Monday, February 16, 2009

She Does It All...Badly?

by Caren Crane

Yes, it's all my fault this post is SOOO late today. You see, I've been busy trying to do everything: work, clean house, track schedules and appointments, run committees, pay bills...oh, yes, and write! I am doing it all...very badly.

I blogged recently on planning. I am such a planner! As a matter of fact, I planned to blog twice this month...then forgot to write the second day down. Doh! See, I'm better at planning than doing. So, while my lovely Bandita sisters are scratching their heads and wondering where in the world I've stored mine, I'm hastily gathering my scattered thoughts and trying to figure out why I try to do so many things?

I spoke with Trish this morning, who is doing a great job of juggling a ridiculous number of obligations, responsibilities and deadlines. I think she's doing a brilliant job but I think she, like so many of us, wishes she could do more. Faster. Better. Somehow, we're convinced our best isn't good enough.

Are we compelled to overextend ourselves? To do more than is humanly possible? Why, oh why, do we keep saying YES when we should avoid eye contact at all costs? And if you're one of those rare people who actually has limits and boundaries, please tell us how that works, exactly?

56 comments:

Anna Sugden said...

Is the rooster coming to the UK?

Margay said...

I think it's because women are nurturers and we've been programmed over centuries to say yes to everything, whether or not we have the time to do it. I think, in order to set limitations, first we must reconcile with ourselves with the fact that we can't do everything that everyone wants us to and retain even a scrap of sanity. Once we do that, we have to learn how to put ourselves first for once and give up the idea of trying to please everyone all the time. It just isn't going to happen. Once we reach that conclusion, saying no comes a little easier. And guess what? People are still going to like us if we say no once in awhile because we can't do it all, all the time.

I know I used to be a huge people pleaser in that respect. I was afraid that people wouldn't like me as much if I said no to them. Well, after being diagnosed with M.S. seven years ago (I can't believe it's been that long already!), I learned the hard way how to start putting myself first for once. Of course, I still do a lot for other people, but I've learned how to say no, too. I learned the hard way that I have limitations. Don't do that to yourself. Learn now, before health becomes an issue. Stress is a killer.

Margay

Anna Sugden said...

Limits? Boundaries? ROFL ... and yes, that laughter is semi-hysterical!

I keep trying to be better organised. To be distracted less. It works for a short while, but then somehow ... like the pesky rooster ... it all creeps up on me and I'm back in the quagmire of commitments!

I've learned now to say no to all but the most important of volunteering requests. I've done my part (over and over again!), and don't begrudge most of the stuff I've done - after all I've benefitted so much from other people's volunterring. But when it all began to infringe on time I could have spent writing, I had to say no more. (At hubby's insistence!)

Hugs on the over-commitment, my friend. Know you're in very good company!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, you sly thing! The GR has been angling for a visit to Britain for a long while. I'm not accusing him of erasing the "blog day" entry from my calendar, but the whole thing is might-y suspicious...

Caren Crane said...

Margay, you are such a clear-minded woman! Like you, many of the priority-side women I know have been forced by health or circumstances to pay attention to their limitations and to put themselves at the top of the list.

I think we owe it to ourselves and our families to ensure our priorities are properly aligned. Someone recently suggested asking yourself, "Will this matter in 5 years? Five months? Five weeks?" The answer is usually a resounding NO. That's so important to keep in mind. Thank you for the great advice!

Caren Crane said...

Anna, kudos to you for learning limits and enforcing them! I am better than I used to be, I promise, but I am still tempted to say YES to things I really shouldn't.

It makes my husband crazy that I feel obligated to take things on. It's not even that it takes away from us, since he works ALL the time, but I think he hates seeing me stress over things. I should listen to him more!

Cassondra said...

Hmmmm.

I'm feeling very selfish right now.

I don't try to do everything to please other people. I try to do it for ME.

I want to know everything. I want to do everything. I want to TRY everything. Well, almost everything. I'm endlessly curious. Opportunities knock, and I want to walk through those doors. Who knows where they might lead, after all? Sailing? Of COURSE I want to learn. I've ALWAYS wanted to learn. So I have this invitation to join a local yacht club. Yes, write that on the calendar. Wait. We have something every other Friday already? So this would mean we have only one Friday evening free each month? Oh, well....I might not get the chance to do this again!

Beekeeping? ABSOLUTELY! Never mind that bees don't keep themselves--at least, not well. Yes, there's work involved--weather dependent work!

Restore another old house? OF COURSE! I have to save it!

I have managed to NOT get a horse, though I do want one. I just don't have the money to support one. But I WANT TO!!!!

Learn to fly? Learn to speak spanish fluently? Landscape the yard? Build a dog kennel? Learn a new instrument (mandolin is next on my list)? Sing with a community choir? Volunteer at the handicapped riding facility? Teach other people to read?

YES! I WANT TO DO IT!

No, it's not doing for other people that gets me in the ditch, selfish brat that I am. It's my own curiosity and wanting to cram three lifetime's worth of living into one.

Heavy sigh. Now you see me for what I am. :0/

Anna Sugden said...

My hubby is one of those who asks that question, Caren. He also uses the phrase - you can't fight gravity. ie there's no point fretting about something you can't do anything about.

It's amazing how if you think about those two things, it can remove the stress from issues!

Cassondra said...

Oh yeah.....somewhere in that laundry list of living I mentioned in the above post, should be....

WRITE A BOOK!

Dangit.

Virginia said...

Yes Anna, you grabbed that rooster today, have fun with him, but watch your candy!

Yes, women try to do way to much! I am not working right now but seem to stay busy just the same. For years I had a full time job in a factory six and seven days a week. I also tried to cook everyday and keep house, laundry, bill, shopping, and raise a child, everything was throwed at me. I told my hubby's mother the other day that I think he was trying to kill me. It did make things easier after I lost my job of twenty plus years and couldn't find another one. Then DH throwed the yard work on me to and we can't say no! ALL WOMEN NEED TO LEARN TO SAY NO!

Treethyme said...

As crazy as my schedule is now, it's much better than it used to be. Back in the day, I edited an elementary school yearbook, served on the PTO board, chaired the After Prom committee, did presentations at the Cincinnati Flower Show and wrote half of their magazine, wrote at least 50 articles per year AND, at that time, I was also writing gardening books.

Oh yeah, and taking care of two kids, a dog, three cats, two gerbils and a husband who was traveling all the time. I'm surprised I didn't go totally insane.

Oddly, though, when I was that busy, the house was cleaner, I did more of the yardwork (now I pay a guy to help me), I sent cards and birthday gifts on time and actually wrote some correspondence in actual mail instead of always relying on email. I'm sure I paid a price for it, though.

Now, while I'm always on target with deadlines, I'm not nearly as regimented about the rest of my life. If it's a choice between dusting or reading, I'm going to read.

I do think this is something built in to the female psyche, though. While men seem to be hard-wired to want to solve problems and "fix" everything, many females (including me) seem to be missing that "off" switch that tells us when we're doing too much.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, the Golden Rooster will learn how to speak like the Queen!!! Perhaps the Queen will even decide she wants a Golden Rooster of her own. Can't you see him strutting around Buckingham Palace? I sure can! Anna, congratulations!

Caren, what a very wise post. I must say I'm feeling rather fragmented at the moment. Everything's been GOOD, there's just been a bit too much of it and not quite enough of me to spread across all the obligations! I'm reaching a stage where I'm going to have to start being ruthless or everything will fray at the edges.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, you make me laugh! All the things you supposedly do for yourself ends up being for other people, I daresay. I can see you gathering honey and taking it to friends and neighbors. Learning Spanish and happening across some poor family who needs an interpreter. Filling some vital role in a chorus or band or animal rescue facility. *g*

I think your three lifetimes of stuff you want to do would be three lifetimes of volunteering!

I know what you mean, though. I see classes I would love to take, for no particular reason. Just curious. I love to do research and learn and explore. If only there were time!

I already have a list of things I want to do if I ever get to retire. That's a big IF! *g*

Cassondra said...

Virginia, buy a mower with a five-foot cutting deck. Three passes and the yard is mowed. BAM!

That's what I did.

I'm just sayin.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, your endless curiosity is just one of the many things we love about you! Don't get too sage and sensible, my friend!

Margay, what a wise post! We should all print it out and put it on our noticeboards - underneath the scribbled notes about the thousands of things we've already committed to!

Caren Crane said...

You know, Anna, I think I'm going to have that question tattooed on the back of my hand. That way, when I'm tempted to raise my hand to volunteer, it will be right in front of me! *g*

I do think it's the way to go, though. I am trying to focus on no more than three things at a time. I am almost there, but not quite. I have a couple of obligations that are ending this year and I am ecstatic about that!

I also have one large obligation ending in three years and I'm less happy about that, but I've done my share. Time to move along!

Caren Crane said...

Virginia, isn't it a bit overwhelming to think of all you do? It's much easier for me to keep my head down and just keep going. I'm sorry you have now taken on the yard work as well, but at least you can soak up some sun and commune in nature when mowing and trimming. And though the job loss is a blow, getting away from that environment for a while may turn out to be a blessing!

Take care and remember to say NO when you can.

Caren Crane said...

Treethyme, it's funny you mentioned that you used to get more done when your life was insanely busy. I have noticed the same thing. Whenever I have WAY too much going on, I am terribly productive!

Give me a day off (like today) and nothing gets done! But yes, that high price is a whole issue. I would rather be healthy and less productive than sick with an empty to-do list!

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - It's so easy to get overscheduled. I know as I'm one of those people. I'm not very good about saying "no" but I think I'm improving. Partly because it's as Margay says - I do try to please. But it's also part of Cassondra's post - I want to experience it all. Invariably, my desires take a backseat to my family's wishes, but that's changing as well. The kids are older and I tell myself it's for their own good that I say no.

Commiserations and hugs on your over-scheduled self, Caren. Hope you take some time for yourself today.

Cassondra said...

There is some kind of "just right" middle ground for each of us I think. Just like Goldilocks--The Papa Bear bed is too big--we're overwhelmed, The Baby Bear bed is too small--we're not quite busy enough and end up surfing the web half the day, being less productive because we haven't hit that optimum, and then there's the Mama Bear bed--the bed that's just right.

I know people who've lost jobs, like Virginia, and ended up with too much time. They COULD do other stuff with it, but they end up kind of letting the time slip away with silly stuff. I've recently done that. I've switched from one Post Office to another, where I work A LOT less. More time to write, right? That was the goal.

But I haven't adjusted properly. Not YET, anyway. I still haven't gotten any writing done. I'm piddling around, not sure what to do with myself. Lots of stuff that needs doing around me, but I can't seem to get at it.

I'll hit my stride, but I think there is a just right in there somewhere. Being just busy enough to stay stimulated mentally and emotionally, but not so busy you can't take care of yourself. I think each of us must be different, because I know women who thrive on incredibly hectic schedules, and other ones who are, like most of us, overwhelmed.

jo robertson said...

I swear to goodness, Posh, I think only women truly have this serious problem of over-extension. Sometimes I think we're genetically programmed to get ourselves in over our heads.

Take heart, however. The inclination does slow down with age, either out of necessity or sheer will.

I once moaned to Dr. Big that I wish there were 26 hours in a day so I could catch up. He looked at me as if I were nuts and said, "Why in the world would you want two extra hours in which to panic, exhaust, and generally overwhelm yourself?"

Point taken!

p226 said...

I'm one of those people that has limits and boundaries. I can, and I will say "no." Failing an outright "no" I will negotiate for a more reasonable request. Lots of times, people are willing to meet you in the middle. "I cannot do that right now, but I can do it ______." Or, sometimes I'll negotiate the substance of a request. "I can do this, but ____________ must be _______ and _______ will be limited."

The reason I do this, is that over-committing actually does a disservice to those I'm trying to help. Sure, it seems on the surface that if I simply say "yes" to a request, I'm being more compliant and helpful than negotiating. Until that request comes due, and I've half-assed the job or failed to get to it at all. Mainly because I didn't negotiate or say no to everyone else.

Worst of all, over-committing does a disservice to myself. Sure, I like helping people out, and genuinely want to be that go-to guy. But if I'm not everyone's go-to guy all of the time, does that really make me less valuable of a person, friend, or employee? No. It just means that I work smart. There are exactly twenty four hours in every day. And the quality of my life is more negatively impacted by being overworked, overstressed, and separated from my family due to demands, than by someone being disappointed that I couldn't do what they requested, when they requested it, exactly how they requested it.

Negotiation is the key. Sometimes the result of that negotiation is "no." Sometimes it's "yes." Sometimes it's "yes" with a list of qualifiers. I'd rather disappoint up front than fail later when someone's counting on me because I have committed.

I know a lot of people are compelled to be the "go-to" person. They get their self-esteem wrapped up in that. In my opinion, life's just too damned short to live and think that way. I will have exactly as much time for my family as I want and need -- as they want and need. And I will have as much time for myself as I want and need. Because, in the end, if I don't get that, I'll turn into such a jerk that I'll damage the relationship anyway due to being overstressed and overworked, or failing to meet some obligation.

I'm me. I'll do what I can, when I can. Love it or leave it.

Susan Sey said...

Hiya, Posh! I hear you on the 'doing it all badly' thing. Sometimes I feel like I go-go-go from morning til night & then find I still have an enormous pile of laundry staring me in the face. It's disheartening.

But on the other hand, I've also come to realize over the years that I'm the kind of person who simply requires some time (preferably daily) to just chew over whatever's in my head.

It's been noticably harder (both finding the time to think, as well as the actually thinking) since I had kids, but I really make an effort. I think I'm a much better & more interesting person when I have more than a passing acquaintance with all the junk in my head. Happier, too. More relaxed.

I can't figure out the world around me, but I do like developing theories about it, & making the time to mull the whole crazy thing over just feeds something inside me that needs feeding. Something more important than being on the PTA, though I totally agree that's important, too. But if something has to give? It's the PTA, hands down.

Caren Crane said...

Anna C., I am always amazed at the number of things you manage to do! I have sometimes thought you must have a twin to do all your blogging and interviews and gues appearances. *g*

Considering how you have befriended the world, I'm not surprised you are finding it necessary to claim some sanity for yourself. I'm sure you can learn to say no with all manner of grace and charm!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Back in the day... Aunty also tried to do EVERYTHING -- work full-time, take care of the kiddo, run the household. I just KNEW that if *I* didn't do it, nobody else would.

Well, guess what? Eventually I figured out I was RIGHT. Nobody else did do all that stuff, and the world as we know it did NOT cease to exist! And yes, like Margay and so many others I know, I did have a health crisis that helped put things into SHARP focus.

Now I do WHAT I WANT! Of course it helps to have the crop.

The Crop
is very motivational for others! Just ask the cabana boys. MUAHAHAHAHA!

AC

p226 said...

I am trying to focus on no more than three things at a time.

Ahh, the Rule of Threes.

Did you know the Marine Corps experimented with a Rule of Four? Yeah, I was in when they did it. The idea was that Marines could manage elements of four. They'd been running on elements of three for a long time, but someone got the bright idea that Marines could adapt to managing in fours.

So they did it. They reorganized. Fire teams kept three members and a fire team leader. But squads had four fire teams. Platoons had four squads. Battalions had four companies, etc...

It was, in military parlance, a "charlie foxtrot" of the highest magnitude. I think it took less than a year for the entire Marine corps to re-organize back into threes. Three team members and a leader in a fire-team. Three fire teams in a squad. Three squads in a platoon. Three platoons in a company. Three companies in a Battalion, etc...

People think in threes as a maximum. If you throw four quarters on a table, you'll probably see them as two and two. But if you throw five on the table, you'll see them as three and two. Six, and you'll see three and three. Seven, and you'll see three, three, and one.

Our minds are organized in trinary.

Caren Crane said...

Go, Donna! I'm glad you're reclaiming some time. You know, most of the things I do are things I'm genuinely interested in or are causes I care about. The problem I have is the same as Cassondra's - I'd like to do everything!

I hate saying no to something I know I would enjoy. I was asked this morning if I would direct the Program Assistants unit for a week of Girl Scout day camp this summer. Would I ever! But to do that, I would have to use a week of my vacation time from work. I only get so many days and if I did day camp, I wouldn't get to take the family vacation we are hoping to take in August. So...no day camp.

I feel like those doors of opportunity Cassondra was talking about are slamming shut around me all the time. I rarely regret saying no later, but every once in a while...

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I think I need to be measured for my Mama Bear bed. *g* I love this analogy, because it's so true! I can easily fall into the trap of having too little to do and too much time.

I was laid off for 6 months one time with severance pay and I started out strong. I got up at the same time, started writing by X time, finished at Y time, ate lunch and then wrote again. I had a time for grocery shopping, cooking dinner, doing laundry. Life was good.

Then...I started having lunch with friends and paring down the writing time. I did manage to write a great book in that 6 months - 7 weeks of the 6 months. After that, I played and played until it was time to find another job. Too much time on my hands! *g*

Helen said...

Well done Anna I am sure he is going to enjoy his trip to England.

Great post Caren. When my kids were young I was on so many comittees and I was always putting my hand up to volunteer to do things and they all took up so much time but involed the kids so hubby and I kept doing them. But then I after years of being busy and having no time for me I started to slow down and leave things for other people to do and now I rarely volunteer for any extra things to do I need the time I have to spend with my family and to read my books I have a very large TBR pile that is always calling to me and I am loving it.

Have Fun
Helen

Caren Crane said...

Jo, Dr. Big is so wise! *g* If I had two more hours, I would fill it slap up. Not with sleeping, either!

Today, I will have accomplished nothing. I tried to think about what to make for dinner, but my mind keeps wandering. Maybe we'll have cereal.

Caren Crane said...

P226, I bow toward WV! You are a man with his head on straight. I have learned a little bit about negotiating, but am still getting the hang of it.

I was proud of myself for telling our troop parents this year that there was NO WAY one of the leaders was going to be Cookie Manager. We have 30 years of volunteering as leaders and it was someone else's turn to step up. It worked! We had three different parents agree to help out and they were happy to do it.

I'm not sure why it's so hard for women to ask for the help they need. I can't speak for men, so I'm not sure if they have the same trouble. Some women I know seem to anticipate that no one will want to help them, so they don't ask. It's crazy! The worst someone can say is NO and heaven knows, it's rarely personal.

I'm going to remember your wise words about negotiating. It's a handy life skill!

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I'm mulling over your mulling. *g* You know, I never think of myself as introspective, but I DO spend an awful lot of time in my head. Oh, I may appear to be doing work-related work, but there is a lot of actual thinking going on.

I was at a fabulous 72-hour retreat this weekend and it was really life-altering. BUT, we had talks and small group discussions and worship and meals and bathroom breaks and everything else TOGETHER. I was with other people almost constantly for 72 hours. I loved it, but man was I glad to get home and go in a room by myself!

I found I really missed getting up in the morning and being ALONE for an hour. I need that morning time to gather myself for the day. Claim your time, sister!

Caren Crane said...

Aunty, I love how you put that. No one would do all the things you did, but the world didn't fall apart.

I got home last night and realized that pretty much all the food I had left in the fridge was still there. Um...so what did they eat all weekend, I asked my husband. "We ate." What did y'all eat? Shrug. "Stuff."

You know, the kids are fine with "stuff" for a few days (or a week, when I'm at conference). I shudder to think what their bloodwork would reveal if I were gone for good, but I'm sure they would all survive.

It's a bit morbid, but my younger sister and I always make plans for what the other one will need to do for our kids if one of us should die. "Okay, make sure they have coats that fit in the winter. He'll never make them wear one, but I want to make sure they HAVE one." Things like that. *g*

Caren Crane said...

P226, that is really interesting. I think there is something to the Rule Of Three, though. It's like the Schoolhouse Rock song, "Three Is a Magic Number". I guess the Marines believe that now. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Helen, you needed that tattoo I'm getting on the back of the hand! *g* I felt strongly that it was important to be involved in SOME of the kids' activities, but certainly not all. No PTA, no Choral Boosters or Sunday school teaching (well, not for a long time now).

But I chose 1 big one for the girls and have been a Girl Scout leader for the past 11 years. That's the one I'll be done with in 3 more years! While I enjoy it and I think all my girls are great fun, when they are done, I'm done.

I also felt it was important to give back to RWA. So, I was Chapter Pres for 2 years and I've served on a national Committee for going on 3 years. When this year is over, that will be over. I'm washing my hands and calling it done!

I think like you and Anna and Aunty Cindy, I will only need to do so much and then they can stick a fork in me, 'cause I'll be DONE.

Helen said...

Caren

I loved being brownie leader and working in the soccer and netball canteens and there were meetings to attend and I was president of the P&C (PTA) fundraising there were always boxes of chocolates at our place to sell and raffle tickets and trivia nights to organize but when I started working full time and managing all of this was just way too much I was always tired which made me irritable and in the end I decided yep it was someone eles turn and I have never looked back.

Have Fun
Helen

Christie Kelley said...

She does it all...badly? I'm feeling that way lately. I work one part-time job from home (15-20/week), plus I'm still in real estate and I'm on deadline. Then there is judging the Golden Heart contest, my critique group, my monthly blog here, my local RWA chapter, the kids, the husband, the cat and the house. And spring little league starts next month. Yippee, two games and one practice every week.

I had to say no to one of the things I love at my son's school last week. They have something called book talk. You read the same book as the kids and come in and have a discussion with them about the book. I just didn't have time to read a book and think about questions for it. I HATED saying no. But that would have put me over the limit.

I used to be better at saying no. I'm not sure what happened to me.

Nancy said...

Anna, I hear the rooster has been inspecting your kitchen. Don't you have cats?

Congrats on nabbing the bird!

Nancy said...

Caren, welcome to the myth of Superwoman. If someone as phenomenally organized as you are can forget her blog day, that makes spacey me feel ever so much better!

Seriously, we have only so many brain cells. Every once in a while, one crashes.

When women started working outside the home, there was a lot of pressure to the effect that this was okay as long as the traditional duties didn't slip. Most people I know don't adhere to that thinking, but I see it as the start of the Superwoman expectation.

Of course, I comforted myself with this thought when mothers of the boy's friends were making their own granola snacks while I was doing well to remember to buy snacks. And when my partner mom in watching the 3rd grade while the teachers had a nice lunch brought craft projects, organized in individual baggies for each child, while my idea of keeping order was to get a book from the library and read to them. Which did become necessary when we ran out of crafts.

We really don't have to do it all, and women, as several people have noted, tend to be really bad at saying no. P226 makes great points about negotiation, but women in general are such pleasers that the reflex response is "yes" rather than "possibly."

When I worked as a weight loss consultant, one of my ongoing frustrations was women who refused to even ask their families to adjust their eating habits. They didn't seem to feel they had the right.

But that's a blog post in itself.

Meanwhile, I rationalize not doing it all as putting writing before, oh, dusting! *g*

Christine Wells said...

Posh, I'm trying to get better at saying no. I let a lot of things slide past if no one is pushing me to do it, but when someone puts me on the spot and asks, I usually end up saying yes. I do try to remind myself that no one will make time for my writing, I have to do that myself.

Good luck with all that juggling!

Cassondra said...

There IS something magic about the rule of three. I use it in my books. I went to a workshop about it a long time ago and it clicked with me. If there's a scene in a book where a watch plays an important role, that watch needs to appear three times in the book to become part of the theme...sort of...that's badly said, but I'm not sure how else to say it. Characters appear at least three times in the book, in general. I'm not rigid about it, but I do chart these things and notice if it's working or not. I think when I use this "rule of three" construction it makes my books feel more unified and tied together. Magic.

Karin said...

Avoidance is really my only way of preventing myself from being overstretched. It's almost impossible for me to say no when people ask me for help with something.

Really, the only time I can think of when I was able to say 'no' without feeling extremely guilty was last spring when I was swamped with preparation for my Master's exam. People understood I was too busy to really do anything else until after I was done with the test, which meant they asked less often and made it easier to say no.

Caren Crane said...

Christie, did you HAVE to mention GH judging? I still have two entries to judge! I hope they are fabulous and a treat to read, but you never know what you'll get.

So sad that you had to let the book talk go this month. That sounds like such fun! I think one reason I'm finding it harder to say NO at this point is because I know that in a few years, the last of the kids will be gone. I want to spend time with them while I can.

It makes day camp and Girl Scouts and chaperoning youth group trips much more appealing, since it means getting to spend time with my girls!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, sister of my heart! I would totally be with you in checking out books to read to the kids. Crafts? In individual baggies?! That would never have crossed my mind in 3000 years.

I believe I picked up the Superwoman mythology from my mother. She was a fabulous mother who was incredibly organized, had a clean house, enforced all manner of rules, cooked each day and managed to wrangle 5 kids all at the same time. After my parents divorced, things changed but she still managed to get everything done. She was my role model and a tough one to live up to.

I feel like a slackard compared to what I know she did. Then again, I'm not her. I'm just me. I've figured out that I can only do so much. I still get caught up in flights of fancy about what I would love to be able to do, but I'm getting more realistic. Of course, anticipating my husband's reaction to my taking on anything else helps a lot. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I don't know how you, Susan, Kirsten and everyone else with little ones manage to write and meet deadlines with them underfoot! I can't imagine what would have happened if I'd had deadlines when the girls were small. I might be writing from prison now!

Remember: avoid eye contact!

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I remember there was an article in the Romance Writers Report about trilogies and how popular they are. I know Nora Roberts is famous for her trilogies. There does seem to be something magical about a trio of characters.

I'm put in mind of the Holy Trinity. I don't think Nora wrote about them, though. *g*

Kirsten said...

Caren, if you needed any evidence of whether I say no to things or prioritize, you'd only have to look at 1) my garden (of weeds), 2) my bathroom floor (shudder), 3) my TBR piles (ready to topple), 4) the stack of pictures from four years ago that have never been put into photo albums. You could also ask my mom when was the last time I called, or see how well I keep up with my email correspondence.

BUT -- I did just finish a draft of my faerie book. (smiles smugly) So I guess sometimes you just have to give everything up and see what shakes loose, right?

Keira Soleore said...

Caren, er, you might wish to check out my blog on The NOW Habit.

terrio said...

Boundaries? What are boundaries?

Kidding. Actually, I've been better at enforcing my boundaries in the last year. And I've promised myself after I finish school in June, no more taking on a million things at a time. I've been running like a crazy woman since 2005 when I had two jobs and was driving from Va Beach to AR every other weekend. (Don't ask.)

No more. I want to enjoy my days, not just survive them!

Nicki Salcedo said...

I really think I can do it all, but I've given up on trying to do it all well!

I set boundaries with my kids' social life, because it takes a toll on my time. I should mention my three kids are all under the age of 4, and we are inundated with requests for play dates and birthday parties.

Having kids has actually helped me prioritize. I've writing more in the past 5 years than I ever wrote before! When I do get caught up in time consuming activities I make sure they are things I really really want to do. Then I do it happily and productively.

But I still wish I had 4 extra hands, an extra brain, and 2 more hours of sleep! I'm supposed to be writing my own blog right now :-)

limecello said...

I need limits and boundaries. I have so much going on this week it's not even funny. People get sick of me listing what I need to get done before I'm even halfway through. And that's only for this WEEK.

:P I also need some boundaries so I don't get so upset with stupid questions/issues. Really, it'd be the best for everyone involved. (And even those who aren't.) >.<

Caren Crane said...

Kirsten, I give you a big AMEN to all those things! I have 22 years of kid pictures in boxes. That's a lot of pictures. The only reason the house isn't completely trashed is because I have every-other-week cleaning service. We have to get the junk off the floor for that!

Congrats on getting the draft of the faerie book done. Woo hoo! I can't wait to get my hands on that one. Now if I can just get back to MY great WIP...

Caren Crane said...

Keira, my darling wise girl, I'm sure I DO need to check out your blog on the NOW habit. Sounds like great stuff! Er...when I find five minutes. :-)

Caren Crane said...

Terrio, I remember my college days with loathing and disbelief. I had a VERY small child at home, no husband and was studying electrical engineering. It was horrible! I'm so glad that you're nearing the end of school! It will be like having a whole new life when you're done. Enjoy every minute!!

Caren Crane said...

Nicki, God bless you, sweetie! I really think, though, that when you're insanely busy, being incredibly organized is a saving grace. I KNOW I used to get more done when the kids were small and I HAD to get more done. Enjoy all that productivity and I hope you can keep that up when everyone can feed and bathe themselves!

Caren Crane said...

Limecello, I know exactly what you mean. Especially about the stupid questions/issues thing. I need that some days, too! ;-)