produce two hours of dishes. I call it my kitchen time warp). So instead of just giving up one of the activities I love, I try to schedule really creatively, as if just manipulating the calendar will solve the problem.

Being a mom is an exercise in constant interruption. I finally sit down the write and suddenly the baby needs a diaper change. I get my kids breakfast and then sit down to eat my own, and the kids are already finished eating and need more to eat. My daughter’s appetite alone is mystifying. I’m looking forward to teaching her to wash her own dishes so that she can wash and reuse the same couple of dishes all day so she stops going through 4 bowls, 3 plates and multiple other cups a day, sometimes per meal.

So what do I cut out? Do I do it all but spend less time on each? Do I keep the activities that produce income (which at the moment isn’t really any of them) and delete others? Do maintain my useful hobbies like knitting and sewing? Do I become a writer before all else, focusing only on honing my craft? Or do I primarily focus on being a blogger and spend my time building my platform and building social media presence? I had having to choose and I’m not sure I can.

What have you given up to make time for other things that need to be done or that you love to do?


2 thoughts on “If I Can’t Have It All, Why Do I Keep Trying?

  1. scrapbooking. Something I really loved that has definitely gone by the wayside since kids, even though I feel it is super important and I have all the “stuff” for it (except of course printed pictures… I know people make them now and get them printed online, but there is something about a homemade scrapbook….) Because our kids are home and I’m not, I also have a sitter now in our house (instead of at the sitter’s house) so that the kids’ laundry and the preparation of the meal (before the cooking) is done when we get home, as are the daytime dishes. This has made a HUGE difference in my life. I know those are things you can’t do, but just sharing where we finally had to change the budget to accommodate the things we just needed to have done with our full-time-plus jobs and other commitments (i.e. I’m on a school board, too.) It is hard to decide what to cut out and no one can decide but you. People tell me not to be on the school board, but it’s a twice-per-month commitment and it’s at the school I’m hoping to send my kids to, so I am gaining insight and knowledge into the way this school works and have a part in helping to create and monitor programming there. To me, that is worth the commitment. But it does take away from my time with the kids, especially being out of the house so much. “everything in moderation” is a really nice thought, but it’s hard sometimes to figure out what the moderation is.

    1. My more creative pursuits have definitely gone by the wayside a bit. I still have my unfinished baby scrapbook for Thea and I was given one for Robin that I never even started. Robin’s baby book has hardly any entries in it (I just settled for marking the calender most days anything special occurred.) I still knit, though not the way I used to. I’ve started buying bread again instead of making it. It costs more but it saves me loads of time. I still bake bread to go with dinner on occasion but it isn’t a weekly thing the way it used to be. We have to make compromises but still make time to invest in ourselves and our kids and their (and out) future development. Thanks for the comment!

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